I am announcing today that when considering whether to make Orders under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 to provide a regulator with powers to impose certain civil sanctions as an alternative to prosecution the Government will, in general, observe the following principles:
· Powers to impose Fixed Monetary Penalties, Variable Monetary Penalties and Restoration Notices will, as a general rule, only be granted where their used is restricted to undertakings with more than 250 employees; and
· Powers to impose Enforcement Undertakings, Stop Notices and Compliance Notices may be granted without restriction as to the size of undertaking against whom they might be used.
I believe that this approach should enable Departments to introduce Orders under the Act that provide for a more flexible enforcement system and reduce the burdens on criminal courts. Safeguards on the use of civil sanctions are already contained in the Act.
This policy will provide a further safeguard as regards new Orders under the Act namely that, as a general rule, Fixed Monetary Penalties, Variable Monetary Penalties and Restoration Notices will only be applied to larger companies rather than to Small and Medium Enterprises who might feel less equipped to challenge the basis for such sanctions.
Any future plans by Departments to introduce these Orders will be announced by them in line with usual practice.