As part of the Action Plans for Jobs 2012, Forfás - Ireland's then policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation - was tasked with reviewing a diverse range of licences for key sectors of the economy. To inform its review, Forfás appointed Byrne Ó Cléirigh to undertake a study to assess the burden faced by businesses in the manufacturing, food and drink, retail, hospitality and leisure, waste management, road haulage and construction sectors in complying with 159 different licences. The objectives of the study were to:
- Identify the mandatory licences and registrations issued by all arms of the State and its agencies.
- Assess the burden of these licences on the sectors.
- Identify recommendations for the reduction of the burden.
Our work comprised research, consultations and a semi-quantitative analysis of the compliance burden associated with each licence. We also made recommendations on how to streamline licensing regimes and reduce the compliance burden with a view to enhancing the competitiveness of enterprise.
One of the recommendations was subsequently adopted as one of the seven headline disruptive reforms in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013, viz.: “Business Licences – create a single licensing application system for up to 25 licences in the retail sector, saving retailers over €20 million per annum”. On foot of this, Forfás retained Byrne Ó Cléirigh to follow up our initial work by assisting with the procurement of an integrated licensing portal that will enable retailers to apply for licences from multiple public sector licensing authorities, as well as from individual local authorities. Byrne Ó Cléirigh undertook the following tasks:
- Analysed, documented and categorised the existing end-to-end business processes of the licensing authorities.
- Provided high-level advice and input on how the proposed portal could integrate with the existing business processes.
- Evaluated how any legislative or other barriers could hinder the transition to the portal.
- Reported on our analysis directly to the project Steering Group chaired by the Minister of State for Small Business.
- Prepared a report summarising our findings for inclusion in the procuring authority's request for tender package.
The Forfás report A Review and Audit of Licences Across Key Sectors of the Irish Economy is based on Byrne Ó Cléirigh's initial assessment.