With the immediacy (and uncertainty) of Brexit, the MSA's is not top of the list for many organisations. However, July 2019 saw a significant development in this legislation with the UK Government's commitment to toughen section 54 of the MSA, specifically in regard to enforcement following the launch of a new consultation (the Consultation). The Consultation focused on the 3 key areas below in order to enhance compliance and enforcement of organisations which fall within the scope of the MSA.
The rationale for these changes is obvious. It will be significantly easier to monitor compliance, increase regulation and permit external scrutiny of action taken which is increasing importance in consumer society.
Notably the Consultation states that separate consideration is being given to aspects of transparency in supply chains policy in Northern Ireland and that devolved administrations will be approached differently. Given Northern Ireland does not currently have a functioning assembly, this could significantly delay these discussions or alternatively a GB approach could be applied to Northern Ireland without local governmental input.
The current Consultation is due to conclude on 17 September 2019. After this time there will be more clarity of the legislative reforms to be introduced but it is clear that enforcement action is very much in focus.