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Small businesses expectations have been earmarked for improving this financial year following the release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) 2016-17 self-assessment report.
After the implementation of the government-mandated Regulator Performance Framework in 2015, Commonwealth regulators have been required to assess their performance against six key performance indicators.
Over 400 businesses provided feedback to market research firm ORC International to form the basis of the report.
While small businesses felt that the ACCC was open and transparent in the dealings with regulated entities, the report found that there was a greater need to “manage the expectations of small businesses by being direct and clear about what we can and cannot achieve”.
“The ACCC established a solid baseline with its first self‑assessment last year, which has allowed us to effectively measure and compare our performance for the past financial year,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“The report highlights areas for continued improvement, such as clearer guidance for businesses on our processes for regulatory actions and investigations.
“One of our key challenges is communicating the limits of our role. Consumers and small businesses often want us to take action where we can’t, and we need to continue to work on educating them about our role.”
Small business stakeholders were keen to access information regarding actions taken against reported infringements/breaches; more information on industry specific regulatory requirements; and “how the ACCC can help an individual business”.
“Most of our business stakeholders, across the various functions of the ACCC, have a positive view of our performance, and these perceptions have largely improved since last financial year,” Mr Sims said.
“We received many constructive and practical suggestions from stakeholders, which will help us improve our performance as a regulator and reduce any unnecessary burden on businesses.”