OFR back on the agenda after government u-turn

The shock decision by the government to scrap the Operating and Financial
Review will be put to the test after it agreed to look again at the abandoned

Following pressure from environmental lobbyists Friends of the Earth, who had
been seeking a judicial review on the matter, the government performed a u-turn
by promising to expand the scope of its current consultation to allow companies
to comment on aspects of the OFR that disappeared when chancellor Gordon Brown
made his speech to the CBI conference last year. These include issues on social,
community employee and environmental matters.

The government has agreed to pay the legal costs incurred by Friends of the
Earth in its attempt to force a consultation.

A delighted Phil Michaels, legal adviser for Friends of the Earth, said the
move was a ‘significant victory’ for the group and the numerous stakeholders who
have been involved with the OFR since 1998.

He added that there was now a real opportunity for the OFR to be reinstated.

The consultation on the business review, which had bee due to close on 14
February, has now been extended until 24 March.

Gerald Russell, senior partner at Ernst & Young called the situation a

‘There was extensive consultation before the OFR was adopted – what on earth
is the point of going through it all again?’ he asked. ‘It would be much better
to admit the error and reinstate the original position.’

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