As part of its Red Tape Challenge, the Cabinet Office is now targeting laws that stifle the development of new business models for no good reason.
So anyone who's run into bureaucracy in setting up an innovative business should submit their comments at: Red Tape Challenge for Disruptive Business Models.
Once the initial ten-week window has closed, highlighted regulations "will be immediately put on probation, and will be scrapped unless the responsible department can justify or satisfactorily modify the regulation in question."
The two examples cited show how 'red tape' may include the absence of a definitive permission, exemption or exclusion, in the existing regulations (the first example certainly being close to my heart):
"Zopa, a company that provides a platform for members of the public to lend to each other, who found that financial regulations simply didn’t know how to deal with a business that didn’t conform to an outdated idea of what a lender is...
A number of businesses have tried to disintermediate estate agents by providing a platform for customers to sell directly to each other at low or no cost. But Estate Agency regulations treat them as if they are traditional Estate Agents, and place burdens upon them that make very low cost internet-enabled business models unviable."
I couldn't see a ready guide to what else would be considered 'red tape', so it's up to you to decide. As a suggestion, one definition I've found repeatedly referred to is:
"a collection or sequence of forms and procedures required to gain bureaucratic approval for something, especially when oppressively complex and time-consuming."
My own view is that 'red tape' and 'bureaucracy' are the same thing: requirements that either have no purpose or exceed their intended purpose or effect. Examples would include data that is collected but never used. Or a financial system that prohibits diversification. Or financial regulation and tax laws that favour 'traditional banking' over new models.
I'll get my coat.