Primary Authority – A history of Food Hygiene assured advice

Primary Authority – A history of Food Hygiene assured advice

From its initial launch in 2013, NCB members have been able to register for Primary Authority (PA) and the legally backed food hygiene advice it provides. Since this time, NCB have updated the advice in line with regulation changes, and in 2019 added a highly valued Charcuterie section.

We know how valued and helpful the advice has been over the past nine years, so are keen to provide the advice in a modern, accessible format that can be used either to help form your management system or be complimentary to your existing systems. Working with Safer Food Scores who NCB commission to advise members, the ‘new’ advice will cover all recent updates to regulation. We’ll also be introducing some helpful new sections as butchers continue to diversify.

What this means for you

  • Extra peace of mind that the guidelines you follow are compliant and accurate
  • You can invest in your business processes and equipment with confidence
  • Acknowledgement from your local authority that your business operates legally and to high standards
  • More reliable advice when you have an inspection
  • Support from a Government department should you or your business be taken to court

How it works

The scheme allows a large business to partner with one local authority which then becomes their Primary Authority. Small businesses can access PA through their trade association in a co-ordinated partnership scheme.

A Primary Authority plays the role of “critical friend” and works closely with their partners to fully understand how their members operate. The process culminates in the production of Assured Advice. The advice carries legal weight and must be interpreted in the same way by all other regulators when inspecting participating businesses.

To be covered by Primary Authority a business must be on the Primary Authority register, ours is managed by National Craft Butchers.

Enforcement Action

Other local councils must contact the Primary Authority before taking any action against participating businesses. This allows the Primary Authority to intervene on behalf of a business if necessary or to negotiate better compliance outcomes without the need for formal enforcement action.

The Primary Authority has the ultimate power to block enforcement action proposed by another local authority.

Brief History of PA

Late 1990’s – Home Authority Principle was introduced which allowed multi-site businesses trading to partner with the LA in which their HO was situated This enabled them to receive consistent enforcement from different local authorities across the country.

2009 – Home Authority changed to Primary Authority which allowed multi-site businesses to partner with a local authority of their choice

2012 – The Coalition government decide to expand Primary Authority more widely to include all businesses. NCB, a big critic of excessive red tape and inconsistency in regulatory matters at the time, were invited to join a government working group to consider necessary changes.

2013 – New legislation was introduced and NCB partnered with Horsham District Council to become one of the only ten pilot partnerships.

2015 – National Craft Butchers and Horsham District Council were named Primary Authority of the Yeas. The judges described the partnership as an 2excellebbt example of a co-ordinated partnership supporting small businesses to compliance where the officer and co-ordinator actively promote the partnership top members, seeking to develop the scheme further and future evaluation of outcomes via an example, improved Food Hygiene Scores.”

The prestigious award was won against fierce competition from Sainsburys and Avis Car Rentals.

2018 – The partnership introduced Assured Charcuterie Advice as a supplement to the main assured advice. This was extremely well received by businesses and regulators alike.

Revised and extended assured advice will follow later in the year to keep the scheme fresh and even more relevant to today’s craft butcher

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