Coveted award for council partnership

21/06/2019, PR-9095

The Primary Authority partnership between Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc and Wakefield Council Environmental Health has won The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy/Office of Product Safety and Standards Regulatory Excellence Awards 2019.

This is as a result of the work carried out in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on their Regulating Our Future (ROF) programme. 

The Primary Authority partnership was involved in the FSA feasibility study/pathfinder project to test Primary Authority national inspection strategies (NIS) for the delivery of food hygiene regulation as part of the ROF programme. 

Wakefield Council and Morrisons have been instrumental, as one of the first Primary Authorities in the country to take NIS from an unexplored concept to a viable option for delivering risk based regulation using business data.

Regulatory Excellence Awards
(L-R) Helen Atkinson of Wakefield Council and Phil Taylor of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: "We are delighted to receive this award, which shows the strength of our Primary Authority partnership work and how we can support businesses to protect their workforce and customers.

"Wm Morrison's supermarkets is a major employer in our district and nationally, and our work with them is helping to modernise how food safety is assured across the UK and will be used to develop a more robust and consistent way of food safety regulation. 

"The officers involved from both the Council and Morrison's have worked extremely hard and fully deserve the recognition achieved."

Cllr Maureen Cummings
Cllr Maureen Cummings

Primary Authority is a statutory scheme, established by the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008. It allows an eligible business to form a legally recognised partnership with a single local authority in relation to regulatory compliance. This local authority is then known as its 'primary authority'. Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council formed a primary authority partnership in October 2012. 

The FSA Regulating our Future programme (ROF) is a major transformation programme to modernise and re-shape the regulatory regime for food safety. The programme will change the way food businesses are regulated and inspected across England and Northern Ireland. 

The FSA is taking a whole system approach, understanding what information is available from a wider range of sources and how this can could be used in the future to gain assurance that food is safe and what it says it is, and public health is protected.

For the UK to continue to be a strong, credible player in the global food economy, the regulatory regime needs to keep pace with rapid changes in that economy. Leaving the EU will change patterns of food production, trade and consumption, emphasising the need for a flexible and responsive regulatory system.