Primary Authority partnerships

Award winner

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.

More information

What is Primary Authority?

Expert and tailored advice on regulatory compliance, with a single point of contact.

Primary Authority Partnerships are either direct with individual businesses or co-ordinated with a Trade Association (or other similar group).  It is a means for businesses to receive expert and tailored advice on meeting Environmental Health, Trading Standards or Fire Safety regulations through a single point of contact. Once formal Primary Authority Advice has been issued other regulators must also follow this advice. This ensures businesses can invest with confidence in products, practices and procedures, knowing that the resources they devote to compliance are well spent.

The Environmental Health team at Wakefield Council have delivered Primary Authority nationally since its inception in 2008.

What are the benefits for businesses?

Our business partners, including Morrisons, Asda, Primark, Bannatynes, Gravity Fitness and the British Frozen Food Federation have told us that the main benefits they get from their Primary Authority partnership with us include;

  • Consistency in the interpretation of legislation across all elements of their business
  • Targeting of resource to the areas of greatest business risk
  • Recognising good practice and the commitment the business is making to compliance
  • Protection against enforcement action from other regulators
  • Insight into the regulatory world that our officers give to business managers. For example the national Health and Safety and Food Safety inspection priorities
  • Assistance in the development of business managers to undertake self-audits and develop priority based action plans for compliance matters
  • Being involved in emerging regulatory changes
  • Close working with partner regulators including West Yorkshire Fire Service and Trading Standards as well as the Food Standards Agency and HSE.

Quotes from current PA businesses

"Having formalised our Partnership in October 2012 we have been extremely impressed by the quality of the service we are receiving and the professional strengths of the officers involved. Wakefield Council has proved to be supportive and decisive in their advice to us and in their dealings with other authorities. Their officers are highly professional, knowledgeable and proactive in driving the Partnership forward."

Philip Taylor, Senior H&S Manager, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC

"Our long standing relationship with Wakefield serves as testament to them being the partner of choice for Health & Safety within our industry. Not only do our members enjoy all the benefits of a co-ordinated partnership scheme they also have the assurance of Wakefield's vast sectorial experience."

Simon Brentnall, Head of Health & Safety, British Frozen Food Federation

What do I get as a PA partner?

By forming a partnership with Wakefield Council, you will access our team of highly experienced Officers who have been at the forefront of delivering Primary Authority since its inception as a national scheme in 2008 and prior to that as a pilot programme with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

We currently operate numerous Primary Authority partnerships specialising in the retail, logistics, food, leisure and hotel sectors, including with Morrisons Supermarkets Plc (retail and distribution), Asda Stores Ltd (retail and distribution), Primark Stores Ltd (retail, distribution and manufacturing), The Bannatynes Group and Cedar Court (hotel and leisure) and Gravity uk. 

We were one of the first Councils in the country to take on a co-ordinated partnership with a Trade Association (the British Frozen Food Federation) for health and safety expertise.

We continue to contribute to national debate on regulatory matters through our membership of various national steering groups, for example in piloting new ways of regulation through Primary Authority with BEIS and the FSA.

We offer partnerships covering the full range of Environmental Health functions including Food Safety, Health & Safety, Animal Health and Environmental Protection.

Our team is leading the way in providing Primary Authority Advice and PA Inspection plan development.


Our partnerships are based on business need and the support provided is completely tailored.  In line with HM Treasury guidance we recover our costs but don't make a profit. The current charge is £66 per hour.

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