Jul 19th, 2022
8 mins

We are members of a Primary Authority user group, led by the Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This is to increase member engagement in the Primary Authority Scheme that is available to all BFFF members.

Primary Authority is a means for businesses to receive assured and tailored advice on meeting regulations such as environmental health, trading standards or fire safety through a single point of contact. This ensures start-ups get it right at the outset and enables all businesses to invest with confidence in products, practices and procedures, knowing that the resources they devote to compliance are well spent.

Primary Authority is based on legal partnerships between businesses and individual local authorities and / or fire and rescue authorities. Businesses can set up their own partnership or join through BFFF as part of our existing partnership.

What is Primary Authority?

Primary Authority is a government run scheme that helps protect businesses from unnecessary legal challenges. It helps to ensure businesses operating in the food sector are doing so safely and legally.

Primary Authority is an extension of the old ‘Home Authority’ principle where your local authority and your business worked together to ensure you were on the right side of the law.

Government have recognised that enforcement and interpretation of legal   regulations was sometimes variable in its approach, and that many businesses operated outside their own local area, so in 2009 they launched the Primary Authority scheme.

The vision for Primary Authority is to allow business to ‘trade with confidence’ throughout England.

Once you have Primary Authority advice signed off within a registered partnership, your operating practices can’t be challenged by any other enforcement authority.

How Can the BFFF Scheme Benefit Your Business?

  • We can facilitate access to a wealth of experience and understanding of the scheme.
  • Over 30 pieces of sector wide advice – additional advice driven by member requirements.
  • BFFF do all of the administration for setting up a scheme for you – just contact us and we will do the rest.
  • Trade with confidence – no unnecessary enforcement queries.
  • Can potentially save you money.
  • Free to join – as it’s free why wouldn’t you?

Types of Partnership

There are 2 types of Primary Authority scheme; direct and coordinated.

Direct partnerships:

A direct partnership with a Primary Authority can look at your specific policies or operating procedures on site and assure themselves that you are operating within the law. In effect they endorse your operations and policies. Given their legal status as a Primary Authority partner this advice then has legal backing for your business.

Co-ordinated partnerships:

BFFF operates a co-ordinated Primary Authority scheme and we have an expanding range of sector-wide advice. This partnership operates in the same way as the direct partnership  but you don’t need to deal with the Primary Authority directly, BFFF does that for you. You can also rely on this advice as it also has the legal backing for your business.

Why Join the BFFF Scheme Now?

Any BFFF member can benefit from advice, whether it is tailored to your business or sectoral advice put in place by BFFF.

A series of unique BFFF schemes are available for Fire Safety, Health & Safety, Food Standards & Labelling, and Food Safety, please contact us for more information.

What if I Operate Outside England?

All primary authority advice should be seen as, at least, best practice – you can’t be going far wrong if you are following it.

However to have true legal standing in Wales you need to have the    advice signed off by a Welsh primary authority but don’t worry BFFF can help members  access the right advice from authorities based in Wales.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland the Scheme does not operate in the same way and separate advice may be needed, given some of the small differences in legal regulation in the food area. Discuss this with us and we can explain in more detail.

Click here for lists of the assured and industry level advice available

Tech 2022 Advice List

H&S 2022 Advice List

The OPSS have published a leaflet giving further information on the scheme pa-overview-2019A

If you would like more information about joining the scheme, please contact


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