Primary Authority Scheme
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.
The national Primary Authority Scheme has just been amended and relaunched. Up until now it has been difficult for all but the biggest businesses to have both co-ordinated and direct partners but recently this has changed. Now any BFFF member can benefit from advice, whether it is tailored to your business or sectoral advice put in place by BFFF. Don’t worry if you were signed up to the BFFF schemes before, it all still applies.
Through our close involvement with the likes of HSE, DHSC, PHE, Defra and the FSA, as well as non-government bodies such as WRAP we have been providing industry with regular updates and advice via answering numerous queries and a publishing written guidance sourced from both government guidance and membership best practice.
This has been further reinforced by our collaboration with other trade associations all working to a common goal.
Through the BFFF webinars and website, the Technical team and Health and Safety team have been answering queries and providing updates during this time on a number of areas of Government focus, including, to name but a few:
- Freezing down of food to preserve life
- Flexibility of production sites and labelling
- Furlough working
- Pulling of Credit insurance
- Devolved nations guidance – concerns of misalignment with British guidance
- Work with borders and ports to ensure flow of goods
- Profiteering – e.g. inflated price of hand sanitisers
- Covid-19 testing for workers – accessibility
- Cybercrime – enhanced risk with working from home
- Safe Homeworking
- Social Distancing in Food Manufacturing and logistic Businesses
- Car Sharing
- The Job Retention Scheme and the Furloughing of Workers
- Changes to Professional Driver Requirements
- First Aiders
- Guidance on fire safety
- Pressure systems and lighting inspections
- Social distancing for food wholesalers/customer collections
Brexit has been a dominant part of the economy for the last 3 years. With so much of our Food coming in from the EU the Federation has been active in representing our members views and supporting members across a number of technical issues.
As we move into the final phase with the Government negotiating the trading agreement with Brussels. We will ensure that issues and concerns of our membership are clearly communicated to Government and we will also ensure that as agreements are reached, that we help members navigate their way through any new or amended processes.
The BFFF also joined forces with a number of other organisations working together on a Brexit Food Hub – developed to assist businesses in planning and preparing for a no-deal Brexit.