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Agenda Item No 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 30th June 2015

 

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

Food Law Enforcement Service Plans

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek approval for the draft Food Law Enforcement Service Plans for the Councils for 2015/16.

Recommendations

1.         Approve the 2015/16 Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plans   

2.         Authorise the Head of the Shared Regulatory Service to make administrative amendments to the 2015 /16 Food Law Enforcement Service Plans should the need arise.

Reason for the Recommendations

The Food Standards Agency requires all Local Authorities to produce and approve an annual plan that sets out how it is going to discharge its responsibilities.

 

Background

2.         The Councils have a duty, which has been delegated to the Joint Committee, to enforce the Food Safety Act 1990; the Official Food and Feed Controls (Wales) Regulations 2009 and a wide variety of other food / feed legislation including the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006.

3.         As part of the Food Standards Agency’s Framework agreement the Councils are required to produce a Food Safety Service Plan setting out the arrangements in place to discharge these duties.  This Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan is produced in response to that requirement and is designed to inform residents, the business community of Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of the arrangements the Councils have in place to regulate food safety.

4.         A copy of the draft Food & Feed Law Enforcement Service Plans for 2015/16 for the partner Councils have been attached to this report as Appendices 1 - 3. [Bridgend] [Cardiff] [Vale of Glamorgan]

 

5.         The Service Plans detail how the Regulatory Service will fulfil the major purpose of ensuring the safety and quality of the food chain to minimise risk to human and animal health.  To achieve this, the Councils will provide advice, education and guidance on what the law requires, conduct inspections, investigations, undertake sampling and take enforcement action where appropriate. 

6.         The plan details the demands on the service, the risk based work programme and the resources available to deliver the required work. As with many other Council services the service faces increasing demands with reducing resource. 

7.         The plan explains the Food Standards Agency expectations of Local Authorities, some of the achievements in 2014/15, and the challenges for the year ahead. Some of the key elements of the plan are set out below. 

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         The Framework Agreement on Official Feed and Food Controls by Local Authorities

The Framework Agreement sets out what the Food Standards Agency expects from local authorities in their delivery of official controls on feed and food law. The Agreement sets out the planning and delivery requirements of feed and food official controls, based on the existing statutory Codes of Practice.

One of the requirements within the framework is that local authorities carry out interventions/inspections at all food hygiene, food standards and feeding stuffs establishments in their area, at specified frequencies. The Food Standards Agency has the power to inspect local authorities to determine the Council’s performance against the standard, for example, Cardiff Council was audited in 2013/14 on their arrangement for managing the risks in businesses preparing and/or selling shellfish.

9.         Performance Review 2014/15

·           Bridgend

An overall high risk inspection rate of 100% was attained against a target of 100%.

The percentage of high risk businesses that were identified during the year which    a) were subject to a risk assessment visit or b) submitted a self-assessment questionnaire was 90% against a target of 80%.

The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 93% against a target of 78%.

The percentage of food complaints responded to within service standard (3 days) was 100% against a target of 95%.  In 2014/2015, the section received 208 complaints in relation to food hygiene.

The percentage of new food hygiene businesses identified during the year that were subject to an inspection was 90% against a target of 80%.

100% of high risk food standards businesses were inspected during the year.  

 

·           Cardiff

An overall high risk inspection rate of 82.98% was attained against a target of 100%.  It was recognised at the time of plan adoption that resources were insufficient to deliver the full requirements of the Food Law Code of Practice. In year budget management strategies compounded the resource issue. However, in light of the reduced resource available contractors were employed between January and March to help support the delivery of the inspection programme. 

The priorities set out in the 2014/15 Food Law Enforcement Plan were to complete all A, B and non broadly compliant C premises. 99.71% of these premises were inspected. Any high risk premises due for inspection but not inspected as part of the programme for 2014/15 have been included in the programme for 2015/16.

 An overall intervention rate of 33% and 82% was achieved for category D and E premises respectively.

100% of premises which were unrated new businesses on the 1 April 2014 were inspected during the year.  629 inspections were completed for premises that were not   identified, at the outset of the year, as part of the programme. This represents 91.09% of the new businesses identified during the year.  The number of new businesses being carried forward has reduced from 56 in April 2014 to 43 in April 2015 demonstrating that significant priority has been given to prioritising the significant demand from new business and turn over in the City. However, the requirement to inspect new businesses within 28 days has not been achieved.

100% of high risk food standard businesses were inspected during the year.

 

·           Vale of Glamorgan

100% of high risk food hygiene premises were inspected during 2014/15. Resources were prioritised to ensuring this target met, which is why only 70.83% of D rated premises and 77.3% of E rated premises were inspected.

100% of premises which were unrated new businesses on the 1st April 2014 were inspected during the year.  The percentage of other new businesses not identified at the outset of the year but that form a part of the food hygiene inspection programme and received a risk rating visit was 94.02%.  The shortfall to reach 100% was a total of 16 premises.

100% of high risk food standards premises were inspected during the year.

 

10.      Broadly Compliant Food premises

The main indicator used to assess the Council’s performance is the proportion of food establishments in the Local Authority area which are broadly compliant with food hygiene law. The performance trend over the last five years for compliance shows an overall improvement in the Councils. The performance for the last three years is as follows:-

                        Bridgend         Cardiff                        Vale

2012/13           84%                 75.57%            80.04%

2013/14           88%                 87.27%            84.22%

2014/15           93%                 91.76%            90.73%

 

11.      Challenges for 2015/16

 

·           Events - The region hosts many outdoor events across a wide range of venues.  The time spent planning, organising, monitoring events and inspecting and sampling at food premises during events each year should not be underestimated.  These are additional commitments above the planned inspection programme, often not experienced by other Councils in Wales.

 

·           Collaboration – Since the 1st May 2015 the Councils have been delivering its Regulatory Services through a collaborative arrangement involving Cardiff, Bridgend and the Vale. The shared service is now being delivered under a single management structure and hosted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council. There will be considerable change in-year to move to the proposed new operating model. Whilst delivering business as usual will be an important priority, the process will be characterised by significant change to structures, branding, working practices, procedures and methods.

 

·           Financial - The continuing financial difficulties faced by all local authorities has required implementation of remedial measures to offset budgetary deficits.  This has had an impact on the delivery of food services in recent years.  This pressure will continue in the year to come. However, the new collaborative model does provide a budgetary framework to work within for the next 3 years. This allows a greater level of certainty for the service, than would otherwise be possible.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      A summary of the resources available across the Regulatory Service for dealing with safety (Food Hygiene, Trading Standards) is detailed in the attached plans.  To deliver the full requirements of the Framework Agreement would require additional resource. In year re-prioritisation may need to be undertaken to ensure that resources are deployed as effectively as possible. Approval of this FLESP does not directly result in any additional financial implications.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      Under Section 41 of the Food Safety Act 1990, as amended by paragraph 18 of Schedule 5 to the Food Standards Act 1999, the Food Standards Agency can require Food Authorities to provide them with reports and information regarding the Authorities’ enforcement of the Act. Local Authorities are required to supply them with statistical information on inspections, prosecutions, official samples, and informal samples.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      None

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Yes

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      None

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.      None

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.      tbd

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Dave Holland, Head of Shared Regulatory Services

 

Officers Consulted

Lee Jones, Head of Service, Bridgend County Borough Council

Tara King, Assistant Director, City of Cardiff Council

Laura Davis, Finance, Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter,

Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

 

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