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Agenda Item No. 9

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 26 September 2017

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Food Law Enforcement Service Plan

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To seek approval for the draft Food Law Enforcement Service Plan for the Councils for 2017/18.

Recommendations

  1. Approve the 2017/18 Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan.
  2. Authorise the Head of the Shared Regulatory Service to make administrative amendments to the 2017 /18 Food Law Enforcement Service Plan should the need arise.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. 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.
  2. To ensure the Plan remains up to date should any changes in law or best practice be introduced during the period.

Background

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A copy of the draft Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan for 2017/18 for the Shared Regulatory Service has been attached to this report as Appendix 1.
  4. The Service Plan details how the Shared 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The plan sets out the Food Standards Agency expectations of the Shared Regulatory Service following the audit undertaken earlier this year; this, is part, has caused a delay in placing the Plan before Members for consideration. The Plan illustrates some of the achievements in 2016/17, and the challenges for the years ahead. Some of the key elements of the Plan are set out below.

Relevant Issues and Options

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Performance Review 2016/17

  • Bridgend
  1. An overall high risk (Category A and B) inspection rate of 100% was attained against a target of 100%.
  2. An overall Category C inspection rate of 85.38% was attained against a target of 80%.
  3. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 94.69% against a target of 94%.
  4. The percentage of new food hygiene businesses identified during the year that were subject to an inspection was 93.30% against a target of 100%.
  5. 100% of high risk food standards businesses were inspected during the year.
  • Cardiff
  1. An overall high risk inspection rate of 100% was attained against a target of 100%.
  2. An overall Category C inspection rate of 95.23% was attained against a target of 80%.
  3. The percentage of new food hygiene businesses identified during the year that were subject to an inspection was 84.86% against a target of 100%.
  4. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 90.74% against a target of 94%.
  5. 100% of high risk food standard businesses were inspected during the year.
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  1. 100% of high risk food hygiene premises were inspected during the year against a target of 100%. Inspections were prioritised to ensure all A and B rated premises were completed due to the risk associated with these premises.
  2. An overall Category C inspection rate of 95.99% was attained against a target of 80%.
  3. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 91.56% against a target of 91%.
  4. The percentage of new food hygiene businesses identified during the year that were subject to an inspection was 87.86% against a target of 100%.
  5. 100% of high risk food standards premises were inspected during the year.

Broadly Compliant Food premises

  1. The main indicator used to assess the performance against food hygiene requirements 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 ratings achieved by businesses in the region. The performance for the last five years is as follows:-
 

Bridgend

Cardiff

Vale of Glamorgan

2012/13

84%

75.57%

80.04%

2013/14

88%

87.27%

84.22%

2014/15

93%

91.76%

90.73%

2015/16

95.11%

93%

90.69%

2016/17

94.69%

90.74%

91.56%

       

                     

Challenges for 2017/18

  1. Staffing - The service currently has one Commercial Services Technical Officers within the Environmental Health discipline undertaking the relevant (EHORB) training. This training is required by the Food Law Code of Practice before inspections can be carried out. It is estimated the aforementioned officer will require a period of 6 months to achieve the required qualification.
  2. There are also three Commercial Services Officers (2 within Environmental Health and 1 in Trading Standards) currently on maternity leave, arrangements have been put in place within the service to ensure the inspection programme is met by utilising contractors and commitment to overtime by staff. Successful delivery of the service plan is dependent on adequate staffing resources being maintained during the plan period.
  3. To deliver the full programme in accordance with the FSA requirements would require additional resource outwith the existing budget. In the absence of additional resources the service will continue to manage the programme by prioritising areas considered to be the highest risk.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 and will continue in the year to come. The creation of SRS however allows a greater level of certainty for the service, than would otherwise be possible.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. 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

  1. Sustainability and climate change implications have been taken into consideration when drafting the Plan referenced in this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. 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

  1. Crime and disorder implications have been taken into consideration when drafting the Business plans referenced in this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. Equalities issues have been taken into consideration when drafting the Plan referenced in this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The Food Law Enforcement Service Plan demonstrates the partner Councils' commitment to improving social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being and promoting sustainable development in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Improving how the Council evidences and reports achievement of its Well-being Outcomes contributes towards promoting well-being.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Approval of the Food Law Enforcement Service Plan is a matter for the Joint Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. There are no implications for Ward Members resulting from this report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Scrutiny is carried out at each partner Council.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Christina Hill, Operational Manager, Commercial Services, Shared Regulatory Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Director, Operational and Partnership Services, Bridgend County Borough Council

Director of Environment, City of Cardiff Council

Director of Environment and Housing Services, Vale of Glamorgan

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Head of Shared Regulatory Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing

 

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