Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 28th June 2016
Report of the Director of Environment and Housing
Food Law Enforcement Service Plan
Purpose of the Report
- To seek approval for the draft Food Law Enforcement Service Plans for the Councils for 2016/17.
- Approve the 2016/17 Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan.
- Authorise the Head of the Shared Regulatory Service to make administrative amendments to the 2016 /17 Food Law Enforcement Service Plans should the need arise.
Reasons 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.
- To ensure the plan remains up to date should any changes in law or best practice be introduced during the period
- 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.
- 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.
- A copy of the draft Food & Feed Law Enforcement Service Plans for 2016/17 for the Shared Regulatory Service has been attached to this report as Appendix 1.
- 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.
- 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.
- The plan explains the Food Standards Agency expectations of Local Authorities, some of the achievements in 2015/16, and the challenges for the year 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
- 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.
Performance Review 2015/16
- An overall high risk inspection rate of 89.94% was attained against a target of 100%.
- The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 95.11% against a target of 85%.
- The percentage of new food hygiene businesses identified during the year that were subject to an inspection was 85.51% against a target of 80%.
- 100% of high risk food standards businesses were inspected during the year.
- An overall high risk inspection rate of 82.5% 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 2015/16 Food Law Enforcement Plan were to complete all A, B and non broadly compliant C premises.
- The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 93% against a target of 93.5%.
- 98.4% of premises which were unrated new businesses on the 1 April 2015 were inspected during the year against a target of 100%.
- 100% of high risk food standard businesses were inspected during the year.
- 88.89% 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.
- The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 90.69% against a target of 91%.
- 94.38% of premises which were unrated new businesses on the 1st April 2015 were inspected during the year. The shortfall to reach 100% was a total of 9 premises.
- 100% of high risk food standards premises were inspected during the year.
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 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%
Challenges for 2016/17
- Staffing - The service currently has five Commercial Services Technical Officers 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 officers will require a period of 12 months to achieve the required qualification. There are also five Commercial Services Officers 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. 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.
- 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 has been considerable change in-year to move to the proposed new operating model. Whilst delivering business as usual has been an important priority, the process has been 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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- 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)
- Equalities issues have been taken into consideration when drafting the plan referenced in this report.
- 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
- Approval of the Food law Enforcement service Plan is a matter for the Joint Committee
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- There are no implications for Ward Members resulting from this report
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Scrutiny is carried out at each partner Council
Christina Hill, Operational Manager, Commercial Services, Shared Regulatory Services
Lee Jones, Head of Service, Bridgend County Borough Council
Tara King, Assistant Director, City of Cardiff Council
Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Legal services, Vale of Glamorgan
Head of Shared Regulatory Services
Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services