Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 18th September 2018

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 Plans for the Councils for 2018/19.

Recommendations

  1. Approve the 2018/19 Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan  
  2. Authorise the Head of the Shared Regulatory Service to make administrative amendments to the 2018 /19 Food Law Enforcement Service Plans 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 & Feed Law Enforcement Service Plans for 2018/19 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 conduct inspections in accordance with the intervention programme, carry out investigations including dealing with complaints, provide advice/education and provide guidance on what the law requires, 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 explains the Food Standards Agency expectations of Local Authorities, some of the achievements in 2017/18, and the challenges for the year ahead. Some of the key elements of the plan are set out below.
  7. Detailed within the Food Law Enforcement Service Plan are findings of an audit undertaken in March 2017 by the Food Standards Agency. The associated action plan is contained within the work schedule for 2018/19 and will be reviewed by the Agency on their return in approximately 6 months.

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 2017/18 for Food Hygiene.

  • Bridgend
  1. An overall high risk inspection rate of 100% was attained against a target of 100%.
  2. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 96.69%.
  3. 100% of new businesses were inspected during the year against a target of 90%
  • Cardiff
  1. An overall high risk inspection rate of 100 % was attained against a target of 100%.  . 
  2. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 92.71%
  3. 99.11% of new businesses were inspected during the year against a target of 90%. 
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  1. An overall high risk inspection rate of 100 % was attained against a target of 100%. 
  2. The percentage of food establishments which are broadly compliant with hygiene standards was 95.40%.
  3. 99.44% of new businesses were inspected during the year against a target of 90%

Broadly Compliant Food premises

  1. 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

2015/16                    95.11%                     93%                          90.69%

2016/17                    94.69%                     90.75%                      91.56%

2017/18                    96.69%                     92.71%                     95.40%

Challenges for 2017/18

  1. Staffing - A number of officers within the food service have recently left to take on new job opportunities outside Shared Regulatory Services. This will require a recruitment exercise to be undertaken by SRS management team, which is currently in progress.
  2. The departure of the aforementioned staff will of course impact the current performance of the team which is disappointing. Every effort will however be made to ensure that as many inspections possible as the service has done previously.
  3. Notwithstanding the recent departure of officers, to fully 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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 years 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)

  1. A summary of the resources available across the Regulatory Service for dealing with safety (Food Hygiene, Food Standards) is detailed in the attached plan.  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

Head of Legal and Regulatory Services, Bridgend County Borough Council

Assistant Director Streetscene, City of Cardiff Council

Legal Services, the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Accountant, the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services - Vale of Glamorgan