Food Law News - UK - 2009

FSA News Item, 3 August 2009

ENFORCEMENT - Report on local authority use of contractors and consultants published

The Food Standards Agency has published the report of an audit programme between carried out in 2008 to explore the extent and use of contractors within food law enforcement services in England.

Local authorities increasingly rely on contractors to help meet their food premises inspection obligations and complete the work programmes set out in their Food Service Plans.

Twenty authorities with experience of employing contractors were audited, providing a geographical spread across England. Individual audit reports have not been published, however a number of issues were identified which local authorities should be aware of when employing contractors. Key areas for improvement related to:

Local authority audits

The Agency's local authority audit scheme, launched April 2001, is the process by which the Agency conducts a qualitative assessment of local authority performance.

Authorities are audited against the Food Law Enforcement Standard in the Framework Agreement, which sets out the minimum standards of performance expected from local authorities across the full range of their food law enforcement activities. The scheme is implemented on a UK basis, with the Agency in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each co-ordinating their own audit programme.

Local authorities are selected to represent a cross-section of local authority types, geographical location and level of enforcement activity as indicated by quarterly monitoring returns.

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