Minister sent to Coventry

Minister sent to Coventry

Coventry-based butcher and policy director of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders John Taylor MBE received a visit today from the minister of state for skills and enterprise, Mathew Hancock, at his butcher’s shop, Taylor’s Butchers.

This is the first occasion that a minister from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has had the opportunity to make a visit to business premises to specifically welcome the arrival of the extension of the Primary Authority scheme to smaller businesses via partnerships co-ordinated by their Trade Association.

Alongside the minister and Mr Taylor was John’s son Stuart, NFMFT chief executive Roger Kelsey and principal environmental health officer and commercial team manager at Horsham District Council, Paul Hobbs.

Paul has been working with the NFMFT in developing a scheme for its members designed for a sector where businesses really need support, expertise and consistency of advice.

John Taylor said: “Extending Primary Authority recognises the contribution that small businesses make toward the continuing economic recovery as well as the plight of cash strapped and resource challenged councils. It is efficient and saves time for both the regulator and the regulated.”

Primary Authority was introduced in 2009 to address businesses’ concerns about how different local authorities apply environmental health, licensing and trading standards legislation on the ground. Concerns include contradictory advice, wasted resources, duplicated efforts and the lack of effective dispute resolution when councils disagree.

The scheme gives multi-sited businesses operating across local authority boundaries the right to form a statutory partnership with one local authority which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance.

Extension of the scheme on 1st October came when the law changed to enable tens of thousands of small businesses that share an approach to compliance, typically members of trade associations and franchise groups to benefit from the scheme.

With just over two hundred businesses signed up Mr Kelsey said: “Federation members need to be able to get clear and consistent advice that they can rely on. Primary Authority provides the opportunity to develop a good working relationship with a local authority so it fully understands the sector and the challenges and knows what is practical when giving guidance.”

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