1. What is a Primary Authority Partnership?
It is a statutory scheme, which allows an eligible business to form a legally recognised partnership with a single Local Authority in relation to statutory compliance, through the auspices of their Trade Association. This new approach has only been available since October 2013 where the scope was extended to cover businesses “ which share an approach to compliance” and a range of products which are similar in nature and share the same regulations. The key is that is has legal status, unlike the previous Home Authority process.
2. What is a Primary Authority?
A Local Authority which is recognised legally as the Primary Authority for a business once it has been “nominated” by the Secretary of State. Nomination relies on having responsibility for regulatory functions covered by the Partnership and it must be suitable , having the appropriate experience , competency and resource.
3. Who is the Partnership with?
Slough Borough Council, which was chosen for its closeness to the FSDF Head Office at Grazeley, their experience in working with large corporate businesses with multiple sites across the UK and their proactive approach to working with a Trade Association and its members, from large corporate to small and medium enterprises (SME).
4. How does it work?
The scheme enables Slough Borough Council to develop positive relationships with the wide range of FSDF member businesses that choose to participate, and allow them to demonstrate their wish to work in partnership with regulators and to improve their experience of local regulation. A range of regulation categories enable members to choose those which are relevant for them so that Assured Guidance can be developed which relates to regulations which affect FSDF members.
5. What is the role of the Better Regulation Delivery Office?
BRDO is the Registrar of PAP schemes throughout the United Kingdom and maintains the Public Register in which each Primary Authority Partnership is registered
6. Why Slough? My business is in the North
Slough is close to FSDF office at Grazeley, Reading, and enables the Local Authority to meet and talk with FSDF at regular reviews, with the objective that issues will be dealt with quickly.
7. What will it cost my business?
Normally nothing other than time to attend review meetings and relevant events, maintaining quality standard and regulatory requirements.
8. What benefits will it bring to my company and my colleagues?
The generation of a positive relationship and demonstrable commitment to work in partnership with regulators with a desire to improve their experience. It will also produce a consistency of application across all UK locations within a member business, and with the FSDF member business range across the United Kingdom.
9. Can I ignore my existing Local Authority and their officers, and just deal with FSDF and Slough Borough Council?
No, but if you disagree with the actions of your local regulators, you can refer the issue to the Primary Authority, who will take up the issue on your behalf, to ensure there is consistence of interpretation and application.
10. If my Local Authority tells me to do something which I feel is wrong, how do I react?
Tell them that you are a PAP member, which Local Authority is your PA, and that you wish to refer the issue to them. Your local regulators will be happy for the issue to be addressed by a wider resource
11. Will it save my business any money?
Yes, it will save time
12. Will it add administrative burden to my company and cost money?
It should not, unless you have specifically unique problem which is addressed separately
13. What is Assured Guidance? Can I rely on it in a Court of Law?
Assured Guidance is developed by the Primary Authority on issues which relate to the member companies of a Trade Association PAP. It must be correct and relevant to a significant proportion of the businesses in the partnership. It has legal status and can be relied upon in a Court of Law. Assured Guidance wil also be disseminated by FSDF.
14. What about Approved Codes of Practice - where do they fit?
Where appropriate, Approved Codes of Practices will be incorporated into Assured Guidance
15. What benefits will Assured Guidance provide to save time arguing with my local EHO/TSO?
Relying on Assured Guidance and telling that to the local regulators will cause them to contact your Primary Authority to discuss the circumstances and obtain a recognised solution acceptable to all parties. It should also create a more collaborative approach in future.
16. Can I call and ask specific questions which relate to my business?
Yes, through the FSDF or directly if preferred
17. Who should I contact?
FSDF Head Office in the first instance.
Tel: 0118 988 4468
18. Will it cost me anything extra for specific advice for my business?
Yes there is a charge of £68 per hour for specific support and help
19. If I break the law, what will happen then? Will I get preferential treatment?
No, but It may help in your defence if you are seen to be taking a Due Diligence approach and seeking to abide by Regulations
20. Does this Partnership also cover Regulation areas administered by Government Agencies?
No, it covers categories of Regulations administered at Local Government level, but there is connectivity between Local Authorities and Government agencies , such as Health and Safety, Food Hygiene and Labeling, where being a PAP member with access to Assured Guidance would have value.
To join the FSDF’s Primary Authority Partnership contact the team on 0118 988 4468.