As hospitality opens up local authorities will have to manage resourcing to deal with an increase in urgent reactive work, as well as greater complexity of interventions in order to work in COVID-safe way, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said.
At the same time, local authorities will be under pressure to divert resources, particularly around non-statutory duties such as export certification. These are just some of the issues outlined in the FSA’s proposed roadmap to the recovery of food controls.
The roadmap’s proposals will be discussed at the next FSA board meeting, alongside progress on two other areas: the Operational Transformation Programme (OTP) modernising official controls; and the second phase of the Regulating Our Future programme reform and how this links to the recovery plan.
FSA said it is offering flexibility within its plan as it has listened to local authorities who have said authorities face different circumstances and not all have the same resourcing. The agency also proposes to replace the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System (LAEMS) with bespoke end-of-year returns for 2021-22 and 2022-23.
The board paper outlining the proposal said that local authority feedback showed that “whilst it will be challenging to deliver, the framework the recovery plan provides is the most pragmatic and practical approach that could be adopted to restart the system.
“It will also enable those local authorities that can do so to move at a faster pace in realigning with the Codes of Practice for lower risk establishments.”
Papers outlining the roadmap recovery plan also highlighted local authority concerns around maintaining the credibility of the Food Hygiene Rating System, prioritising the need to inspect new businesses, and the need to prioritise interventions around allergen labelling requirements for products pre-packed for direct sale that come in at the start of October.
All the papers outlining progress and plans due to be discussed at the FSA board meeting at 9.30am on Wednesday 26 May are available here alongside details on how to register to attend.
Questions can also be submitted to the board from Monday 24 May until 12pm on Tuesday 25 May to [email protected]