The importance of local communities working together and the vital role of local regulators highlighted by the pandemic was a theme championed at the CIEH food safety conference held this week.
Chief executive of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, MBE Graham Russell said it was “easy” to think local regulators don’t have a place when we talk about the future being full of “innovation”.
But he argued, “the best things happen locally: that when communities come together and are empowered… that’s when we really see great outcomes.
“So I guess if I was looking for one thing, it would be for a really good appreciation of the importance of local regulators, part of local communities, part of local authorities delivering local priorities, but really, really well-connected.”
CIEH Wales director Kate Thompson welcomed these comments but warned against complacency arguing that with the huge levels of public debt, there was potential for decision makers to develop “very short memories” about the value of EH.
She added: “We’ve all got to work together to promote EH as a really important component of the public health workforce.”
Thompson also added that EH also has a significant role to play in addressing the inequalities amplified by the pandemic. She said: “National lockdowns have been very, very difficult for lots of families – limited access to outdoor space, limited access to technology. Businesses have been really hard hit.
“We’d like to see some really radical government thinking about this, and EH has got a really significant role to play in improving people’s homes, their working conditions, ensuring the safety of the food they eat, the air they breath and are going to be very important in helping businesses to thrive.”