Select Committee on Food Standards First Report


MEMORANDUM 24

Submitted by Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body and Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS)

1. ENFORCEMENT CONCORDAT

  I enclose a copy of the Enforcement Concordat which was formally adopted in 1998 by the Cabinet Office (Better Regulation Unit) and the local authority Associations. So far as England is concerned, the local authority Associations have commended the adoption of the Concordat by individual local authorities. Many authorities have already done so, while many others are finalising internal processes before putting the matter to elected Members for a policy decision. A large number of authorities however already operate with enforcement policies which incorporate the Concordat Principles. The Concordat is intended to cover all local authority regulatory activities and is therefore not confined solely to food enforcement.

  The Committee will note that one of the principles set out in the attached concerns Consistency and in turn refers to relevant schemes operated by LACOTS. These would include the Home Authority Principle, for example.

  Work is now underway to identify examples of best practice which can be used to assist authorities implement and maintain adherence to the Concordat.

2. FOOD LAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTITIONERS (FLEP)

  I attach the July 1998 FLEP Bulletin.[5] As described on page 1,

    "the Forum is an informal grouping of European Food Law Enforcement Practitioners. The aims include acquaintance, exchange of information and co-operation between European colleagues in order to further develop mutual confidence and trust in the resolution of practical control problems and to promote the adoption of good practice".

  On the back cover of the Bulletin, the Committee will note that the United Kingdom contact is LACOTS, although the UK representation also includes colleagues from the Department of Helath and the professional bodies.

  On page 6 of the Bulletin, the Committee will also note that the "Home Authority Principle" has been adopted by FLEP and this was largely drawn from the UK model of which LACOTS is the steward organisation.

3. LACOTS Business Agenda: June 1998

  Finally, I am enclosing a copy of the above document[6] which although not specifically mentioned during Monday evening's Committee proceedings, hopefully provides context to many of the points I made in my evidence about LACOTS role and its contribution to enforcement co-ordination and consistency. In particular I would draw the Committee's attention to:

    —  Regional Liaison Groups—these exist for both food and trading standards purposes and provide a foundation for the sharing of best practice and expertise and collaboration on, for example, enforcement and sampling audits, training and competence activities, etc. Developing and growing Liaison Groups is a key objective for LACOTS in the year ahead.

    —  Home Authority Principle—a consultation paper is currently being produced setting out options for developing the Principle, not least to satisfy the emerging requirements of the Food Standards Agency.

    —  Inter Authority Auditing—LACOTS produced inter authority guidance in 1994, focusing on the enforcement of food safety Regulations. That document is now being updated to recognise recent work undertaken by MAFF and the DoH. It will seek to adopt a more holistic audit of the enforcement framework reflecting and complimenting initiatives such as the Enforcement Concordant and the Home Authority Principle. The aim will be to promote this new tool to authorities through a series of regional events later this year.

    —  Information Services—LACOTS is a major provider of information and guidance to local authorities. However a new information strategy has been adopted which will include the development of an updated Internet site so as to better distribute and share examples of best practice and enforcement activity.

  I hope the above information further assists the Committee in their scrutiny of the Food Standards Agency Draft Bill and the role and contribution of LACOTS to consumer protection. Should the Committee require any further information, then I will do my utmost to supply that as quickly as possible.

March 1999


5   Not printed. Back

6   Not printed. Back


 
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Prepared 12 April 1999