About Primary Authority
- Regardless of its size, a business operating across council boundaries can form a primary authority partnership with a single local authority in relation to environmental health and trading standards legislation, or specific functions such as food safety or petroleum licensing.
- Once legally nominated by BRDO, partnerships are automatically recognised by all local regulators. A central register of the partnerships provides an authoritative reference source .
- By working closely with the business a primary authority can apply regulations to their specific circumstances, providing robust and reliable advice which must be respected by all local regulators.
- A national inspection plan can be produced by the primary authority to improve the effectiveness of inspection, avoid repeated checks, and enable better sharing of information.
- If a problem arises, the primary authority can coordinate enforcement action to ensure that the business is treated consistently and that responses are proportionate to the issue.
- BRDO oversees Primary Authority and operates a dispute resolution procedure.
- A business can choose what level of support it needs from its primary authority. Resourcing the partnership is up to the councils and businesses. A primary authority can choose to recover its costs.
Changes to Primary Authority
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013 contains two clauses to amend the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
These clauses broaden the eligibility criteria for participation in the Primary Authority scheme, and strengthen inspection plans.
It is expected that the changes will come into effect from October 2013 and BRDO is preparing for implementation. Statutory guidance for the scheme is being revised and BRDO is working with stakeholders, including local authorities and businesses, to understand what guidance will be needed. A public consultation on the revised guidance will follow in due course. Email any queries regarding the Primary Authority clauses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
More firms to benefit from expansion
And following a consultation with business and regulators, Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon has confirmed that the Government will legislate to extend Primary Authority to the following sectors:
- the age-restricted sale of gambling;
- the Housing Health and Safety Rating System;
- sunbed tanning;
- and Welsh regulations on single use carrier bag charging.
It is expected that these changes to the scope of Primary Authority may also come into effect from October 2013
Operating alongside Home Authority
A framework setting out how Home Authority will operate alongside Primary Authority ensures no overlap or duplication between the two, improving coherence between them whilst recognising that there are differences in the objectives of the two schemes. It supports the document Towards a Unified Vision for Primary Authority and Home Authority, agreed by BRDO, TSI and CIEH in September 2011.