The Framework Agreement on Official Feed and Food Controls by Local Authorities is issued by the Food Standard Agency and provides the framework to implement the Food Standards Agency powers under the Food Standards Act and to influence and oversee local authority enforcement activity.
The framework also requires that the Food Service Plan be suitably approved, whether this is by Senior Officers or by members.
The Service Plan being discussed is the way in which we ensure that we meet the framework requirements and allocate resources dedicated to the food law enforcement functions undertaken by the Environmental Health Service.
The food service plan follows the Food Standards Agency recovery plan objectives and also includes details of progress made against the plan in 2022/23.
The role of the Council and Environmental Health changed significantly during 2020/2021, 2021/2022 and continued into 2022/2023. Priority was given to local contact tracing, investigation of workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 and following up on COVID -19 complaints. These priorities changed slightly in early 2022 in line with government guidance. Resources from the team that were diverted to reducing the spread of COVID -19 have now been returned to the team.
The Council have and followed the COVID 19 Local Authority Recovery guidance issued by the FSA throughout the pandemic and have prioritised business as normal activities in line with this guidance and focused on the risk to public health for example inspecting high risk food premises as a priority. This guidance covers the period from 1 July 2021 to 2023/24. This has now been revoked and the service is now working in line with Practice Guidance and the Food Law Code of Practice.
There is still a small level of uncertainty at this current time due to the ongoing impact of Covid 19. This may require that objectives change throughout the year, however the general trend for the food team is moving back to a more business as usual approach to the delivery of food controls where previously the focus was on recovery.
We exceeded the time frames for the objectives within the recovery plan. Therefore we request that the Food Service Plan is now approved.