Food law enforcement plan

Quality Assurance

5.1 Quality Assessment

The Food Law Enforcement Standard requires food authorities to maintain documented monitoring procedures.

A documented management system has been introduced to monitor adherence to the planned inspection programmes and the quality and nature of work carried out, to ensure as far as practicable that work is undertaken competently and to a uniform standard.
The procedure includes measures to monitor:

  • adherence to the planned inspection programmes
  • that priority is given to inspecting the higher risk premises
  • compliance with Food Standards Agency Code of Practice, Practice Guidance and central government guidance
  • that officers have due regard to published UK or EU Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice, where applicable
  • compliance with internal procedures and policies
  • that inspection ratings, and Food Hygiene Ratings awarded, are appropriate
  • that the interpretation of legislation, and action taken by officers following inspections/investigations, are consistent within the authority and with central government and/or other relevant guidance.

The procedure is composed of three elements:

  • Performance updates on each officer, at approximately monthly intervals.
  • Monitoring of file and computer records: a minimum of 5% of inspection records and service requests will be monitored for each officer, either on an annual, six monthly or 3 monthly interval depending on performance, with the more frequent monitoring taking place where there are knowledge or practice issues identified, together with provision of additional training if needed.
  • Accompanied inspections. A senior officer and inspecting officer will visit the premises at the same time, one to undertake the inspection, the other to monitor the officer’s approach, judgements, thoroughness, etc. A minimum of one visit will be made with each officer during the year.

These procedures were reviewed during the course of 2017-18, to make them more streamlined and targeted (risk-based).

In addition to the monitoring systems describe above, the following arrangements are in place to promote quality and consistency:

  •  A document control system has been established to ensure that officers have access to current policies, procedures, legislation and official guidance, including an on-line menu of procedures.
  •  Team meetings are held during which issues of interpretation and enforcement are considered.
  • Lead officers have been appointed to promote consistency in the interpretation of product specific regulations, and applications for approvals are reviewed by lead officers prior to signing by the SEHO or Food, Safety and Port Health Manager.
  • Standard letters and phrases are used to encourage consistency and to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Food Standards Agency Code of Practice and Practice Guidance.
  • Improvement Notices are subject to peer review before service.
  • All files presented for formal action are reviewed by the Food, Safety and Port Health Manager. Recommendations for formal action (simple caution or prosecution) are further considered by the Head of Service and finally approved by the Head of Legal Services.

5.2 Development and Review of Documented Policies and Procedures

Where necessary and where resources allow, documented policies and procedures will be reviewed and updated during 2022- 23. The majority of these documents are required to comply with the Framework Agreement on Food Law Enforcement, but more fundamentally provide guidance to officers and a basis for the effective management of the service.

ID: 9953, revised 20/04/2023