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Primary Authority Scheme

Client: The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF)

What they do 

The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) is the UK’s frozen food trade association, with over 300 members comprising producers, wholesalers, importers, exporters, brokers, retailers and related associate businesses. The BFFF has a unique and substantial membership covering the entire cold chain from large companies to SMEs, which increases its influence with Government and outside agencies. Membership services are offered impartially to each individual member company.

Background 

Regulatory changes now mean that members of a trade association are eligible to sign up to a Primary Authority Scheme through their trade association. Primary Authority is an established scheme where businesses can form a legally recognised partnership with a local authority across each of a number of categories to receive “assured” regulatory guidance or advice across a number of sites, through the same authority. Previously, only businesses regulated by multiple local authorities were eligible to join Primary Authority Schemes. Legislative changes now allow different businesses, including single-site businesses to join the Scheme through a trade association. The BFFF wanted to be able to offer a scheme exclusively for their members.

Solution 

Martin Jinks, a partner at Roythornes, was asked to help the BFFF in partnering with the Environmental Health team in Wakefield and the Trading Standards team in Cambridge to deliver the scheme. Martin’s main role was to develop the legal framework around the scheme. This included drafting and negotiating the range of documents to make sure the Scheme worked whilst meeting the Federation’s objectives. The advice and guidance to be given required regulatory backing. Roythornes worked closely on four regulatory categories including Health & Safety, Food Safety, Food Standards (labelling and composition) and Weights & Measures to ensure that members can sign up to any combination (as long as they do not have an existing Primary Authority agreement in that area). It was also important for the BFFF to avoid open-ended exposure to costs and to make sure the best possible result for their members was achieved. Once the agreement was complete, Martin took part in the Federation’s national launch seminar where the scheme was presented to members and questions answered.

Results

 The BFFF now has a Primary Authority Scheme available exclusively to members that gives them the assurance of regulatory backing. Using the Scheme, members can conduct their business from multiple sites relying on regulatory guidance from one authority, easing the administrative workload and simplifying the process. For the BFFF, it reinforces their position as a proactive trade association, looking after their sector interests and at the forefront of providing value-for-money benefits for their members.