It was proposed by Councillor Game, seconded by Councillor Savage and Members agreed the Food Law Service Plan and Enforcement Policy 2018-2020.
The Food Standards Agency required local authorities to produce a Plan that outlined how each council provided food safety service in their respective areas. The proposed Plan and Policy sets out how the Public Protection Team would prioritise and manage their work for the next 24 months taking into consideration the unknown elements of BREXIT and the Food Standards Agency reform known as ‘Regulating our Future’.
The impacts on service delivery from these two elements were unknown and the Public Protection Team had been keeping track of these changes and continued to do so, thereby adjusting service delivery where necessary. The Team together with the Kent Food Group, made representations about the likely impact of these proposals on some of the small local businesses in the district.
The proposed policy was presented to the Executive Scrutiny Panel on 27th September, where Members were supportive of the proposals, the work the team undertook and recommended that Cabinet ensured the Service continued to have adequate funding for staffing and training.
The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:
Councillor Savage proposed, Councillor Ashbee seconded and Cabinet recommended to Council for approval, the Service Plan and Enforcement Policy.
Councillor Game, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods introduced the item for discussion and said that all local councils were required to produce Food Service Plans that reflected how they would deliver the statutory service in their respective areas. The current challenge was to adopt a policy that reflected the needs and requirements of the food service sector before and after Brexit, as the implications of Brexit were unknown.
Panel Members made the following observations:
· The report was comprehensive and there was support for the recommendations;
· It was encouraging to note that physical inspections were part of the approach for delivering the proposed service plan;
· Did the Council have enough staff to implement the approach being proposed in the Policy?
· Was council going to recruit additional staff to add to the current staff complement?
· Was council going to provide training to staff?
Ms Penny Button, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods responded to queries and indicated that the council had to work with limited resources at its disposal.
The Panel proposed that Cabinet identified funding for staff training and additional staffing in order to effectively deliver the highly needed statutory service.
The Panel further agreed to recommend the Food Law Service Plan and Enforcement Policy to Council.
Members discussed the proposals in the policy report and confirmed that the Food Standards Agency required all local authorities to produce a Plan that outlined how councils provided food safety service in their respective jurisdictions.
This Food Law Enforcement Plan and Policy set out how the council’s Public Protection team would prioritise and manage their work for the next 24 months taking into account the unknown elements of BREXIT and the Food Standards Agency reform known as ‘Regulating our Future’.
The plan also took into account the functions that the team currently performed by carrying out programmed inspections of 1359 food premises in the district as was required by the Food Law Code of Practice, as well as health and safety duties, whelk traceability events work, routine sampling, street auditing, complaints, caravan parks and infectious diseases work.
Councillor Game proposed, Councillor Savage seconded and Cabinet is recommended to Council for approval, the Service Plan and Enforcement Policy.