Businesses have long complained about inconsistent enforcement. Government has responded by creating a scheme enabling businesses to partner with a single Primary Authority. In time, Government anticipates that 60% of businesses in England and Wales will enjoy the benefits of assured advice from a Primary Authority.

The Primary Authority can give authoritative advice irrespective of where the business operates in England; and the local authority where the business is located has to respect the Primary Authority judgement.

The great news is that Food Alert/Hands Partnership have now partnered with the Royal Borough of Greenwich on behalf of those clients using the Food Alert/Hands Partnership food safety manual. This brings a respected London Borough on to the team working for you. For the time being this will only apply within England.

Three of our clients are taking part in our trial and in time we expect that most of our clients will want to benefit.

What will it mean in practical terms if you choose to be part of the scheme?

  • Any local authority that wants to challenge the assured food safety manual must do so with the Royal Borough of Greenwich rather than with your business. This will include the special HACCPs that form part of the manual and hence include such dishes as steak tartare, carpaccio, sushi, undercooked burgers.
  • Any local authority planning to take enforcement action against your buniness must notify Greenwich. Greenwich can block the enforcement action if it conflicts with the assured advice they’ve given. There are some limited exemptions from this requirement to notify proposed action, for example where urgent action is required.
  • If you are in a tender situation, run events or provide outside catering it will help you with clients to have the backing of a Primary Authority Partnership agreement with such a prestigious local authority.
  • Assurance of the manual will help protect you against a poor score in respect of some aspects of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, particularly the ‘Confidence in Management’ score and we are talking to Greenwich about support they could give if an unjustifiably low rating is given. This could include help with an appeal so there’s more to be gained in due course.

Future developments

  • We will seek out a local authority in Wales to act as a Primary Authority for our clients operating there.
  • We will recruit more clients who use the standard food manual so that more of our businesses benefit from the scheme.
  • We plan to have our Health and Safety Manual assured by Greenwich.
  • We will discuss non-standard manuals and how to have them assured with clients who would like to be part of the scheme but have tailored their systems to their business.

If you’d like to be part of this arrangement or have questions please email




Food Safety, General


Food Alert