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Communities, Housing and Environment Committee Policy Advisory Committee

12 July 2022

 

 

Food Service Plan 2022 - 23

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Communities, Housing and Environment Committee Policy Advisory Committee

12 July 2022

Lead Member on the Executive for Environmental Services

14 July 2022

 

 

Will this be a Key Decision?

 

No

 

Urgency

Urgent

 

28-day notice requirement relating to exempt information has been waived by the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in accordance with Rule 16, Part C4 of the councilís Constitution

 

Final Decision-Maker

LEAD MEMBER ON THE EXECUTIVE FOR ENVRIONMENTAL SERVICES

Lead Head of Service

John Littlemore, Head of Housing and Community Services

Lead Officer and Report Author

Tracey Beattie Environmental Health Manager & Annmarie Goodwin Ė Food & Safety Team Leader

Classification

Public Report & Appendix 1

 

Exempt Appendix

Appendix 2: Food Standards Agency Covid Recovery Plan.

 

The appendix contains exempt information as classified in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 in that it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). The public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in its disclosure as the Food Standards Agency have requested that any reference to the COVID_19 Local Authority Recovery Plan be treated as confidential..

 

Wards affected

all

 

 

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) require all food law enforcement authorities to prepare a Food Service Plan to reflect achievements, plan for future challenges and identify resource to meet this need.

 

The Food Service Plan is subject to urgency requirements as the 28-day notice period for private information has not been met in this instance. This is due to the deadline for the Food Service Plan to be agreed and submitted to the FSA by 15 July 2022.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Recommendation

 

 

This report makes the following recommendation to the Communities, Housing and Environment Policy Advisory Committee to Recommend to the Lead Executive Member to:

1.   To approve the Mid Kent Food Service Plan 2022-23 (Appendix 1).†

 

 

 

 

 



Food Service Plan 2022 - 23

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:

 

         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

         Safe, Clean and Green

         Homes and Communities

         A Thriving Place

 

Accepting the recommendation will materially improve the Councilís ability to achieve Safe, Clean and Green. 

 

Tracey Beattie

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:

 

         Heritage is Respected

         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected

 

The report recommendation supports the achievement of the Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced cross cutting objective by helping to ensure food available to all residents is safe to eat.

 

 

Tracey Beattie

Risk Management

The Food Service Plan seeks to reduce risk to the Council of failing to deliver a service to meet the food law responsibilities by prioritising recruitment and retention of appropriately qualified staff.

No health and safety implications have been identified.

Tracey Beattie

Financial

         The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings and so need no new funding for implementation.

Paul Holland

Staffing

         The current staffing level is not sustainable given the service demands and we need to review the service to ensure we continue with a core of well trained and competent officers

Tracey Beattie

Legal

         Accepting the recommendations will fulfil the Councilís duties under Food Standards Act 1999.  Failure to accept the recommendations without agreeing suitable alternatives may place the Council in breach of Food Standards Act 1999

 

Robin Harris

Information Governance

The recommendations do not impact personal information (as defined in UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018) the Council Processes.

Information Governance Team†

Equalities

The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

Equalities & Communities Officer

Public Health

 

 

         We recognise that the recommendations will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals.

         In accepting the recommendations, the Council would be fulfilling the requirements of the Health Inequalities Plan

 

Tracey Beattie

Crime and Disorder

There are no Crime and Disorder implications.

 

Tracey Beattie

Procurement

Not applicable

Tracey Beattie

Biodiversity and Climate Change

         There are no implications on biodiversity and climate change.

 

Tracey Beattie

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     The Food Standards Agency (FSA) require all food law enforcement authorities to prepare a Food Service Plan to reflect achievements, plan for future challenges and identify resource to meet this need.

 

2.2     Given the impact the Covid_19 pandemic has had on the hospitality sector, together with the recruitment difficulties we are experiencing, due to a national shortage of competent enforcement officers, this service plan outlines the challenges that lie ahead for the service and how managers and officers intend to respond.

 

2.3     At this point in time, with the UK position of importing food into the country, the impact of the UK leaving the EU is not anticipated to impact on the service.

 

2.4     The FSA require the Food Service Plan to demonstrate we follow principles of:

o Good regulation.

o Focus on key delivery issues and outcomes.

o Provide an essential link with corporate and financial planning.

o Set objectives for the future and identify major issues that cross service boundaries.

o Provide a means of managing performance and making performance comparisons; and

o Provide information on the authorityís service delivery to stakeholders, including businesses and consumers.

 

The format for the plan is set down by the FSA, and as a shared service we benefit by providing comparison information for all partnership local authorities, Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells.

 

2.5     The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the delivery of food enforcement over the last two years.† The effect of numerous lockdowns on the hospitality sector is well documented, but for food enforcement this meant that the inspections that were due during times of lockdown have caused a backlog of inspections, that need to be addressed.

 

2.6     Locally, Kent has seen the creation of a new Border Inspection Post at Ashford and the reinstalment of Dover as one the busiest ports of entry to the country from Europe.† This has had an impact on our ability to recruit and retain competent officers for food enforcement by creating even more competition for staff, on top of the competition from London authorities, plus individuals making life changes.

 

2.7     Lockdowns saw a surge in new food business registrations, a trend which is continuing.† Some of these businesses are transitory (furloughed individuals) but they impact on officer time as we must process their registration, arrange visits for an initial hygiene risk rating, provide guidance and advise them.

 

2.8     The pandemic also required the service to respond to the numerous Covid enforcement measures, diverting resource to projects and activities as the county went through Tiers, Steps and eventually the opening of the economy.

 

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

1.   Approve the Mid Kent Food Service Plan 2022-23 (Appendix 1)

 

2.   Donít approve the Mid Kent Food Service Plan (Appendix 1) - This would be counter to the requirement of the FSA Framework Agreement and suggest that the authority was not having due regard for their food law enforcement responsibilities.

 

3.   Do nothing Ė as point 2.

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     To approve the Mid Kent Food Service Plan 2022-23 (Appendix 1).† It outlines the service achievements and future challenges we are aware of.† It covers just one year as the FSA anticipate introducing a modernised food enforcement programme in 2023/24.††

 

There are two focuses for the work of the team for the coming year:

o   Recruitment and retention of authorised officers

o   Recovery of the inspection programme

 

The current staffing level is not sustainable given the service demands and we need to review the service to ensure we continue with a core of well trained and competent officers.†

 

We will work closely with the Director of Finance and Business Improvement to ensure that the service remains within the financial parameters for the Medium-Term Financial Plan.

 

 

 

5.       RISK

The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Councilís Risk Management Framework.† We are satisfied that the associated risks are within the Councilís risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.† However, missing the FSA submission deadline could suggest the Council does not have due regard to its enforcement responsibilities which would not align with the risk appetite

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

Consultation is taking place via the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee Policy Advisory Committee prior to the decision made by the relevant Lead Member.

 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     The Mid Kent Food Service Plan 2022 -23 (Appendix 1) must be published on the Maidstone Borough Council website following approval.

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

         Appendix 1: Mid Kent Food Service Plan 2022-23

         Appendix 2: Food Standards Agency Food Recovery Plan 2022-23 (EXEMPT)

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None