Primary Authority Partnerships

Our business advice is delivered by the Business Advice and Support Partnership which is a partnership of local authority regulatory services (Trading Standards, Environmental Health, Licensing and Fire & Rescue) across the South East that shares knowledge, resources and expertise to provide the best support and advice for local businesses.

The Primary Authority Partnership (PAP) scheme is available to all businesses, trade associations and similar groups of businesses. A partnership  means that businesses can enter into a legally recognised partnership with their regulators, receiving an agreed package of advice and support.

The scheme

A Primary Authority Partnership comprises a contract between us and your business to provide on-going advice and support on specific areas of regulation applicable to your business.

You should be able to rely on the advice you receive from us, assured that it is expert opinion applicable across the UK. Under the scheme other regulators are unable to take enforcement action when you follow specific advice provided by us.

Partnerships can reduce costs by providing certainty to your business, reducing risk and aiding compliance.

The scheme was established under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 and is administered by, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aims

The aims of a partnership are:

  • to reduce burdens on business through a partnership approach
  • to work together to achieve compliance
  • to ensure that regulation is consistent
Elements included

Partnerships are bespoke and tailored to the needs of individual businesses, so each one will contain different elements. Your business doesn't need to be based in Hampshire to enter into a partnership with us.

The elements of a partnership can include any or all of the following:

  • liaison with other enforcement agencies and the public to provide a single point of contact - to coordinate enquiries from other local authorities/regulators/members of the public
  • on-going strategic support, providing comprehensive advice and guidance from professionally qualified officers, with regular meetings where required
  • a dedicated officer who will get to know your business
  • assured advice - other regulators must respect the advice of the Primary Authority which can, if necessary, block proposed enforcement action that it regards as inconsistent with its advice or guidance
  • review of processes and procedures
  • audit of business compliance
  • review of terms and conditions
  • legislation updates
  • complaints and trends analysis
  • where appropriate, a national inspection plan can be produced, to avoid unnecessary checks and tests to ensure inspections by other regulators or local authorities are coordinated, saving time and resources
  • staff training
  • review of your print and online marketing before publication
Areas of Legislation covered

Partnerships cover the full range of Trading Standards regulatory services. Trading Standards has in-house expertise in all areas and our partnership with district councils and the Fire Service means we can provide advice in the areas covered by them as well.

The areas of legislation a partnership can include:

  • age restricted sales
  • agriculture/animal feed
  • consumer credit
  • consumer protection - consumer rights
  • environmental protection
  • explosives licensing
  • fair trading
  • farm animal health
  • food standards
  • metrology (weights and measures)
  • petroleum licensing
  • product safety

Again, the exact content and scope of the partnership is agreed to suit the requirements of each individual business and will be different for each partnership.

Benefits

The benefits of a partnership are:

  • assured advice - the advice given is nationally binding and other councils are required to take this into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance
  • reduced cost of compliance - by providing certainty to your business
  • simplified regulatory process - allowing you to work with a single local authority
  • reduced risk of non compliance
  • a single point of contact for all things Trading Standards - a designated officer who will get to know you and your business
What our partners say

"Being able to share queries and concerns and then being given pragmatic views about what should be expected from the respective members is invaluable. Your attendance at the annual conference last year also gave very important insights into how members can comply with the many legal requirements."

BISHTA (British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association) and SPATA (Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association)

Terms and conditions

Primary Authority Partnerships will generally be based on the standard terms and conditions developed by Office of Product Safety & Standards, part of The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The details specific to each agreement will be outlined in the application and supporting documentation.

In certain circumstances we may need to modify the standard terms and conditions, which may incur additional cost and time delays. Any modifications will need to be agreed by the Office of Product Safety & Standards before a partnership can be formed.

Fees

Charging under a Primary Authority Partnership is on a cost recovery only basis of £70 per hour (usually non VAT-able).

The amount of time required will depend on what support your business needs and will form part of our early discussions with you. Each business is different and so it varies between partnerships.

Our minimum package costs £700 and includes:

  • Setting up the PA agreement
  • Registering the application with the Office of Product Safety & Standards
  • Applying for approval from the Secretary of State
  • An action plan (if appropriate) and familiarisation visit by your PA officer during the application process.

Any time that remains after the PAP agreement and action plan have been set up will be used for advice and support.

The fees charged and the scope of the partnership will be reviewed at regular intervals during the lifetime of the partnership and in any case no longer than every 12 months.

By arranging the number of hours in advance you will be securing the time of your Primary Authority officer for the coming year, as well as securing the other benefits of being in a Primary Authority Partnership. These hours are pre-allocated and non-refundable.