Primary Authority Partnerships
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards operates a Primary Authority Partnership scheme for businesses that trade across council boundaries. This means that qualifying businesses can enter into a legally recognised partnership with us, receiving an agreed package of advice and support.
The scheme was extended to allow trade associations to form co-ordinated partnership with local authorities on behalf of their members and we also welcome partnerships with trade associations.
- 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 Regulatory Delivery, part of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
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.
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
- Legislation areas covered
Partnerships can cover the full range of Trading Standards regulatory services or just specific functions. Trading Standards has in-house expertise in all areas and work in partnership with district councils and Hampshire Fire & Rescue.
The areas of legislation a partnership can cover include:
- age restricted sales
- agriculture/animal feed
- consumer credit
- 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.
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 - a designated officer who will get to know you and your business
- Terms and conditions
Primary Authority Partnerships will generally be based on the standard terms and conditions developed by Regulatory Delivery, part of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.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 Regulation Delivery before a partnership can be formed.
Charging under a Primary Authority Partnership is on a cost recovery only basis and in Hampshire is £70 per hour + VAT.
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.
There is a one-off initial set up fee for businesses that are new to the scheme and includes the time spent on initial meetings, the analysis of previous history of your business and the administration involved in formalising the partnerships with the Regulatory Delivery, part of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. who oversee the scheme. The amount of time this takes will again vary depending on your business needs, but there is a minimum fee of £600 + VAT.
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.