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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 10/07/2007
Food Service Plan



WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL


FOOD SERVICE PLAN

2007/8













1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 This Food Service Plan (FSP) for Waverley Borough Council (WBC) has been prepared in response to the duties placed upon Local Authorities (LA’s) set out in Regulation No. 882/2004 and Regulation No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament regarding official controls performed to ensure compliance with food safety requirements and contained within mandatory codes of working practice for Local Authorities produced by the Food Standards Agency. These require LA’s to make adequate arrangements and to perform their duties for the enforcement of food safety legislation.

1.2 The Service Plan is an essential response to this guidance as it makes clear the arrangements that Waverley Borough Council (WBC) Food Safety Enforcement Service has in place to adequately discharge its duty as an enforcing authority. It also provides the basis on which the Food Standard Agency (FSA) and other Local Authorities (LA’s) will audit the activity of the service against established FSA protocol for inter-authority auditing and so monitor overall performance against the stated objectives.

1.3 Service Plans are seen by the FSA as an important part of the process to ensure that account is taken of local needs, while also addressing national priorities as set out by the FSA. The Service Plan is constructed in accordance with guidance and includes:-

service aims and objectives;

key programmes, including planned inspection programmes in the context of the current FSA strategy;

information on the service that is being provided;

the means by which the services are going to be provided.

any performance targets and how they will be achieved; and

a review of performance to address any variance from meeting the requirements of the Service Plan.

This Food Service Plan sets out how the Food, Health and Safety Team within the Environmental Health Section will provide all aspects of its Food Safety Service between April 2007 and March 2008. It outlines how the required time and resources will be allocated to deliver the service in general terms, identifying both reactive and proactive areas of work and also detail specific planned promotional and educational projects and initiatives to be carried out during the year.

2.0 Service Aims and Objectives

2.1 Our vision

Is to ensure that food produced and sold within Waverley is safe and without risk to the health of consumers.

2.2 Our mission

We will provide effective food safety control services to the community through education, inspection, surveillance and enforcement.

We will strive to achieve our long-term aims of ensuring that we are:-

2.3 Links to corporate objectives and plans

The Council’s Corporate Plan is its overarching strategic policy document. It details the Council’s Vision and Key Priorities. It sets out the Council’s corporate planning process, providing the mechanism for deciding on priorities and decisions within the Council.

2.3.1 The Council’s current Vision is:-

To enhance the quality of life in Waverley, now and for the future, through strong local leadership, customer-focused service, and the empowerment of local communities.”

In order to implement our vision, and to ensure that the actions we take today are supportive of the needs of Waverley’s communities in the future, we will focus our time and resources on working to meet the following aims:

A. Promoting a high quality of life in strong, healthy and socially inclusive communities.
B. Ensuring that Waverley is a safe and reassuring place for people to live.
C. Creating and safeguarding a sustainable natural and built environment, in keeping with Waverley’s heritage and culture, with a commitment to making a relevant contribution to help limit the effects of climate change.
D. Facilitating the provision of good quality, affordable local housing.
E. Supporting business and helping Waverley’s economy to thrive.

Underwriting Waverley’s capacity to deliver on this challenging agenda there are also two cross-cutting aims, namely:

F. Continuously improving value for money in Council services.
G. Listening to our residents and remaining visibly accountable to the people of Waverley.

2.4 The Food Safety Enforcement Service lies within the remit of the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change Overview and Neighbourhood Environmental Services. The vision for Waverley is to be achieved through a number of strategies, some of which the food enforcement service tie into as follows:

B2. Promote and deliver initiatives to improve public health and personal safety.
E1. Support the local business community and other partners to maintain and improve the economic and cultural vitality of towns, villages and rural areas.
F1. Maintain prudent and sound use of Waverley’s resources.
F2. Assess and assure value for money in the delivery of Waverley’s core services and priorities, to include continuous improvement of procurement processes and systems, and the re-appraisal and re-tendering of major contracts.
F3. Optimise the benefits derived from management of the Council’s assets.
F4. Employ and develop a workforce with the right balance of skills to deliver the Council’s priorities, now and into the future.
F5. Strive to continually design and improve customer-centred business processes to include e-enabling an expanding range of services.
F6. Work with partners to achieve improved outcomes in the delivery of common goals.
G1. Continue to shape communication between the Council and its communities around consumers’ needs and preferred forms of interaction (to include telephone, correspondence, face-to-face contacts and the internet), whilst maintaining Waverley’s commitment to transparency in the making and communicating of decisions.
G2. Manage the information and knowledge resources of the Authority highly effectively, so as to respond quickly and comprehensively to customer feedback and enquiries.
G3. Proactively publish key policy, performance and financial information in a clear and engaging way.

2.5 Following on from these strategies, there are key actions for the Food Safety Enforcement Service:-

to achieve inspection of 100% of food premises considered high or medium risk due for inspection throughout the year; and to have contact with low risk premises due for inspection on throughout the year.

the Section’s overall Service Plan is also committed to the principles of opportunities for all and will have regard to eliminating all forms of discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity in carrying out its functions.

3.0 Background

3.1 Profile of Waverley

Waverley is a semi-rural authority consisting of three towns and seventeen parishes in an area of approximately 200 square miles. It is situated in South-West Surrey bordering Hampshire and West Sussex and contains approximately 50,000 dwellings, approximately 1,000 food premises and 2,500 premises where the Council is the enforcing authority for Health and Safety. It has been calculated that 75% of Waverley’s residents live in 25% of the area, leaving the rural parts of the Borough very sparsely populated.

Waverley has approximately 116,800 residents with the young and the elderly forming a significant part of the population. The proportion of the population, which is elderly and/or disabled, is increasing.

3.2 Organisational Structure

The Food Safety Enforcement Service is delivered by the Environmental Health Section, with the work being carried out by the Section’s Food, Health and Safety Team, which is made up of officers with specialist knowledge and experience in food safety. The Team is responsible for food safety within a variety of food premises with the Borough. These include both food businesses such as manufacturers, hotels, supermarkets and restaurants, and non-business premises such as community halls.


The officers with specialist responsibility for food safety matters are the Head of Environmental Services, Environmental Health Manager, Team Leader, Environmental Health Officers and Technical Officers of the Food, Health and Safety Team. The current organisation structure is outlined in the organisation chart in Appendix 1.

3.3 The Role and Scope of the Food Enforcement Service.

The Environmental Health Department recognises the importance of food safety and its direct links with communicable disease control and therefore combines these aspects within the Food, Health and Safety Team of the Environmental Health Section. Waverley Borough Council is responsible for enforcing food safety legislation in 1000 premises in the Borough. The Food, Health and Safety Team is also responsible for occupational health and safety. However, this topic is not routinely included with programmed food hygiene inspection visits, which are conducted in isolation to ensure effective inspection. However, whilst carrying out food safety inspections, officers who identify an issue that needs to be dealt with under health and safety will take action or refer to another officer within the Team.

3.4 The Food, Health and Safety Team has the principal responsibility to enforce the following legislation:-

European and UK legislation relating to Food and Feed Control.

Other Acts enforced by the Team include:-

Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984

Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974

and certain aspects of other environmental health legislation.

3.5 Demands on the Food Service

Table 1 below gives the breakdown of food premises in Waverley as of April 2006.


Column Descriptions

A
=
Primary Producers
G
=
Retailers
B
=
Slaughterhouse
H
=
Restaurants and other Caterers
C
=
Manufacturers/Processes
I
=
Materials and Articles, Manufacturers and Suppliers
D
=
Packers
J
=
Manufacturers mainly selling by retail
E
=
Importers/Exporters
K
=
Total
F
=
Distributors/Transporters
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
Risk Rating “A”
2
4
6
Risk Rating “B”
6
53
59
Risk Rating “C”
1
1
49
293
3
347
Risk Rating “D”
49
56
1
106
Risk Rating “E”
1
2
151
163
6
254
Premises outside the programme
1
3
11
1
16
UNRATED
4
2
70
67
142
TOTAL
3
5
5
330
647
1
10
1,000

As at the 1st April 2006, there are 1000 registered as operating within the Borough for which Waverley’s Environmental Health Section is the enforcing authority. In addition to registered premises, Waverley also approves premises for production of products of animal origin. At present there are two approved premises with two further premises being guided through the approval process.

3.6 The service is delivered from one base, The Burys, Godalming, located in the north-western part of the Borough. Whilst there are a limited number of personal callers to the office, most customers access the services by telephone, letter or internet, and the vast majority of contact is made when officers visit premises in the normal course of their day-to-day duties. The offices are open between 8.45 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. (4.45 p.m. on Fridays), although there is an emergency number to contact outside of those hours. There are set criteria for what constitutes an emergency and a procedure to be followed to contact officers should such a situation arise. Officers also conduct visits outside of normal office hours, where premises requiring inspection are only open in the evenings or at weekends.

3.7 External Factors

Waverley is an area of mixed commercial development centred mainly within the centres of population of Godalming, Farnham, Haslemere and Cranleigh between which are large expanses of open countryside. The area is commonly host to large events, shows and farmers’ markets that attract transient food sellers which impact on the food safety services provided.

Waverley does not have a large population where English language is not their first language. However, where specific need is identified for the business community in a different language, information is provided.

Nationally, the number of officers who are deemed competent to inspect premises according to the Food Codes of Practice is low. This, in turn with the fact that the cost of living within Waverley is high, makes staff recruitment and retention difficult. The Food, Health and Safety Team is currently supporting one Technical Officer through the Environmental Health degree.

Waverley Borough Council covers a large geographical area of 130 square miles. The spread of food premises is divided between four main towns and numerous villages scattered throughout the area. This impacts greatly on travelling times for officers to and from inspections affecting other work levels. Although attempts are made to deal with premises in close proximity to one another at the same time, the Council is required to inspect premises according to the priority risk rating scheme detailed in The Food Law Code of Practice.

4. SERVICE DELIVERY

4.1 Food Premises Inspections

Annex 5 to the Food Law Code of Practice (England) made under Section 40 of the Food Safety Act 1990, Regulation 24 of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and Regulation 6 of the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2006 sets out the required level of food premises inspection depending on the priority associated with the particular premises. It is for the authority to determine the level of priority based on the criteria specified in that Annex. Annex 5 specifies the frequency of inspection based on risk as follows:-


Category
Minimum Frequency of Inspection
A
(at least) every six months
B
(at least) every 12 months
C
(at least) every 18 months
D
(at least) every 24 months
E
subject to alternative enforcement strategy

It is the target of this authority to carry out, as a minimum, inspections to 100% of high-risk premises (A + B) and to 95% of other risk premises during the year. However, this level is dependent on maintaining sufficient staffing levels.

The premises profile for the authority is provided in Section 3.5 of this Food Service Plan. This confirms that 1000(check) food premises are currently registered with the authority.

4.1.1 For the current financial year 2007/2008, the authority is targeted to carry out 488 programmed food safety inspections. The time spent conducting a programmed inspection varies according to the nature of the premises and the existing level of compliance with food safety legislation. However, as a general rule, Categories A or B premises will take a minimum of two hours to inspect. A Category C premises will take a minimum of 1.5 hours to inspect, while Category D will take approximately 1 hour on average to inspect. Category E are subjected to an alternative strategy for enforcement at least once in every three years. This is explained later in this Service Plan. For each inspection undertaken, written confirmation of that inspection is provided to the food premises proprietor/manager. In the majority of cases and, in any case, where non-compliance is noted or good practice points can be recommended, an inspection report and/or notices are drawn up and sent to the proprietor. This, together with other administration conducted by the Environment Health Officers (excluding administration officer support work), accounts for approximately 1.5 hours of officer time per inspection. Therefore, in the current 2007/2008 financial year, it is estimated that 478 hours of officer time will be spent conducting programmed inspections of food premises. Approximately 732 hours of officer time will be spent producing inspection reports and conducting pre and post inspection administration. Revisits of food premises are carried out in certain circumstances. It is estimated that approximately 35 premises will require a revisit in the current financial year accounting for approximately 27 hours of officer time. Excluding travel time, which in the Borough of Waverley is significant, 33 weeks of one full time officer will be utilised in performing the authority’s food hygiene inspection programme.

4.1.2 Impact of Legislative Changes

New EC Food Hygiene Regulations were introduced from the 1st January 2006 which impact on food businesses and the authorities work to inspect, give advice and enforce food hygiene legislation. This has had a significant impact on Waverley’s food safety inspection programme.

The most significant change is a new requirement for food businesses to document how they ensure that they produce safe food by using the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). HACCP is a well-known method of managing food safety. It remains, however, a challenge for smaller businesses to achieve.

Inevitably, visits to inspect food businesses will take longer as Waverley supports them in making the transition to HACCP and ensuring that the new standards set out in the EC Hygiene Regulations are applied.

Data from LACORS (the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) suggests that smaller independent local food businesses are less likely to have embraced HACCP previously and will require a greater level of support in complying with the new requirement. The make-up of food businesses within Waverley shows that the majority of premises fall within this category.

A simplified food safety system incorporating HACCP principles has been introduced by the Food Standards Agency. “Safer Food Better Business” (SFBB) is a recognised system of complying with the new legislation and Waverley Officers will be working with businesses to introduce it. However, an FSA estimate suggests that at least four hours training and mentoring will be required at each premises to support businesses in its implementation.

With this in mind, Waverley, together with 9 other local authorities in Surrey, successfully bid for money to provide training to small and medium sized businesses within Waverley, by providing two seminars with a food hygiene training organisation, CMi. One seminar was run in April 2007 which was very successful, with 37 attendees, followed by another scheduled for October 2007.

Each business attended free of charge and then received a follow-up coaching visit from CMi. The training was targeted at those businesses that had been identified as needing further advice regarding food safety management systems, and would benefit from further training.

4.1.3 The resources required to carry out the food hygiene inspections programme during 2007/2008 is estimated as being:-

1.80 officers (FTE)

4.2 Food Complaints

4.2.0 It is the policy of Waverley Borough Council to accept all complaints relating to food items or food premises. Under no circumstances will a justified complaint be refused.

All complaints relating to food items are dealt with in accordance with the authority’s Food Complaints Procedure Notes and Enforcement Policy.

All complaints relating to the condition of food premises are dealt with on a prioritised basis according to their likely widespread effect on consumers. For example, a complaint of glass fragments in food will be dealt with as a priority, in comparison to a complaint about food quality which does not have serious ongoing consequences.

4.2.1 The chart below indicates the number of complaints about food items received in the last three financial years.

04/05 05/06 06/07

The number of food complaints dealt with over the last four years has been fairly consistent and it is estimated that a similar level of complaints will be received in the current financial year (07/08).

4.2.3 Complaints about food premises

The chart below indicates the number of complaints received relating to the standard of food premises within the Borough.

04/05 05/06 06/07

4.2.4 There appears to be no significant rise or fall in the number of complaints about food premises received by the authority. It is estimated that a similar level of complaints will be received in the current financial year (07/08).

4.2.5 The overall resources required to deal with complaints about food and food premises are likely to remain the same over the next year. Estimation for the staffing of this aspect of work is:-
4.3 Home Authority Principle

Waverley has very few manufacturing premises based in its area and no food producing business head offices and therefore has not been approached to represent any food businesses as their home authority. The Department receives very few requests for information in its capacity as an originating authority. Therefore, there are no resourcing issues associated with the home authority principle.

4.4 Advice to Business

4.4.0 It is the policy of this authority to provide advice to food businesses based or operating within the Waverley area on all matters relating to food safety, either when requested by the business or in response to a referral from another environmental health department and, in any case, during the process of conducting a programmed inspection of a food business.

4.4.1 Advice to business is achieved by:-

4.4.2 New European food safety legislation introduced on 1st January 2006 requires businesses to implement documented food safety systems. It is estimated that the level of support to businesses during the first two years after introduction of this legislation will be greater than in previous years. The Food Standards Agency estimate an additional four hours per business will be required to mentor, train and support. A significant proportion of this time will be encompassed within a premises programmed inspection but, on average, at least one hour per premises will fall within the category of advice to businesses. This equates to a significant increase. Seminars as mentioned in 4.1.2, have eased the burden, but it has increased work on officers carrying out routine inspections.

4.4.3 An estimation of the staffing required to support this aspect of work is:-

4.5 Food Sampling and Inspection

4.5.0 Food samples are collected by this authority as:-

4.5.1 The Department has implemented a food sampling procedure governing the method of sampling foodstuff. The procedures incorporate systems to monitor the number of samples taken by the Department. The number of samples taken during the previous three years is depicted in the graph below.


04/05 05/06 06/07

4.5.2 All microbiological examination of food or water is conducted by the Sussex and Surrey Environmental Microbiology Service, Haywards Heath (part of the Health Protection Agency (HPA)). A model service level agreement exists between the laboratory and all Surrey Environmental Health Departments including Waverley. HPA has allocated 240 core-funded samples to Waverley based on the population within +the Borough. In the event that we exceed this level, a charge is made. It is not envisaged that the Department will exceed the allocation in the forthcoming financial year.

4.5.3 All chemical examinations of food or water are conducted by Hampshire Scientific Services in Southsea or the Central Scientific Laboratories in London. Details of all laboratories are contained within the Waverley Borough Council food sampling procedure.

4.5.4 In order to maintain continuity of evidence and transport time, standards in relation to the way that we deal with food samples, it is necessary for us to courier samples to laboratories. The cost of couriers is also met from the hired and contract services element at the inspection and preventative measures budget.

4.6 Control and Investigation of Outbreaks and Food Related Infectious Disease

4.6.0 The Department is a member of the Surrey Infection and Environmental Health Group and works under the direction of the Health Protection Unit. The Surrey Outbreak Control Plan forms the basis of a departmental procedure for investigating incidence of communicable disease. During 2006/7, the Department investigated 203 cases of communicable disease including e-coli, salmonella, dysentry, campylobacter and cryptosporidium. In addition, several suspected outbreaks were investigated by officers.

4.6.1 The examination of faecal specimens for bacteriological or viral infection is provided by the Public Health Laboratory Service based at West Park Hospital, Epsom.

4.6.2 This aspect of work can place high demands on the Department, particularly when a suspected outbreak occurs. In such cases, time is of great importance in taking action to control the spread of infection. This demand is met by reallocating officers from routine duties to this area.

The resources to control and investigate outbreaks and food related infectious disease is estimated as being:-

0.35 officers FTE Figure based on notifications between 1/4/05 and 16/2/06

4.7 Food Safety Incidents

4.7.0 The food alert system is a nationally recognised method of responding to and dealing with food safety incidents that have regional or national implications. It is the policy of this authority to respond to all food alerts issued by the Food Standards Agency.

The Environmental Health Section has developed a procedure relating to food alerts and food safety incidents. This details the action the authority will take:-

4.7.1 It is difficult to accurately estimate the amount of time and resource required to deal with food alerts and emergency control orders in the next twelve months as they are sporadic in their release and require variable amount of departmental effort at short notice to ensure they are actioned properly. The management of these is reliant on the reallocation of officers from routine proactive departmental work on an ‘as and when’ needed basis. Resource requirements have been based on the commitment to this aspect of work during 2006 when 37 food alerts were dealt with.

4.7.2 An estimation of the resource required to deal with food safety incidents based on previous years is:-

4.8 Liaison with Other Organisations

4.8.0 Waverley Environmental Health Department liaises with:-

Food Standards Agency to discuss the requirements for food safety enforcement, the completion and provision of statutory return statistics and the action to be taken in relation to food safety incidents.

4.8.1 Resource allocation for matters involving liaison with other organisations are estimated as:-

4.9 Food Safety Promotion

Food safety information is available at www.waverley.gov.uk and seasonal information is provided through peak food poisoning times through the year, for example, Summer BBQs and the Christmas period.
4.9.1 Resource allocations for matters involving health promotion are estimated as:-

5. Resources

5.1.1 Financial Allocation

The information set out in the table below shows the level of expenditure involved in providing the service.


Cost2007/2008 Budget Provision ()
Office Manpower 157,910
Training 3,720
Office Expenses 2,530
Office Accommodation 7,340
Recharged Service Costs 19,210
Supplies and services 5,000
Total 190,715

The hired and contracted services element of the budget includes support for food sampling costs and food safety inspections provided by external consultants.

The Legal Fee’s element of the budget includes support for enforcement and prosecution cases which involve external legal advice and services.

The Borough of Waverley has a positive commitment to the provision of IT support to its food safety services. There is a process of continual upgrade and investment. All staff have individual PC's which are networked. All staff have access to Internet within their work area and are conversant with e-mail, word processing and other software applications.

In 2007 a new software database system, M3 Public Protection has been introduced into the Environmental Health Section.

Estimated resource allocation for this activity is:-

0.25 (FTE)

5.1.2 Staffing Allocation

NameFTEFunctionQualification
Victoria Buckroyd0.25Environmental Health ManagerBCs (Hons) Environmental Health EHORB Registered
Member of CIEH
7 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Judith Smith0.50Team LeaderMSc Environmental Health EHORB Registered
Member of CIEH
13 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Alison O’Dell0.90Senior Environmental Health OfficerBSc (Hons) Environmental Health EHORB Registered
Chartered Member of CIEH
7 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Michelle Newman0.5Senior Environmental Health OfficerBSc (Hons) Environmental Health EHORB Registered
Member of CIEH
8 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Diploma in Acoustics
Kim Turner0.6Technical OfficerEHORB Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection
EHORB Registered
17 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Laura Annetts0.8Technical OfficerCurrently undertaking training to achieve Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspections
Ben Lees0.05Senior Environmental Health OfficerBSc (Hons) Environmental Health EHORB Registered
Member of CIEH
6 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Pamela Englefield0.05Senior Technical OfficerEHORB Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspections.
15 years Food Safety Enforcement experience
Lyn Butt0.75Administration OfficerBasic Food Hygiene Certificate
10 years experience in area of Food Safety


5.1.3 Staff Development Plan

Staff development and training is facilitated in a number of ways. Yearly appraisals are carried out which include assessment of training carried out in the previous year and identification of current training needs. In addition, the authority supports ongoing staff training via external courses, internal training sessions organised by the Food, Health and Safety Team and meetings which include an update session and cascade training from officers who have attended external courses and seminars. All officers are supported fully in meeting Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. With changes in management there has been some slippage in the appraisal process and this has been identified and addressed.

5.1.4 Quality Assessment

Quality monitoring of the food safety enforcement service is carried out by the Team Leader (Food, Health and Safety). Monitoring includes a quantative assessment of inspection figures and qualitative assessment of inspection technique, adherence to departmental procedures and accuracy and quality of correspondence. In the last financial year the team inspected 92% of these premises that were due a visit.

5.1.5 Review

The process of review of the work carried out by the Food, Health & Safety Team is carried out on a continual basis utilising:-

annual review of activity;

team meetings;

generation of computer-based statistics;

1-2-1 sessions between Environmental Health Manager and Team Leader

An action plan of Team objectives will be set for the current financial year and be linked into the appraisal process.

It is anticipated that at the end of 07/08 review of performances, the service plan will be undertaken and variance will be identified and explained.


Comms/exec/2007-08/053 52131

Appendix 1


Environmental Health Manager
Victoria Buckroyd




Team Leader
Food, Health & Safety
Judith Smith







Administrator SEHO SEHO SEHO
Lyn Butt (Health & Safety) (Food Safety) (O.6 FTE)
Ben Lees Alison O’Dell Michelle Newman





STO T.O. (O.6 FTE) T.O.
(Health & Safety ) (Food Safety) Laura Annetts
Pamela Englefield Kim Turner





Comms/exec/2007-08/053 52131