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FSA People Plan 2023 to 2026

Our people plan: Foreword

Our people plan explains what is important to get right for you, our people, to enable us to deliver our strategy.

Last updated: 20 April 2023
See all updates
Last updated: 20 April 2023
See all updates


Our people plan sets out how we will improve as an employer and the benefits this will bring us, the businesses we regulate and the public whose health we protect. It is our map for attracting the best people to our teams, helping colleagues grow and develop in their work, and for ensuring we become known for our great culture.

Our plan reflects your experiences. It explains what is important to get right for you, our people, to enable us to deliver our strategy. It shows what colleagues should expect from the FSA as their employer and what we expect of each other in turn. 

The FSA's role has grown since the UK left the EU. Our 2022-2027 strategy reaffirmed our mission, food you can trust: food that is safe, food that is what it says it is, and food that is healthier and more sustainable. It also described our guiding principles for how the FSA will deliver its part in that mission. 

Since January 2021, the FSA has new responsibilities. For example, we now authorise novel foods and feed. We decide the frequency and type of checks on food and feed at the border. We operate in a UK single market where devolved ministers have more say than they did before. The UK now takes its own seat in multilateral discussions on food and feed standards. In the meantime, the food industry is seizing opportunities to innovate with data and science. And risks to our food keep changing.
This all means that the FSA needs the right skills, knowledge and culture to deliver all the things it did before, and lots that is new, in the years ahead. It's our people who make this happen. We need:

  • a fantastic employee experience, supported by the right culture and values
  • the right capabilities and skills
  • our people to feel enabled by our HR policies, rewards, and estates.

This People Plan shows how we will do that over the next three years.
I’m very grateful to those of you who have given your feedback as this plan was developed. Hundreds of you have shared your thoughts through the culture enquiry, the people survey, our values refresh, through staff networks, through team meetings and Field Operations Regional Engagement and Development days. Thank you.

The FSA has incredible people in it. This People Plan will help us be even better at what we do..

Emily Miles, Chief Executive

Portrait of Emily Miles, the FSA Chief Executive

People are at the heart of the FSA's ability to protect consumers' interests in relation to food. That is why, as a board, we are proud to champion the FSA's People Plan, which demonstrates the organisation's ongoing commitment to doing the very best by its dedicated and talented workforce.

We want the FSA to be an employer of choice, and a standout department within government for employee satisfaction, inclusivity, positive workplace culture and personal development. As demands on the FSA increase, so too does the importance of being able to attract and retain people with the right capability and skillset to deliver against its strategy.

The People Plan offers a robust and transparent framework for ensuring that the FSA continues to deliver for its staff as well as for consumers.

Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, FSA Board Member

Portrait of Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, a FSA Board member.

Our people vision

We want the FSA to be a purposeful and dynamic place where all our people are supported in their jobs with the freedom to grow and develop to deliver our mission of food you can trust. 

Our strategy set out our mission to deliver food you can trust and the breadth of important work we need to do to deliver this in our five roles. We know that our resources are limited, so we need to make the most of them. To succeed in our ambitions, we need to equip all our people to deliver so we can do our best work. 

We will be the kind of organisation where people feel able to develop their expertise and are trusted to achieve the objectives for which they are accountable. The FSA will be a place where people feel equipped and supported to do the best they can in their work, whether that is having good kit and time for learning, or supportive and thriving relationships with one another regardless of location. Wherever people are in the organisation, they will feel cared for and enabled to do their best to deliver food you can trust. 

We also want to lead the way in creating an inclusive culture. In line with the wider civil service strategy, we will be the kind of organisation that celebrates diversity and inclusivity where everyone’s contribution is valued because through diversity we better represent and can better serve the public. 

Our culture and values

Developed by our people, our ASPIRE values were introduced in January 2018. Now, we are launching an updated version following feedback from you and our leaders. 

Our values articulate how we want to show up at work and what we expect of one another. They are the thread that runs through our whole organisation, helping us shape a culture of which we all want to be a part, and attract talented people to join us.

Our 2021 culture enquiry showed us that we have much to celebrate in our deep expertise, our pride in what we do for public health and the support we offer one another. Our refreshed version of ASPIRE reaffirms our commitment to inclusion, and our desire to shift our focus from resilience and surviving to readiness and thriving. Our values are:

Accountable: We take ownership of our actions and focus on getting things done to assure food you can trust. 

Supportive: We have strong, caring relationships with each other and work well within and across teams in the FSA.

Professional: We build trust by competently and confidently delivering to the highest professional standards, inspiring others through the work we do. 

Inclusive: We enable and value everyone's contribution and embrace people's wide-ranging characteristics, skills and experience. 

Ready: We are forward-thinking and open to change, making sure we are prepared to respond to events and seize opportunities, whilst protecting wellbeing as best we can.

Evolving: We are empowered to make thoughtful changes to improve what we do for the taxpayer, making sure we continuously reflect on our performance and keep on top of our learning.

Our updated ASPIRE values preserve what is so important to us and clarify how we all agree we should behave to ensure our culture continues to flourish.  

Tara Smith, Director of People and Resources

Tara Smith