Regulating Our Future - latest updates and key documents

Last updated:
21 September 2017
Regulating our future
We aim to ensure a sustainable approach to food safety regulation, one that brings about business behaviour change to benefit consumers. By 2020, we plan to have delivered a new regulatory model for food. On this page you will find the latest updates and all of the key documents we publish to support the Regulating Our Future programme.

CheckIt Feasibility Study

New digital technology that is increasingly used by food businesses to manage hygiene practices could soon also be used to help environmental health officers (EHO) monitor food businesses in real time, enabling them to detect food safety problems sooner and improve protection for the public. These are the findings of a study published by the Food Standards Agency which has highlighted promising results from a trial of this new approach.

Update on Primary Authority

The FSA became a Primary Authority supporting regulator in October as part of the changes introduced by the Enterprise Act 2016 (see story below).
At our December FSA Board meeting, the Board discussed the potential scope and implications of the role for the FSA. It was agreed that the FSA will consider requests for support from primary authorities on a case by case basis. It will also limit its supporting regulator role to acting as a facilitator in exceptional circumstances in matters of innovation where:

  • no published guidance currently exists;
  • specific scientific determination is requested in the absence current relevant advice.

The Board also stated that they would wish to see the advice being of more widespread benefit than the individual primary authority partnership business. The arrangements will be formally reviewed in two years’ time and the Board has asked for regular updates.

We’re now working to implement the Board’s decision and will publish information about how to request support from FSA as a supporting regulator. In the meantime, if a primary authority considers they have a request that meets the Board’s decision then they can email us at

Developments in the Primary Authority Scheme

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been made a supporting regulator in the Primary Authority Scheme. The scheme offers businesses, or group of businesses, the opportunity to form a partnership with one local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when regulating the business locally.

The role of “supporting regulator” has been introduced by the scheme from October 2017. The new role will provide regulatory bodies, including the FSA, with the opportunity to take a more structured role in assisting primary authorities who request help in developing advice and guidance. It will also help them in managing inspection plans for the businesses and co-ordinators they work with.

Nina Purcell, Director of Regulatory Delivery at the FSA, said: “We are already actively involved with the Primary Authority Scheme, but these changes will have an impact across the FSA. For this reason, we will be asking the FSA Board to decide at their meeting in December how, as a modern accountable regulator, we can best deliver our new supporting regulator role.

“Following the Board meeting we will publish a statement on the Agency’s website setting out the support we will initially make available to primary authorities and their partner businesses. Until then there will be no change in the current level of support offered to partnerships by the Agency.”

The Primary Authority Scheme is administered through the Enterprise Act by Regulatory Delivery, part of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Pilot Project for the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety

We have published the findings of a pilot study which identifies the potential for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards assurance scheme to play a part in regulated private assurance, one of the key parts of the Regulating Our Future (ROF) model.

The pilot was started before the ROF model was agreed and originally aimed to work with BRC Global Standards to develop an earned recognition scheme for food hygiene and standards. As the ROF model has moved away from the earned recognition approach for further development of regulated private assurance, the pilot shifted its focus on to how the BRC Global Standard could support the key ROF principles of using all available sources of information and recognising businesses that do the right thing.

Regulated private assurance is being developed under ROF to utilise the data generated by audits carried out by and for food businesses where this meets the standards set by the FSA. Assurance schemes, such as the BRC Global Standards, are just one of a number of sources of data being considered under the new model. The FSA will now work with BRC Global Standards to consider the recommendations. These and the full report can be read here:

Regulating Our Future - Why food regulation needs to change and how we are going to do it

In July 2017 we published our plans to change food regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The document, which sets out proposals to transform the way food businesses are regulated, can be read here:

Primary Authority National Inspection Strategy Feasibility Study

We have published the latest ROF feasibility study, which looks at how the Primary Authority scheme, and in particular national inspection strategies, can play a role in the future regulation of food businesses.

The results from the study will help the FSA in developing a new standard for primary authorities wishing to establish national inspection strategies for food. Read more here:

Regulating Our Future audit data research published

In March we published the findings from two projects which looked at whether audit data collected by food businesses could be used by local authorities to check food hygiene standards and decide ratings. From September to December 2016, the FSA worked with Tesco, Mitchells & Butlers, and their audit providers, together with volunteer local authorities, to test the companies’ own assurance data against the strict food safety requirements which local authorities use to check food businesses are complying with the law. The reports are available here: