Members gave consideration to the Food and Health and Safety Work Plan 2022/23. The Council was required to produce and approve a Work Plan that was in line with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Framework Agreement and the Statement of Commitment, agreed nationally, between Local Authority Representatives and the Health and Safety Executive.
The Committee therefore considered such a Plan, which covered all work undertaken within the Housing and Environmental Enforcement work area, relating to Food and Health and Safety. The Plan’s purpose was to set out how the Council delivered its official controls and fulfilled its duties under Food, Health and Safety, Public Health and Drinking Water legislation.
The Plan before Members also reflected the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had had upon the Food Hygiene work area in relation to delivering its statutory functions. The information on performance and the inspection regime were shown in sections 8 and 9 of the Plan and were specifically highlighted to the Committee. The Housing and Environmental Enforcement Manager advised that the Service had returned to a degree of normality, following the Covid-19 crisis. Re-introduction of a routine planned Inspection Programme had commenced from 1st April 2022. There was a significant backlog of food hygiene inspections resulting from the Covid-19 crisis and resources continued to be challenged, with Members having previously been advised of national recruitment challenges, demand outstripping supply due to the level of training required, and the steps the Authority had taken to go some way to addressing these issues. The Food and Health & Safety Team was to continue to provide the Council’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in relation to advice, education and ultimately, enforcement, to both businesses and residents, should this be required in the future.
Debate ensued and a Member asked a question about the resources available. In response, the Officer stated that there were additional temporary resources, and these depended on additional factors, in order to achieve the ‘477’ target of visited establishments. Members would be kept up to date and it was suggested a six month position update report would be of assistance.
In response to a question on sampling and guaranteeing it would be done, Members heard that Officers were already working on this, and that figures would be factored into the performance outcomes.
Having been proposed and second, on voting it was unanimously