Scottish Borders (Core Audit)
Saturday 22 December 2007
02–05 July 2007
Scottish Borders Council is a Scottish Unitary Local Authority and therefore has responsibility for enforcing food hygiene, food standards and feeding stuffs law in the Scottish Borders district.
Approximately 1,500 businesses in the Authority’s area are subject to food law enforcement. There are also 557 registered premises that are subject to official controls for feeding stuffs.
The Authority has a Trading Standards Service Plan covering feeding stuffs. The Food Service Plan covers food law official controls and generally meets the requirements of the Service Planning Guidance in the Framework Agreement.
The annual review based on the previous year’s Food Service Plan had not been reported to the Executive at the time of the audit; however it had been raised with the Portfolio Members responsible for Environmental Health and placed on the Council’s website where it is open to Member and Public scrutiny.
Documented policies and procedures that have been produced are generally comprehensive and concise, although there is no effective system for controlling documents, resulting in some gaps in documentation and some documents that are out of date.
Suitably qualified authorised officers and inspectors have been appointed to enforce food and feeding stuffs law, although training records of food law enforcement officers are not sufficient to demonstrate that they are receiving continuing development training in accordance with the Food Law Code of Practice.
Some food hygiene and food standards premises inspections are not being conducted at the required minimum frequencies, and some food businesses have not been included in the planned food standards inspection programme.
Records of primary and secondary inspections of establishments that are subject to Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 are generally not sufficiently detailed to demonstrate that inspections have assessed compliance with all aspects of relevant legislation in accordance with the Food Law Code of Practice.
Sampling programmes for food and feeding stuffs have been developed and are being implemented, although adverse food sample results are not always being followed-up appropriately.
Officers use informal and formal enforcement options to secure compliance, including letters, voluntary surrenders of food for destruction, and hygiene improvement notices.
The Authority’s electronic databases were generally up to date, although some anomalies in the food business database need to be rectified.
Service performance has been monitored in the past, but monitoring had virtually ceased at the time of the audit.
Following the Agency’s audit in date Council developed an action plan to address the non-conformities raised.
The Agency notes the progress that has already been made with implementation of the action plan.
The information below details the following:
- the original non conformities identified during the July 2007 audit
- the action the Authority intended to take to address the non conformities
- the date by which the non conformities were to be rectified
- the progress to date as notified by the Authority in September 2008
- the comments of the Agency Auditors following their follow-up audit on 16 December 2008
The actions taken to address the action plan have been noted and the audit file has been closed.