FSA News, 28 August 2002
The Food Standards Agency has published updated audit action plans for a number of local authorities in England. The updated action plans, which have been agreed with the local authorities concerned, reflect progress made by the authority in implementing the action plans published following audit.
The Agency's local authority audit programme, which was launched in April 2001
to raise national standards of food safety, assesses local authority food law
enforcement activity relating to food hygiene, food standards and feeding stuffs.
Local authority Trading Standards and Environmental Health Services are audited against the requirements of the Agency's Framework Agreement on Local Authority Food Law Enforcement Standard (as amended in March 2002).
As planned, 40 local authorities were audited in England in 2001/2002 and the programme for 2002/2003 is already underway.
In line with its commitment to openness and transparency, the Agency publishes the reports from these audits, together with the local authorities' action plans to address the recommendations made. These can be found at: www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/audits/.
In order to secure improvement, follow-up action is undertaken by the Agency approximately six months after the audit report is published, to assess the progress local authorities have made in implementing their action plans.
In some circumstances this will entail a re-visit to local authorities. In others, correspondence between the Agency and the local authority may suffice. Agreed revised action plans are published with the audit reports.
The Executive Agencies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each operate their own audit programme in parallel with that for England.