Primary Authority was launched in 2009 to make the local regulation of businesses operating at multiple premises across the UK more consistent.
Building on the success of the scheme the eligibility criteria for Primary Authority have been expanded.
Partnerships are available to any type of business, whether starting out or established, as well as other types of organisation such as charities and trade associations.
Regulators that can become primary authorities include county, district and unitary councils, and fire and rescue authorities.
A business can form its own direct partnership. It then receives Primary Authority Advice tailored to its specific needs from its primary authority.
Alternatively, a business can belong to a trade association (or other type of group) to benefit from a co-ordinated primary authority. In this case, the Primary Authority Advice is still from the primary authority, but provided via the trade association, and tailored to the general needs of its members.
A business can choose the type of partnership best suited to its needs. Most businesses only have one partnership, but it is possible to be in different partnerships for different areas of regulation.
Primary authorities provide advice to businesses that other local regulators must respect on compliance with the regulations. They can also produce an inspection plan for a business or the members of a trade association (or other type of group), to improve the effectiveness of visits by local regulators and underpin better sharing of information.
The Primary Authority Register is the secure online service that supports the operation of the scheme. It contains details on every partnership, provides a forum for communications, and allows primary authorities to make important documents and business information readily available to local regulators.
Since decisions taken by primary authorities can have significance for the way businesses are regulated in general, they are required to take account of guidance from relevant national regulators when providing advice and creating inspection plans.
National regulators are a source of expertise for primary authorities, while primary authorities can help national regulators better understand and engage with businesses.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (Safety & Standards) exercises the statutory responsibility for the operation of Primary Authority on behalf of the Secretary of State, nominating partnerships, issuing guidance and resolving determinations. It also manages the Primary Authority Register.
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