Features and benefits
A primary authority provides the single point of contact for all local regulators, and uses its in-depth understanding of the partner business to resolve issues more efficiently and ensure consistency.
The secure IT system allows the primary authority to make relevant information on business risks and systems directly available to local inspectors at the outset. As a result, they arrive at premises well briefed and confident about what to expect. Information requests to the business are also reduced.
Local regulators can use the secure IT system to refer issues to the primary authority, including feedback on how effectively the business is delivering compliance. This helps the primary authority and business to understand how procedures are working in practice, and to amend them if necessary.
Benefits for business
Primary Authority delivers confidence to invest and grow. Businesses have access to a reliable source of information that draws on a detailed understanding of their operations, prevents inconsistent interpretation of regulations, and applies regardless of where stores, factories or offices are based or products are sold.
Whether businesses seek to confirm that their existing procedures accord with the rules or simply want to know what to do to comply, tailored advice is available from their primary authority - with the assurance that it is respected by all local regulators.
By assessing the feedback from inspections conducted across the UK, primary authorities can provide other councils with evidence of compliance and recommendations about how best to tackle broad issues quickly and effectively at a local level. Both aspects serve to drive down costs for businesses in partnerships.
Benefits for local authorities
Primary Authority is a means of helping businesses prosper without compromising consumer protection from harm and fraud, by working with those that appreciate the value of the advice they receive. Local authorities willing to deliver tailored expertise can expect to see increased investment and employment within their local communities. As partnerships are established, councils also gain from access to better intelligence.
While the flexibility to adapt to local circumstances must be retained, eliminating inconsistent interpretation serves to enhance the credibility of all local regulators, as well as preventing unfair variations in the level of protection that the public receives. This supports the creation of a level commercial playing field, giving businesses more confidence to invest and grow.
"If there wasn't any advantage for business in Primary Authority, we wouldn't offer it. We see it as a progression."
Slough Borough Council Trading Standards Manager Keith Eaglestone - 18/03/11