NIS involves one local authority – called the primary authority – working with a multi-site food business, for example a chain of restaurants or supermarkets, to ensure the business is meeting its food hygiene responsibilities through assessment of its central systems and other business data. The primary authority will use this intelligence to inform the frequency and nature of local authority inspections of individual outlets.
In a NIS recognised by the FSA, routine inspections of individual outlets by local authorities will be less frequent than now and, importantly, the findings from those inspections will be fed back to the primary authority to provide assurance that the NIS is working as intended.
The Primary Authority scheme is overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and enables businesses to form a legal partnership with one local authority, which then provides assured and tailored advice on complying with regulations.
The pathfinder trial we are publishing today looked at whether primary authorities can access and use business data to predict how businesses are complying with hygiene regulations. We found an 80% match between the predicted food hygiene ratings based on a food business’ data and the actual rating given by an LA following an inspection
We have also published three draft standards that will ensure all parties in a NIS meet robust and demanding criteria and that the FSA's oversight and assurance of NIS is clear and transparent.