The food enforcement activities of East Lothian Council have achieved the highest possible rating in an external audit.
Audits of local authorities’ food law enforcement services are part of Food Standards Scotland arrangements to improve consumer protection and confidence in relation to food. The enforcement of UK food law relating to food safety, hygiene, composition, labelling and imported food is largely the responsibility of local authorities across the UK and within East Lothian, they are delivered by the environmental health service of the council.
The officers of the Environmental Health Service are a credit to the local authority for achieving such high praise and recognition. Food safety is critical in terms of protecting public health but also to grow the local and national economy.
Derek Oliver, Service Manager – Protective Services
The service was audited on the 27-29 June, which focused on the authority’s capacity and capability in the delivery of official controls. The audit process assessed the council’s arrangements for meeting certain operational criteria, particularly on staffing related issues, registration and approval of food business operators, enforcement actions, interventions, procedures for carrying out official controls and transparency about enforcement activities.
Following an intensive, rigorous and robust three day audit, auditors concluded that the food law enforcement functions and activities of East Lothian Council was of the highest category - Substantial Assurance:
Controls are robust and well managed. Risk, governance and control procedures are effective in supporting the delivery of any related objectives. Any exposure to potential weakness is low and the materiality of any consequent risk is negligible.
In addition to this outcome, the auditors also identified and detailed areas of good practice in relation to its Service Charter and the use of the My East Lothian App.
Derek Oliver, Service Manager – Protective Services, said:
“The officers of the Environmental Health Service are a credit to the local authority for achieving such high praise and recognition. Food safety is critical in terms of protecting public health but also to grow the local and national economy. The reputation of Scotland’s food and drink sector is enhanced through the delivery of official controls on a daily basis. To receive such a positive report from Food Standards Scotland emphasises our commitment to food safety to our communities, local businesses and visitors to East Lothian.”
Food Standards Scotland’s Head of Audit, Marion McArthur, said:
“We’re delighted that East Lothian Council has achieved a green ‘Substantial Assurance’ outcome for its latest audit in summer 2017 – this reflects the authority’s food controls, which were well-managed and delivered at a high standard.
“At the end of last year, we added colour-coded assurance outcome categories to the audit process in Scotland to make our assessment easier to interpret. We look forward to continuing to work with local authorities in Scotland under our revised system to protect public health.”