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EHP numbers falling behind in England

Stuart Spear20/09/2017 - 15:51

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EHP numbers down in England
EHP numbers down in England

English local authorities are seriously falling behind their devolved neighbours when it comes to resourcing food inspections. English councils are on average employing half the number of EHPs than Welsh authorities to do the same job.

The latest LAEMS figures published this week reveals that each EHP inspecting food establishments in England is responsible for 345 premises annually while in Wales the figure is nearly half that at 175. In Northern Ireland the figure is 238 premises per EHP while in Scotland it is 204.

LAEMS or the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System is a web based application that enables local authorities to inform the Foods Standards Agency about their food enforcement activity.

All the countries have seen a decline in number of full time equivalent EHPs available to inspect food businesses except for Wales that has managed to maintain a ratio of 5.7 FTEs per 1,000 premises.

Decreasing staff numbers come as complaints about food safety standards rocket with England seeing a 24 per cent increase in complaints dealt with last year up from 58,717 to 72,847 with Wales seeing a 27 per cent increase from 3,312 to 4,206.  

It is believed the increase across the UK may be down to the FSA introducing a new service on its web site where a food problem anywhere in the UK can be reported to the local authority where the business is located.

Numbers of food establishments operating in the UK are also on the rise up from 627,425 in 2015/15 to 634,584 in 2016/17.

‘In the devolved nations they have the opportunity to resource food safety the way they think appropriate the difference is significant and that does concern us particularly on rising number of food premises to be covered and rising numbers of premises not being inspected,’ said Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy.

Five point one per cent of premises were not rated in 2016/17 compared to 5 per cent in 2015/16 and 4.9 per cent in 2014/15..

Other headline figures include the number of food establishment considered broadly compliant, or achieving a Food Hygiene Rating Score or equivalent of 3 standing at 89 per cent wile 6 per cent of businesses where deemed unsatisfactory and so required improvement.

CIEH is restructuring its Food Advisory Panel to ensure that it better reflects the views and opinions of all sectors of the profession and we would like to hear from members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have current experience of delivering food regulation from the local authority perspective and who would be interested in joining the advisory panel.   

Interested members should email CIEH Head of Policy, Tony Lewis via t.lewis@cieh.org for more information 


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