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SHDC has won a Regulatory Excellence Award for supporting businesses during Brexit

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SHDC has won a Regulatory Excellence Award for supporting businesses during Brexit

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South Hams District Council has scooped a Regulatory Excellence Award for supporting businesses during the EU-transition.

The council won the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) award for its role in the Heart of the South West Better Business for All (BBfA) partnership. The organisers of the Regulatory Excellence Awards praised the partnership for delivering "outstanding regulatory support at a local level."

The BBfA partnership operates under the direction of the Devon Strategic Environmental Health Officers group and is designed to support local business to meet regulatory requirements. It was crowned winner in the Better Business for All category of the awards for its role in bringing partners together from local authority economic development, trading standards and environmental health teams and business representatives. The partnership also produced and delivered guides and webinars for the business community and acted as a one stop shop for all things EU-Transition. 

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: “This award is a great achievement that recognises the excellent standards that the Better Business for All partnership has set through a joint working approach.

“The EU-transition was a huge challenge to the Council and many local businesses. For example, we worked with our main exporters of fish products to ensure that their catch could be exported safely to Europe and beyond, negotiating a huge amount of red tape to ensure food safety standards remain high.

“The last 18 months have been a challenging time for residents and businesses alike. Hopefully we are now seeing most of our businesses recover with an influx of visitors over the summer period. The Council’s Environmental Health Team have been very busy too. We have visited the majority of local businesses, initially providing advice how to keep staff, visitors and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have also worked with event organisers to ensure that events are safe and we’ve supported our Public Health Colleagues with advice on infection control measures where outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred locally.” 

EU-transition case study: Fishing industry

All UK-flagged vessels supplying fishery products for export to the EU must be registered as a food business with their local authority and have undergone a hygiene inspection. Local preparations started in early 2020 with the inspection of fishing vessels over 10m in line with Government advice.

A SHDC spokesperson said: "South Hams District Council worked with the exporters to make sure that they were all registered with the online certificate process on the Government Gateway and exporters were kept up to date on any business readiness webinars available. 

"In the South Hams we have 29 registered fishing vessels and 100% of inspections were carried out.

"One of our exporters – G.H.M at Salcombe - requested the first of our EU certificates. An Officer visited Salcombe fish quay on Monday 11 January 2021 in order to see the consignment and issue the Export Health Certificate. The first consignment arrived in France and onto Portugal with success!"

Better Business for All (BBfA) "brings together businesses and regulators in local partnerships to identify the issues facing local businesses and provide support to them". Most local authorities are involved with the programme, preparing and implementing action plans and sharing good practice. The partnership has traditionally focussed on the food-industry as well as health and safety, fire safety and licensing activity.

In recent times the group has co-ordinated EU transition and COVID information for businesses, as well as providing webinars, additional guidance, inspection pro-forma and a forum for Regulators to share initiatives and discussion. 

The Regulatory Excellence Awards recognise "outstanding work and innovation in combating coronavirus, helping businesses trade safely while protecting consumers". 

Paul Scully MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister for London, provided the opening address. He said: “Thank you to all the organisations that have entered this year’s Regulatory Excellence Awards and for the cooperation and partnership working you were involved in with the Office for Product Safety and Standards. This year it is particularly important we celebrate outstanding regulatory practice in supporting businesses and protecting consumers.”

There were five award categories: Coronavirus, Better Business for All, Primary Authority, Innovation and Technical, and Product Safety.

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