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Primary Authority Partnership and Chargeable Regulatory Advice Service

If your business is based in Bedford Borough and also trades outside the county, the Primary Authority Partnership scheme could save you time, money and make it simpler to deal with regulations

It allows a legally recognised partnership between your business and ourselves.

What is a Primary Authority?

The Primary Authority scheme was introduced by the government in 2009 to address concerns raised by businesses about how they are regulated by local authorities. It covers a number of areas of regulation such as Environmental Health (Food Safety, Health & Safety) and Trading Standards legislation.

A Primary Authority allows your business to form a legal partnership with a local authority (known as the primary authority). The primary authority can provide you with assured, consistent regulatory advice that makes it simpler and easier to comply with Environmental Health and Trading Standards legislation.

The Commercial Regulation Service is able to enter into primary partnership with businesses in relation to a single, or multiple, regulatory areas including;

  • Food Hygiene and Safety
  • Food Standards
  • Workplace Health & Safety
  • Trading Standards

Can any business join the scheme?

Yes. As of October 2017 the eligibility criteria was extended so that any business, large or small, trading within one local authority area or over multiple areas will be able to join the scheme.     

Primary Authority can also help businesses that operate as part of a group, such as franchisees or members of a trade association.

Why would a partnership be good for my business?

  • participating in Primary Authority can give your business greater confidence in your regulated activities and reduce your risk of contravening legislation.
  • Primary Authority makes it easier for businesses to comply with the law, reducing the costs of compliance, without reducing regulatory protections
  • you can receive tailored advice bespoke to your business from local regulatory officers.
  • gain recognition of robust compliance arrangements
  • improvements in the consistency of regulatory advice and guidance.
  • when a new regulation is introduced it allows businesses to quickly establish an agreed means of compliance
  • new businesses can access/receive support in the production and development of policies, procedures and products with support from regulators, knowing the time an effort invested will be well spent and achieve the desired outcomes.
  • where assured advice is provided enforcing authorities across the country should respect this advice when regulating your business.
  • where appropriate, a national inspection plan can be produced which can avoid unnecessary checks and tests to ensure inspections by other local authorities are coordinated, saving time and resources.
  • greater confidence that you are protecting your business, employees and customers.


Under the scheme local authorities can recover costs for providing businesses with reliable regulatory advice. This will reduce administrative burdens of regulation and protection from enforcement actions where inconsistent advice is provided.

Further information

Further information about Primary Authority Partnerships is available from the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Chargeable Regulatory Advice Service

For many businesses understanding the requirements of regulation can be time consuming and daunting.

To support established and new businesses requiring more detailed, technical and/or bespoke advice the chargeable regulatory advice service provides you access to experienced, knowledgeable and professional officers.

The service provided will be tailored to an individual business’s needs, and as with the Primary Authority scheme can cover a single, or multiple, regulatory areas. The service can off a range of support including

  • Advice on legal obligations
  • Review and assessment of terms and conditions
  • Assessment of marketing and advertising material
  • Review and assessment of management systems – Food safety, Health & Safety
  • Product labelling guidance


Under both schemes local authorities can recover costs for providing businesses with reliable regulatory advice, with this operating on a cost recovery only basis.


Businesses that receive support from the Commercial Regulation team are able to access support from professional and knowledgeable officers, and this is supported by recent feedback received by the team -

"I've had many dealings with the environmental health team and trading standards over the years and have always been very impressed with the experience, knowledge and professionalism of the officers. Without fail, I've always found them genuinely happy to help and advice - and adept at knowing which areas of the business require attention and are able to provide practical solutions.

The advice we've received has proved invaluable as our business has grown, enabling us to establish best practice and anticipate problems before they arise - saving us considerable time and money over the years. Being able to access such a wealth of knowledge and experience has really been of great benefit and I can't thank the team enough for helping us along on our journey"

If you are interested in finding out more about establishing a Primary with Bedford Borough Council please email

You can also find out more in our Primary Authority and chargeable advise service policy.