FSA aims to improve collaboration
The Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) is proposing to work closer with industry in a bid to tackle the issues surrounding charging for the delivery of meat inspection services.
In board papers, published today (Friday), the FSA is calling on its board members to agree a new strategy which would see the FSA pursue a more collaborative approach with the various stakeholders in a bid to tackle three issues:
• a review of the current discount system
• joint working to identify further ways to reduce costs, while maintaining consumer protection
• exploring options for alternative delivery models.
It also calls on the board to agree that discussions should continue with other government departments to assess whether any would take on responsibility for the allocation of subsidy for meat hygiene services.
The proposals will be considered at the next FSA board meeting on 12 September.
The FSA’s head of operations Andrew Smith said that this three issues were “significant” and the FSA had already worked collaboratively with industry. He said: “We’ve already had useful and productive discussion with the BMPA about their ideas on potential changes to delivery models and though it’s early days, it something that will be discussed with the board paper.
“The estimation of alternative delivery models will include looking at control bodies, which is something that some of the industry are very keen on. However, there’s a lot of work to be done to understand some of the legalities and a lot of work for industry to do to consider how they think this might work.
Regarding the current discount charging system, he said that there was £11.2m worth of costs tied into the current charging system that was unnecessary.
He said: “This stems from the inefficiencies caused by the discount system which quite often disincentivises efficient behaviour within the meat industry. I think it’s fair to say it is largely discredited now."
The independent efficiency review of the FSA, which will be carried out in the public domain, is the result of feedback from the Reducing Regulation Committee (RRC). Rhodes said that this was important because as will give even greater transparency to the agency’s existing performance.