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Council Services:

Primary Authority Scheme

What is a Primary Authority Scheme?The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008, and secondary legislation made under the Act, establishes Primary Authority as a statutory scheme for businesses trading across local authority boundaries. The Enterprise Act 2017 extends this to any businesses irrespective of their size or geographical locations.

The Primary Authority scheme, from 6 April 2014, offers Fire and Rescue Services the opportunity to develop a constructive partnership with a business that can deliver reliable advice along with coordinated and consistent enforcement for the business.

The scheme also allows Fire and Rescue Authorities to recover costs from partner businesses. Since 1st October 2017 all Primary Authority services no longer incur VAT.

Key elements of Primary Authority Schemes:

  • A primary authority has responsibility for providing the regulatory advice that the business requires in relation to fire safety, and the business will be able to rely on this advice.
  • A primary authority can issue statutory advice to other Fire and Rescue Services and produce an inspection plan to which other Fire and Rescue Services must have regard.
  • Where a Fire and Rescue Service has concerns about the compliance of a business that has a primary authority, it will discuss the issue with the primary authority at an early stage.
  • If enforcement is envisaged there is a statutory requirement for enforcing Fire and Rescue Service to notify the primary authority of the proposed enforcement action. However, exemptions allow certain enforcement action to proceed immediately, for example where action is needed urgently to prevent harm.
  • Where actions of the business are potentially subject to enforcement action by a Fire and Rescue Service, the primary authority will advise on whether relevant advice has been given to the business and whether the proposed action is consistent with that advice.
  • The Secretary of State is empowered to make determinations in cases of disagreement as to whether proposed enforcement action is inconsistent with the advice given by the primary authority.

Who can enter into a Primary Authority Scheme?

The Primary Authority scheme is open to any business, charity or other organisation that is regulated by Fire and Rescue Services in respect to fire safety as is enforced under the ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

A Primary Authority scheme is most likely to benefit businesses with branches in a number of local authority areas but from 1st October 2017 will be open to all businesses irrespective of their size.

You can choose which Fire and Rescue Service that you would like to enter into a Primary Authority Scheme with; it doesn’t have to be the one nearest to your head office or in the county where you have the greatest number of outlets. Remember, a Primary Authority Scheme is a partnership arrangement so you should take time to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Service that you choose to partner with is right for your business and can offer what you are hoping to get out of the scheme.

Is there a public register of Primary Authority Schemes?

Regulatory Delivery (RD) maintains a public register which is available on their website, primary-authority.beis.gov.uk

Costs

A yearly membership fee of £400 includes a full day’s consultation (including travel time) with a Fire Safety Officer to work on any specific fire safety topic that is relevant to your business. Any further bespoke work is charged at our hourly rate of £50 per hour. Since 1st October 2017 Primary Authority Services are no longer Vatable. Our charges are on a cost recovery basis only and are subject to an annual review.

Who do I contact if I want to discuss entering into Primary Authority Scheme with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue?

We will happily discuss entering into a Primary Authority Scheme with any eligible business. If you would like to discuss benefits for your business, in the first instance, please contact our PAS office on 01754 896426 or e-mail PAS@lincoln.fire-uk.org.

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Last updated: 14 November 2017

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