Primary Authority Scheme
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Should you be in a Primary Authority Scheme?

Do you run a business and need help with your fire safety?

What is the Primary Authority Scheme (PAS)?

It gives businesses the right to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority. This provides robust and reliable advice for a business to standardise fire safety across their sites, through our assured advice and recommendations.

How can we help?

We undertake a thorough review of all overarching policies and procedures, relating to fire safety and review fire evacuation plans.


What are the financial benefits?

  • Reducing the costs of complying with regulations
  • Improving your confidence in the measures you are taking to comply
  • Reducing the costs associated with compliance failures

 


Reducing the costs of compliance

  • Develop an open and honest relationship with your business, where you can share information about your compliance with legal requirements, and work together to resolve issues
  • Provide you with tailored 'Primary Authority Advice' which your business an rely on with confidence
  • Act as a single point of contact with other fire authorities, reducing the irritation of multiple inspections of your business premises


Improving confidence

We work with your business to understand your main risks and provide constructive challenges on the management of these risks, to improve your businesses compliance.

  • Financial risks associated with a compliance failure, including the cost of legal fees and court fines
  • Business continuity risk - any interruption to normal business activity, whether this is related to an investigation by a regulator, or to the need to withdraw or suspend a product or service
  • Reputational risk - any damage to your brand and reputation as a result of significant failure to meet legal requirements

 


Reducing the costs of getting it wrong

We receive feedback from other fire authorities about a business in relation to inspections that have been carried out, complaints that have been received allowing them to build a picture of how the business' procedures are working in practice.

This detailed understanding of your business means that, where an issue arises which may indicate a failure to meet legal requirements, the primary authority can:

  • Work with your business to quickly assess the issue and agree whether remedial action is needed
  • Make recommendations to other fire authorities on how to respond proportionately to any compliance failure

 

The primary authority is also able to direct against enforcement action by another local authority, where your business has acted on Primary Authority Advice, and the proposed action is inconsistent with their advice.

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What is Primary Authority Advice?

Often referred to as 'assured advice' it can provide protection for a business and reduce a business's exposure to the costs of unfair or inconsistent regulatory action. 

Why should I follow it?

Provided the business follows the advice, it doesn't need to worry about responding to conflicting advice or even facing enforcement action from another local authority, that has a different interpretation of the legal requirements.


What can Primary Authority advice cover?

Businesses have different needs so it's important that your business works with its primary authority, to understand and prioritise the regulatory risks faced by the business.

This will help you to understand where primary authority advice can add value.

It can be helpful to think of primary authority advice as falling into two broad areas:

  • Advice on interpretation and applicability of legislation
  • Advice on compliance systems

 

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How is advice provided?

A business is likely to have discussions with it's primary authority around compliance issues, some of which will lead to advice being provided, and some of which will not.

This should not present any difficulties, if both partners are clear as to when primary authority advice is being provided, and what that advice is.

There is no statutory obligation within the scheme for advice to be in writing however, it is sensible to make sure that any advice given is always recorded and is accessible by both partners.


How long will primary authority advice remain valid?


Primary authorities are required under the scheme to review their advice at appropriate intervals and when circumstances change.

Please consider:

  • Changes to the business' control systems. For example, an update to a health and safety manual would trigger a review of any advice
  • Changes in relevant legislation or national guidance
  • Concerns raised with the primary authority by other local authorities 

 

Do you want to join a primary authority scheme?

If you'd like more information or to discuss further how we can help your business,

call us on: 02380 725205

Or email: partnerships.manager@hantsfire.gov.uk

FREE PAS booklet