III – Introduction and Background
1. The Purpose of the Scottish Government is to make Scotland a more successful country, with opportunities for all to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. Making Scotland the best place to do business in Europe requires a regulatory landscape that protects our citizens, our heritage and our environment while providing a favourable business environment in which companies can grow and flourish.
2. Scotland’s Economic Strategy continues to recognise the important role of better regulation in delivering a more successful and sustainable Scotland. The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 created a more diverse toolkit to deliver better regulation and to further improve the way regulations are applied in Scotland. It will protect our people, our environment and help businesses to flourish and create jobs. Where regulation – or the way it is applied - does not meet the principles of better regulation it can hinder growth in business, employment and in the economy generally.
3. Business has provided examples of growth being constrained or unnecessary burdens being placed on them from inconsistent application of regulation. One complaint from a food business and its trade association concerned the inconsistent application of standards in respect of street trading vehicles which operate in different local authority areas. Under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for the purposes of a street trader’s licence application a mobile food business required a certificate of compliance from the food authority in which the application is being made. As a result mobile food vans had to be inspected separately by each authority in which the business wished to operate in order to obtain a certificate. This duplication of effort costs businesses and local authorities time and money.
Scottish Bakers, the trade association for all bakers in Scotland, provided details of regulatory inconsistency involving one of their members which sell hot savouries and bakery products in their local area using a specially purchased van. As the van operates across two local authority areas, it is subject to inspections by environmental health in both local authorities. These inspections include compliance with food hygiene regulations. One Council used a risk based case-by-case approach and was satisfied with the van which has hand washing facilities and procedures in place to ensure hygiene and quality is maintained (keeping a supply of utensils in the van and returning to the bakery if all utensils have been contaminated). However the other Council asked that a utensils sink be installed in the van at a total cost estimated at £1000. This is consistent with their published guidance, which is intended to provide clarity to businesses and manage the volume of inspections in a way which is efficient for both the Council and businesses, and which requires all hot food units to have the capacity to clean equipment without resorting to a wash station at a home base.
4. The Consultation on Proposals for a Better Regulation Bill  sought views on this issue and proposals to require local authorities to accept as valid a certificate of compliance issued by another local authority, and require all food authorities to comply with relevant national standards. This would enable moveable food businesses to have vans inspected, for certificates of compliance, only by the local authority in which the business is registered and have clear and transparent standards for this. Responses to the consultation indicated a high level of support for these proposals.
5. Provisions within part 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act amend section 39(4) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to make it clear that the certificate to be produced for the purposes of a street trader’s licence application for a mobile food business is to be from a food authority that has registered that establishment (rather than the food authority for the area in which the application for the licence is made). These changes mean that if a mobile food business wishes to trade in more than one local authority area in Scotland it can, for each street trader’s licence application, produce a certificate from the same registering food authority.
6. National standards have been developed to provide consistency and transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of regulations and inspections of mobile food business in respect of certificates of compliance for a street trader’s licence application. They also incorporate wider operational aspects of mobile traders food hygiene. This consultation seeks views on those standards.
Email: Wendy McCutcheon, email@example.com