Primary authority partnerships

Primary authority Partnerships

Primary authority - what is it?

We know you hate red tape - it wastes your time and costs you money. With a primary authority partnership we can help you get the inspectors on your side when it comes to local regulation.

The scheme is called primary authority and it was introduced by the government in 2009 to address concerns raised by businesses about how they were regulated by local authorities. It covers areas such as environmental health, licensing and trading standards legislation.

The scheme includes the provision of robust, bespoke advice, by Trading Standards and Environmental Health, through the primary authority partnership which is taken into account by other councils when carrying out inspections or dealing with non compliance. This serves to prevent inconsistent enforcement actions against the business. Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Milton Keynes City Council are Office of Product Safety and Standards Excellence Awards 2021 winners! Innovation and Technology category, together with our partners Glint Media Ltd t/a Menu Guide. You can read more about the awards on the OPSS website.

How does that help you?

By forming a primary authority partnership with Milton Keynes City Council, your business is ensuring that it has access to fast, reliable and authoritative advice on your legal responsibilities and how you can meet them. By being in a primary authority partnership, you are protected against contradictory advice, unfocussed activity, duplicated efforts and the lack of effective dispute resolution when councils disagree. Instead, businesses can receive earned recognition from national regulators for its efforts to achieve compliance. If you would like more information please contact us on 01908 252818 to speak to one of our primary authority officers.

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.

What can primary authority do for members of trade associations and franchises?

Trade associations and other groups of businesses can have an agreement with Milton Keynes City Council to coordinate a primary authority partnership. Businesses within the group can then access membership to the primary authority Scheme through the coordinator, eg. the trade association.

As long as you are following advice from Milton Keynes City Council as your primary authority, other local authorities cannot ask you to do something different. This means that you can concentrate on running your business and moving forward with new ideas with confidence – protected from the consequences of inconsistent local interpretation of regulations.

How much does it cost?

A primary authority is entitled to recover its costs for developing and providing advice and for other work that it does to support partnerships under the scheme. Milton Keynes City Council is not able, and does not seek, to make a profit from these activities. The application fees are:

  • Businesses with less than 10 employees £275
  • Businesses with 10+ employees £655
  • Co-ordinated Partnerships £655

Advice is charged at the very competitive hourly rate of £86 – especially when compared to prices charged by solicitors or private sector consultants. The annual renewal fee is £165. For businesses accessing the scheme through a coordinated group (i.e. a trade association) the costs can be shared amongst the members.

Where can I get more information?

Please contact our business advice team for further details of how we can help your business, or to arrange for a presentation by calling us on 01908 252818 or emailing us.

Further details of the primary authority national scheme can be accessed on the national website.

Our expert knowledge and advice is backed by law and we can provide you with support that you can rely on. Who better to assist you than the regulators themselves?

Trading Standards Team

Trading Standards Team contact information

  • 0808 223 1133 (freephone) - Consumer advice and complaints

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ