Primary Authority advice

Primary Authority - Better Regulation Delivery Office

Primary Authority was introduced to address businesses' concerns about how local authorities apply environmental health, licensing and trading standards legislation, including contradictory advice, wasted resources and duplicated efforts, and the lack of effective dispute resolution when councils disagree.

The scheme gives businesses the right to form a statutory partnership with one local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance.

This entails a fundamental shift in the relationship between the regulated and the regulator to the benefit of both parties.

The principles of Primary Authority are set out in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008. Prior to its launch, the framework was tested and refined by 13 major retailers and pilot local authorities.

All the legislation underpinning Primary Authority on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information. The relevant documents are:

Brief guide to Primary Authority

  • Regardless of its size, a business operating across council boundaries or sharing an approach to compliance with a business in a different local authority area can access Primary Authority.
  • Eligible businesses can form a Primary Authority partnership with a single local authority in relation to environmental health and trading standards legislation, or specific functions such as food safety or petroleum licensing. See new regulations covered from 1 October 2013.
  • Once legally nominated by Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) partnerships are automatically recognised by all local regulators. A central register of the partnerships provides an authoritative reference source.
  • By working closely with the business a Primary Authority can apply regulations to their specific circumstances, providing robust and reliable advice which must be respected by all local regulators.
  • A national inspection plan can be produced by the Primary Authority to improve the effectiveness of inspection, avoid repeated checks, and enable better sharing of information. Inspection plans were strengthened from 1 October 2013.
  • If a problem arises, the Primary Authority can co-ordinate enforcement action to ensure that the business is treated consistently and that responses are proportionate to the issue.
  • BRDO oversees Primary Authority and operates a dispute resolution procedure.
  • A business can choose what level of support it needs from its Primary Authority. Resourcing the partnership is up to the councils and businesses. A Primary Authority can choose to recover its costs.


Salford City Council offer Primary Authority to eligible businesses that trade in Salford and across local authority boundaries. This scheme operates on a cost recovery basis with the business agreeing to a minimum commitment of 20 hours of officer time committed to the partnership in areas of mutual agreement.

This equates to a minimum commitment of £1100 from the business at a rate of £55 per hour. Any hours over and above the minimum of 20 will be charged at the same hourly rate of £55 per hour.

If you wish to speak with an officer in relation to Primary Authority please contact email or call 0161 925 1097.

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

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