Primary Authority

From 6 April 2014 businesses, charities or other organisations which operate across more than one local authority fire enforcement area, have been able to enter into partnerships with Fire and Rescue Services in England and Wales. This enables a single Fire and Rescue Service to become their single point of contact for all fire safety regulation advice which is legislated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

If you think your business could benefit from forming a PA partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and you would like some more information, please call our Primary Authority Officer on 0191 444 1583 or email pas@twfire.gov.uk

Primary Authority encourages growth - Journalist Michael Collie interviews businesses and regulators about the benefits of Primary Authority.  Follow the link to watch the video.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has enjoyed a Primary Authority (PA) partnership with Sainsbury’s Supermarket Ltd since 2010 under the category of explosives for when the stores sell fireworks, which was extended to include the fire safety category in April 2014. This is legislated by the Explosives Regulations 2014 where TWFRS has provided advice and assurance on how to comply with the legislation, whilst also assisting the regulator when conducting inspections at Sainsbury’s premises. PA Advice and an Inspection Plan have been developed under the remit of the PA for explosives and fire safety.

TWFRS have partnered with NHS Property Services in April 2014 under the fire safety category; they manage, maintain and improve over 4,000 properties, working in partnership with NHS organisations in creating safe, efficient, sustainable and modern healthcare and working environments. NHS PS is a limited company set up on 1 April 2013 and wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health.

In November 2014, TWFRS partnered with Home Group Ltd under the fire safety category. Home Group is a social enterprise and a charity with a turnover of over £325m, is one of the UK’s largest providers of high quality housing and supported housing services and products. Home Group's role is to provide general needs housing, supported housing services, and home ownership options targeted towards helping some of society’s most vulnerable people take control of their own lives.

Places for People Group Ltd and TWFRS signed a partnership for the fire safety category in December 2015. Places for People is one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, who own or manage 140,000 homes and have assets in excess of £3 billion. Places for People are a business with a social as well as a commercial purpose, and corporate responsibility remains at the heart of what they do. As a not-for-dividend organisation, any profit is re-invested back into the business.

In March 2016, TWFRS partnered with The English Heritage Trust, who cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites - from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of the empire to a Cold War bunker. From small beginnings towards the end of the 19th century, the collection of historic places now managed by English Heritage has grown to over 400, inspired by a determination to put England's heritage ahead of private interest. Originally set up as a government agency in 1983, English Heritage has now become a registered charity.

In July 2016, The Huntercombe Group and TWFRS entered into a partnership agreement under the fire safety category.  The Huntercombe Group provide three specialist areas of care: Adult Mental Health, Specialist Brain Injury and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. With hospitals and specialist centres across England and Scotland, Huntercombe work in partnership with National Health Service (NHS) and Local Authorities (LA) to provide person-centred quality health and social care services.

Hugo Boss joined TWFRS as their partner in September 2017. The German luxury fashion house was founded in 1924 and is world-famous for its popular designs.

In August 2017 intu Properties plc, also joined. They are a Real-Estate Investment Trust largely focused on shopping centre management and development including Eldon Square and the Metrocentre.

The principles of PA are set out in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (the RES Act). The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013, amended the RES Act, broadening the eligibility criteria for participation in PA, and strengthening Inspection Plans.

The PA scheme is a common sense HM Government initiative to support economic growth through better regulation and cut red tape for businesses. It is one of the most effective ways for fire safety regulators to improve protection and support their business communities whilst allowing Fire and Rescue Authorities to recover reasonable costs from its partner organisations.

A business that chooses to participate in a PA partnership is seen to be demonstrating a commitment to working in partnership with regulators, and a desire to build a positive experience of local and national regulation. The scheme enables PA’s to develop positive relationships with such businesses, sowing the seeds for a new way of regulating businesses that are committed to compliance.

Importantly, a PA scheme is a partnership arrangement with a Fire and Rescue Service, you should take time to ensure that you choose a partner which is right for your business and can offer what you are hoping to get out of the PA scheme.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service through a PA partnership agreement can offer:

  • Apportionment of a dedicated PA Officer and team who will get to know and understand your business and preferred methods of operation and approach to compliance

  • TWFRS staff that work as part of the PA, will undertake completion of the Regulation Delivery (previously know as Better Regulation Delivery Office) Regulators' Development Needs Analysis (RDNA) self-assessment tool and make reference to the Guidance for Regulators – Information Point (GRIP)for personal development under the PA

  • TWFRS have gained valuable experience of partnership schemes by working with a number of large national businesses for the fire safety and explosives categories; TWFRS was one of the chosen Fire and Rescue Services by Regulatory Delivery to be involved with the PA fire safety pilot in 2013

  • We offer you the opportunity to form a partnership with a nationally recognised and influential UK Fire and Rescue Service which can assist you with compliance with either the Regulatory Fire Safety Order or the Explosives Regulations or indeed both

  • TWFRS have built up valuable links and relationships with Regulatory Delivery Officers and The Health and Safety Executive as the National Regulator for explosives; this will assist the partnership when developing PA Advice and Inspection Plans we may wish to publish

  • TWFRS understands the difficulty some businesses have in complying with complex and detailed legislation across a number of enforcing boundaries, we can assist in achieving a consistent and reasonable level of compliance for your business in England and Wales for fire safety and in England, Wales and Scotland for explosives

  • TWFRS has a high level of knowledge and understanding of the fire safety and explosives legislation and how this should be applied to achieve a reasonable level of compliance. This experience and exposure will greatly assist your business in protecting employees, public, customers and visitors, whilst also protecting your premises and contents from fire including the provision of business continuity planning for your service

  • TWFRS can liaise with other regulators to provide a single point of contact for all compliance issues for your business under the terms and conditions of the PA

  • TWFRS can offer ‘Primary Authority Advice’ to your business, giving you confidence that your chosen methods of compliance will be treated consistently across enforcing areas

  • Where appropriate, an ‘Inspection Plan’ can be developed to ensure inspections by other regulators are focused on key issues saving time and resources for you and the regulator

  • TWFRS can carry out a comprehensive, professional and impartial review of your fire safety strategic policies, procedures, processes and guidance from a regulatory compliance perspective

  • The recording of all appropriate partnership details and arrangements within the secure on-line Primary Authority Register provided by the Regulation Delivery. This ensures that all the key information about our partnership with you is available to other regulators

  • We will always respect confidential and commercially sensitive matters

  • TWFRS cost recovery model has regard to the guidance issued by HM Treasury in ‘Managing Public Money’ which is based on a daily rate

Key elements of Primary Authority schemes:

  • The PA can provide consistent and reliable advice and expertise to reduce risk and cost of non-compliance

  • Where a regulator has concerns about the compliance of a business that is part of a PA scheme, the regulator can discuss the issue with the PA at an early stage, where in most cases these issues can be resolved

  • ‘Primary Authority Advice’ can be developed to assist the business in compliance with the legislation and also assist regulators when assessing how the business complies with the relevant legislation. The PA can publish this advice and any general information about the partnership and business on the Regulatory Delivery secure IT system for all regulators to view

  • Where appropriate, the PA may direct other regulators not to carry out proposed enforcement action such as serving of an Enforcement or Improvement Notices, where the PA has regarded the proposed action to be inconsistent with ‘Primary Authority Advice’ that has been provided and followed by the business

  • A determination process allows for disagreements over enforcement action to be mediated by Regulatory Delivery who are empowered to determine what, if any, action should be taken

  • The PA with the business can develop an Inspection Plans for the business, which must be followed by the regulator, Regulatory Delivery (and National Regulators if applicable) approve and publish the Inspection Plan on the secure IT system

Latest Primary Authority News