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Primary Authority Scheme

As an owner, manager or operator of a business, charity or other organisation, regulatory requirements can be daunting, confusing and difficult to put into context for your business.

To help you comply with fire safety law, we offer Primary Authority Partnerships to provide reliable and consistent regulatory support.  

The main fire safety law for England and Wales is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Complying with regulation

Primary Authority is an alternative method for businesses to comply with regulation

Businesses can range from large businesses operating across the country to very small locally based businesses with just a few employees. They include businesses as diverse as farm-based market traders, breweries, tyre fitters, betting shop operators and high street retailers.

The successful growth and development of Primary Authority now enables businesses of all shapes and sizes to benefit from proactive support from us to get advice from the outset rather than intervene should things go wrong.

Primary Authority partnership

In a legally recognised Primary Authority partnership we will:

  • Work with you to develop a clear understanding of your business model and compliance needs for fire safety
  • Liaise with other fire and rescue authorities on your behalf if you trade across fire service boundaries to act as a single point of contact for fire service colleagues 
  • Work with you to develop necessary and proportionate advice which is bespoke to your business needs. You can be confident that if the advice issued by your Primary Authority partner is followed it applies across the business and cannot be easily challenged by other fire authorities – giving you assurance and time to focus on your core business development.  
  • Support you in the development of policies and procedures to comply with your fire safety requirements
  • Work with our partner regulators to offer the full range of regulatory support through a single portal.  

The website has information about the wider aspects of Primary Authority 

We share knowledge, resources and expertise to provide the best support and advice for local businesses.

The Primary Authority scheme is the Government's preferred route to improving compliance by regulators and businesses working together to protect our communities and support business growth. 

Cost recovery  

The statutory Primary Authority scheme is operated on a cost-recovery basis enabling local regulators to recover only the costs incurred by the authority in delivery of the partnership. 

The cost recovery rate (April 2023) is £90 per hour (VAT is not applicable to Primary Authority services as they are regulatory in nature and can only be delivered by Local Authorities)

Contact Us

If this is something that you would wish to explore further, please contact:

A word or two from Eastbourne Hospitality Association 

“Our Primary Authority partnership gives us easy access to quality advice on areas which matter to our members and can be relied upon.

"We can confidently seek advice on regulation which our members may need clarifying but not wanted to ask the regulators directly.   

"Advice on fire safety, food standards and safety are areas of priority to over 100 of our members and getting this right from the outset helps keep our staff, visitors and guests safe and shows our commitment to promoting Eastbourne as a great place to visit knowing that we care take our responsibilities seriously and positively work with our local councils and fire and rescue service.” 

Supporting Documentation      

All the legislation underpinning Primary Authority can be downloaded via the website of the Office of Public Sector Information.

The relevant documents are:

Businesses we are engaged with as the Primary Authority include:

Eastbourne Hospitality Association - Care homes - Accommodation providers - Independent schools - Retail and restaurants chains  - Waste and recycling sector 

Case Studies

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Eastbourne Hospitality Association 

Link to Eastbourne Hospitality Association Website

Eastbourne attracts over 4.9million tourists each year and, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses so much, is keen to attract visitors to the resort and give them confidence that businesses are following Government guidelines to protect as far as possible from the virus. 

Eastbourne Hospitality Association (EHA) approached their Primary Authority contact in East Sussex Trading Standards, together with their linked partners in Lewes & Eastbourne Environmental Health and East Sussex Fire & Rescue, to receive valuable advice and guidance on a Covid Ready scheme. 

The scheme seeks to provide businesses in Eastbourne the opportunity to use appropriate risk assessments and self-assess additional measures in place to protect customers. 

They then are able to display the Covid Ready logo. More details can be found here .

Mark Cotman, Chair of the EHA said,

 “The way all stakeholders in Eastbourne and County have been working together on this project throughout this period has been an exceptional example of collaborative working.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Ambient Support

Ambient Support is a registered UK charity providing care and support to elderly people, those with a mental health need and people with learning disabilities. 

They have a wide range of services across the Midlands and South East of England including registered care homes, supported living and domiciliary care. 

During the COVID19 pandemic ESFRS have provided Ambient with clear safety advice about hand sanitisers. 

This included the safe storage of these products away from any ignition sources, ensuring they are stored in a suitable cool dry locked cupboard which is well ventilated, and to avoid storing them on the means of escape,  with outside storage always being the best option. 

ESFRS are working in partnership with Ambient to ensure that during the pandemic they can continue to facilitate safe visits between those being cared for and their loved ones.  

This means that ESFRS have been able to provide Ambient with support and guidance around the type of structures that could be used in outside spaces, so that safe and controlled socially distanced visits can take place whatever the weather. 

Tom Harrison Director of Operations at Ambient Support said:

“‘The COVID-19 crisis has truly highlighted the benefits to us of having an effective and professional relationship with a Fire and Safety partner. 

The situation with guidance and protocols has been fast and evolving during the pandemic and ESFRS have supported us to stay alert to changes and ensure that we provide the very safest environments to those we support at all times.”

Ambient Support have a number of social media channels namely: