We’re pleased to announce that, from October 2017, Nielsen Brandbank is officially a Co-ordinator of a Regulated Group.

Approved by the Regulatory Delivery Directorate, and in partnership with our Primary Authority, Nielsen Brandbank can now give our customers access to legally assured advice and guidance. This Assured Advice will directly benefit food business operators and other sectors at every stage of the supply chain.

Already a member?

You can access our Assured Advice on our Members’ Page.

What is Primary Authority?

The Primary Authority scheme allows Local Authorities and businesses to form a legally recognised partnership, with a view to promoting consistent interpretation and enforcement of regulations, across the UK (see “Geographical Considerations” below).

Through Nielsen Brandbank’s partnership with our Local Authority (Cambridgeshire Trading Standards), our Co-ordinated Group can offer protection regarding the rules around online product content.

What does this mean for me?

There’s some uncertainty in the industry about how best to comply with food labelling rules online – ambiguous wording of legislation can make it easy to misinterpret the law.

Through our new Regulated Group, we will clarify advice on multiple areas of law and how it relates to online practices. 

Joining our Regulated Group offers the protection of legally assured advice when it comes to online product content. Providing your business is a member of the Group and follows the Assured Advice, you cannot be required to change your approach to matters concerning online food information by another authority.

While Nielsen Brandbank has invested time, money and energy in this initiative, this will not cost our customers a penny! We believe this is necessary for the benefit of the industry and to further improve consumer safety, consumer choice, and their overall online shopping experience.

What happens now?

You may already have been contacted by Nielsen Brandbank with information about our Regulated Group and how to access our Assured Advice. If you have received an email from us about this, your organisation is already a member and has been automatically opted-in to the Group.

Not sure if you’re a member? You can opt-in to the programme by filling out this form.

Naturally, there are T&Cs attached to membership. Please take the time to read them here.

Opting out

If, for any reason, you don’t wish for your business to be a member, please complete our opt-out form.

Membership is not mandatory – but why wouldn’t you want additional protection, for no additional cost?

What to do in the event another enforcing authority proposes to take enforcement action against you…

It is important that members of the regulated group understand what to do if they are ever contacted by an enforcing authority (other than the Co-ordinating Primary Authority) who proposes to take enforcement action against them.  

The enforcing authority, proposing to take enforcement action against a business, is only required to notify the Co-ordinating Primary Authority (who may block the action), if they are aware that the business is a member of a co-ordinated group. Do not rely on the enforcing authority finding this out for themselves.

While guidance states that the enforcing authority should ask you whether you are relying on Primary Authority advice, we recommend that you ensure you communicate this as soon as possible, and do not wait to be asked.  (21.5)

We recommend that you inform the enforcing authority that you are a ‘member of a regulated group under Primary Authority, with Cambridgeshire Trading Standards’, and keep a record of that communication.  It will also be of assistance if you were to inform either or both, the Primary Authority or the Co-ordinator (Nielsen Brandbank).

Once a Co-ordinating Primary Authority receives notification, statutory time limits apply (usually 5 days) in which time they must respond to the notification.  (21.9 & 21.10)

Further information can be found in published Statutory Guidance, available here.  For your assistance, the number references relate to the relevant paragraph of that document.

Geographical Considerations

Primary Authority is currently available in England and Wales. Coverage in Wales is not automatic and a parallel Wales Primary Authority Partnership will need to be created. This is being pursued by Nielsen Brandbank and we will advise our customers when this has been created. Primary Authority is not yet available in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

However, businesses whose main address is in a UK territory other than England but who nonetheless trade in England, may still be protected by the scheme. However, Nielsen Brandbank offers no warranty or guarantee that this will be so.

In any event, adhering to the Assured Advice in these countries, may still contribute to a business’ due diligence obligations. For this reason, Nielsen Brandbank has not restricted access to the Assured Advice for businesses across the UK.

Disclaimer

The Assured Advice of the Regulated Group is entirely owned by the Primary Authority (Cambridgeshire Trading Standards).  Brandbank Nielsen accepts no responsibility or liability for any action or inaction taken by its customers and/or members, arising from the Assured Advice or any of the content on this web page.

Nielsen Brandbank has not restricted access to the Assured Advice.  Therefore, non-members may access it but they will not be afforded any rights or protections under the Primary Authority scheme by following the advice.