What is a Primary Authority?
A Primary Authority Partnership is a legal partnership between a local authority and a business or group of businesses represented by an organisation such as the ADB. The purpose of a PAP is to ensure consistency across a number of different Local Authorities enforcing the same regulations. In our case the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England 2018.
What does this mean for me?
Members will still be inspected by their own local authority, however, if a member believes that the inspector has misunderstood the guidance we can ask for ‘assured advice’ from the Primary Authority. For example, your inspector tells you each of your own dogs needs an individual room, you can tell us and we can approach the PA who will then contact them to explain the mistake they have made. providing the inspector has mis-interpreted the regulations.
This means that there will be no room for additional conditions being enforced on members. Your own local authority must abide by the decision/advice given by the Primary Authority. This assured advice also becomes statutory guidance and all Local Authorities should abide by it. Any assured advice given is published on a website that the Local Authorities have access to.
It is the responsibility of the LA to check what assured advice has been given.
What is the process?
In the first instance members will contact the Association to let us know the issue. We will then pass this to the Primary Authority. Usually the Primary Authority will call or email the Local Authority in question to try and clarify things. If the Local Authority won’t take the in formal advice they are given in this first instance then the Primary Authority will issue ‘assured advice’ and the Local Authority have to implement it. The Local Authority can take the Primary Authority to court if they still disagree with their decision, but this is rare. The length of time for the Primary Authority to contact the Local Authority will vary depending on work levels but initial contact should be made within 5 working days.
What if I don’t agree with the ‘assured advice’ given?
Assured advice is issued based on current laws and relevant case law. In our case it will be issues around the guidance. Once assured advice is issued it must be abided by.
Will my Local Authority know that it was me who contacted the Association?
No, we do not need to disclose who contacted us, however if it is a specific issue with one boarder the local authority may well be aware who has contacted us. This should not affect the way you are treated by your local authority.
What if I want to stick with my own inspector?
Being part of the Primary Authority is a free benefit for all members, but you will have the option to opt out if you’d prefer to continue with your own Local Authority inspector. You can opt out or in at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Opting out does not mean you lose your support from the Association. We will continue to support you with any issues you may have.
Does it cost anything?
There is no cost to members, it is part of your membership fee. Primary Authorities do charge a minimal amount for issuing assured advice, but this is rare as a more informal approach is favoured. The Primary Authority is not allowed to make a profit. Any costs will be borne by the Association.
What happens now?
In the next few days all members will be contacted electronically to ask if they would like to opt in to the Primary Authority.