Raymond Blanc's high street restaurant chain Brasserie Blanc has become the first hospitality operator to sign up to a government programme allowing businesses with multiple sites to work with just one local authority.
The Primary Authority (PA) scheme allows operators with outlets in more than two local authority areas to deal with one elected local council for all of its sites' health and safety and food hygiene issues.
Designed to provide businesses with consistent regulatory advice from a single source regarding environmental health, trading standards and licensing services, the programme could save industry up to £50m a year, according to Government estimates.
While members of a local council will still be able to visit restaurants to carry out health and safety and food hygiene checks, they will need to notify the company's elected local authority prior to these and consult with the PA on any specific issues.
"If you have premises in different areas, your head office may end up being contacted by lots of different local authorities," a spokeswoman for the PA said.
"Under this scheme, the authorities go to the PA first who will deal with you direct. It cuts out companies having to field all those calls from different areas about the same thing."
Brasserie Blanc managing director, John Lederer, added: "It's wonderful that we have one authority which can efficiently ensure all our brasseries are run to the same high standards."
By Kerstin Kühn
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