What is Primary Authority?

At Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards we understand the risks that businesses face. In particular, having another enforcement authority challenge you (even though you think you have done the right thing) can be worrying, costly and damaging to your public image.

The Primary Authority Scheme addresses these concerns by giving a statutory status to advice received from a local authority partner. Provided the business is in partnership with that authority and has followed the advice, the law now prevents other authorities from challenging that business and sets out a specific route for challenging the advice.

  • So, if for example you sell garden equipment and receive "assured advice" that a particular hedge cutter is not subject to age restrictions, you know you won't face enforcement action from other authorities who decide to try and "test purchase" these items using a child.
  • In the same way, if you are manufacturing toys or cosmetics, you can receive assured advice on the processes that you use. That way, if another enforcement authority challenges these processes you will have the assurance that you won't need to spend time and money changing them because the processes will have been "assured" by us.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards offer an award winning Primary Authority (PA) service across Trading Standards, Environmental Health and fire safety legislation. Your business doesn't need to be based in Buckinghamshire or Surrey to enter into a partnership with us.

We have extensive experience in offering both 'direct' and 'co-ordinated' PA partnerships, (which extend participation to businesses in trade associations and franchisees). Our PA partners include both large and small businesses including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Shell, Esso, British Gas, Waitrose, Toyota and the Association of Convenience Stores.

Partnerships must complete a formal nomination process and are approved by the Government which can take a few weeks to complete.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey offer a range of partnership models to suit your needs. Please see our webpage: Fees, timescales and payments for business advice for more information.


Primary Authority Partnerships with Buckinghamshire and Surrey trading standards have:

  • Helped businesses manage relationships with local authorities across the UK
  • Simplified regulatory processes and reduce the cost of compliance.
  • Delivered significant financial savings
  • Helped to reduce the risk pf non-compliance for a business and ultimately ensured it is both profitable and productive.
  • A guaranteed level of service and support.
  • Access to other sources of helpful information.

Other potential benefits of Primary Authority are:

  • Financial savings – the Government estimates that UK businesses could save £48 million per year through PA (source Regulatory Delivery).
  • Improved standards.
  • Fewer inspections, information requests, and checks on your business nationally.

Contact us

  • Telephone: 0300 123 2329
  • Email: business.advice@surreycc.gov.uk
  • Textphone (via Text Relay): 18001 0808 223 1133
  • SMS: 07860 053465