Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has formalised working arrangements with Shepherd Neame - Britain's oldest brewer - through a Primary Authority Scheme (PAS) partnership.
The PAS aims to cut red tape and provide consistent fire safety solutions and advice for businesses. Thanks to this new partnership, Shepherd Neame can now take a single approach to developing its fire safety plans and procedures for all its premises. The Faversham-based brewer will continue to work with the fire and rescue services local to their premises for routine safety visits to its premises, however final questions about the suitability of fire safety arrangements will be subject to discussion and moderation with KFRS.
The PAS relating to fire safety measures was introduced by the Government in 2014. It offers businesses the chance to form a legally recognised partnership with a single fire and rescue authority when formulating fire safety plans and procedures, regardless of the actual location of their premises. This enables companies to have consistent fire safety policies across all of their premises to streamline compliance management in terms of fire safety. The PAS is part of the Government’s approach to supporting business through better regulation and reducing administrative burdens.
KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: "We are delighted to have formed our first Primary Authority Scheme partnership with Shepherd Neame. This is a natural extension to the tremendous work we have already carried out together, supporting the company to develop robust and cost effective fire safety management procedures for their buildings in Kent. We look forward to continuing to develop the benefits and opportunities the PAS brings, applying these to Shepherd Neame’s whole property portfolio."
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame said: "Shepherd Neame has worked closely with Kent Fire and Rescue Service over many years to develop a pragmatic and robust approach to fire safety both at our Faversham Brewery and within our pubs and hotels across Kent. Our Primary Authority partnership formalises this working relationship and provides the framework for consistency of approach across our wider estate."
Better Regulation Delivery Office Chief Executive, Graham Russell, said: "UK businesses can now receive robust, bespoke advice from fire and rescue authorities about protecting their staff and customers that must be respected by all local regulators when carrying out inspections or addressing non-compliance. This enables businesses to invest with confidence in fire safety products, practices and procedures, knowing that there is endorsement of the resources they devote to compliance."
An example of joint working has been at the Bear public house in Faversham. Shepherd Neame has many traditional pubs in and around Kent. Whilst ensuring customer and staff safety is an important consideration for the brewer, it is also important to preserve, as far as possible, the character and features of the building. KFRS worked closely to advise and support Shepherd Neame to develop a fire safety plan for the public house. In this case, installation of a specialist sprinkler system allowed for the retention of many traditional features of the pub, whilst maintaining the safety and commercial viability of the pub as a business.