• 11th March 2019

In February 2019 auditing of food manufacturers began with the aim to ensure compliance with the 2018 revisions to the BRC’s Global Standards for Food Safety.

The Standards set out nine sections with which food manufacturers must comply in an effort to reduce both the estimated 420,000 deaths each year related to the consumption of contaminated food1 , as well as the cost of this contamination to UK manufacturers of £16.08bn2.

Whilst a realistic timeframe for the full implementation of a plan would be 3 to 5 years, ensuring there is evidence of implementation in the first 12 months must be demonstrated now.

So, what can you do now to support your journey to compliance?

With nine sections, delivering these Standards require significant dedication and resource.

A simple way to ascertain where there may be most call for training and changes to existing processes, which will help to inform your Food Safety Plan – HAACP, is to put in place a whistleblowing hotline.

By launching this with a strong, encouraging communication campaign employees and workers across your supply chain will quickly see the standards expected of them, that senior management is taking this seriously and that speaking up when they see something of concern is encouraged.

This single act, when it is visibly supported by senior management,  can have a huge impact on shifting an organisation’s culture which itself can be a major reason why standards slip as people focus on hitting targets, often at the detriment of the process.

Your workforce has the greatest visibility of the day to day implementation and management of your business processes, from site standards to traded products. A whistleblowing hotline is an effective way to find out early what could impact your journey to compliance.

“Producing exceptionally high quality products is a top priority for us. Having a confidential third-party operated whistleblowing hotline in place helps demonstrate our ongoing commitment to driving a food safety culture and empowering our employees.”

Safecall client – Neil Millan, Froneri

 

What are the next steps?

There are various whistleblowing providers in the market and you’ll need to identify the best fit for the needs of your organisation.  The key things to consider are:

  • What do you want your employees to report?
    • Do you know what you want to hear about?
    • What wording will you use?
    • Who will create the assets such as posters, screensavers etc.?
  • How will the reports be made?
    • Are you happy to let people remain anonymous?
    • Will your staff want to make a report on the phone, via email or online?
    • Do all of your employees speak English or will they need to make the report in another language?
  • How will you let your employees know about the whistleblowing service?
    • Where are they based – in an office, a factory, offsite?
  • Who internally will manage the reports that are raised?
    • Does your team have the capacity to deal with reports?
    • Is your team trained to deal with whistleblowers?
  • How will you let people know about the outcomes of the reports?
    • Will you communicate directly with the whistleblower?
    • Will you share outcomes with the whole business?

If you are interested in finding out more information about how a an independent whistleblowing service can support your compliance efforts contact us emma.robbins@safecall.co.uk

 

1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/food-safety
2. http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Summary-PDF-9-Nov-for-online.pdf