Primary Authority helps SA Brain & Co with Food Safety

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Local authority team working with the business team

The Food Safety team in Monmouthshire’s Environmental Health department worked with the Food Team of SA Brain & Co to begin a root and branch review of its Food Safety Management system in order to provide an accessible, practical system for house managers and chefs. Joint training sessions were held between Monmouthshire County Council and the business to roll out the implementation of the new policy, as well as to encourage feedback from in-house staff on the implementation of the system.

Reviewing inspection reports

Monmouthshire Environmental Health Officers review each inspection report received by the business following enforcement visits to its premises. The feedback from officers via these reports is seen by the partnership as a valuable reflection of the effectiveness of the new food safety policy. Comments from enforcement officers are discussed at regular meeting between the business and Monmouthshire and have been used in reviews of the policy.

In-house Health and Safety advisor working with Monmouthshire CC

SA Brain & Co employs an in-house Health and Safety advisor to carry out risk assessments and policy reviews for the company. In addition, Monmouthshire advises the business on Health and Safety enforcement issues. National Health and Safety initiatives have been used by the business to steer Health and Safety work and joint visits have been carried out with Monmouthshire Environmental Health Officers on areas relating to gas safety in kitchen and cellar safety.

Advice issued as part of the Primary Authority partnership

The reviewed Food Safety Management System is published on the Primary Authority website for enforcement authorities to assess before they carry out inspections. Monmouthshire welcomes queries and comments on the system which in turn feed into the annual review. Inspection reports are reviewed by Monmouthshire and enforcement issues discussed in the regular meetings held between the company and the local authority. The reviewed Food Safety Policy is published on the Primary Authority website for enforcement officers to access.

Introducing technology into food safety audits

In 2018 the annual review saw the business exploring how it could embrace technology to improve its standards and scores and it took the decision to introduce iAuditor. This tool has allowed it to increase and control its food safety audits as well as utilise photographic evidence. Pub teams and managers complete actions in real time by closing them down digitally.

OPSS Innovation and Technical Award

In June 2019 SA Brain & Co was the overall winner in the Innovation and Technical category at the Regulatory Excellence Awards organised by the Office for Product Safety and Standards. SA Brain & Co believes it now has the right balance between Primary Authority partnership input, technology, training and coaching and auditing to enable it to achieve its aims.


By introducing this system, it has managed to increase the number of its 220 pubs with a Food Hygiene Rating Score of 5 to 71 pubs in 2019 from 59 (Feb 2018) whilst maintaining combined 4s and 5s at 96.5% (compared with 63% in 2013-14).

Next steps

It is continuing to work hard at getting that score to 100% as well as striving to gain the maximum of 5 in every one of its pubs.

About SA Brain & Co

SA Brain & Co Ltd is a regional brewery founded in 1882 in Cardiff, Wales, by Samuel Arthur Brain. The company controls more than 250 pubs in South Wales (particularly in Cardiff), Mid Wales and the West Country. It has been in a direct Primary Authority partnership with Monmouthshire County Council since 2014.

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