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Regulatory advice for food, hospitality and retail businesses

Provided by Better Business for All

Does your kitchen meet health, safety and food hygiene regulations? Would your food preparation processes and premises pass a government inspection?

What we do

Better Business for All (BBfA) is a consortium of the seven councils in the North East Local Enterprise Area, the Fire Service and the Federation of Small Business.

We work with a variety of local food, hospitality and retail businesses to help you understand and untangle any regulatory concerns you may have, without the fear of repercussions.

We've assisted over 15,700 businesses, from bars and cafes improving their hygiene rating to offering advice about novel foods to restaurants.   

We aim to help businesses flourish, establish or maintain their excellent reputations, and be compliant with government regulations. We're proud to offer free*, confidential and solution-focused advice to businesses who are:

  • Starting up
  • Experiencing problems
  • Considering expansion or relocation to new premises or areas
  • Thinking about introducing new products, lines or even methods of production

Let us help with becoming compliant so that you can focus on growing your business. We'll show you how you can overcome the regulatory barriers and be there when you need a hand. 

Watch our video and read on below for more details on the support we offer and don't hesitate to get in touch if we can help in anyway. 

*Durham County Council offer a free advice signposting service only. Other advice services may incur a charge or fee. 

Breaching government regulations can be considered a criminal offence and result in a fine or even imprisonment. Save your time, money and reputation by ensuring you're compliant throughout your systems and procedures. We're happy to help you:

  • Establish your food safety management system - we have experience in everything from SFBB to more complex HACCP systems.
  • Comply with food allergen restricitions such as assisting you with labelling, information and even control requirements. We can also help with health and nutrition claims and traceability. 
  • Understand and comply with specific food processing matters (depending on the complexity of the business) including pasteurisation, cook-chill, sous vide, cheesemaking etc. 
  • Follow food sampling rules and microbiological sampling techniques and understand the significance of your results. 
  • Become compliant with other services such as health & safety, water sampling, refuse and waste management, planning consent, licensing issues and trading standards. We'll sign post you to who's best to speak to about these topics.   
  • Provide advice on fire safety, without prejudice to Building Regulations and your Fire Risk Assessment. We can can assist you in making your premises safe from fire for the protection of people and your business. 

Many customers choose where to eat out or shop for food based on information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops. The rating gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. Having a high score promotes confidence in your businesses and that you care about the standards used to prepare and serve your food. We can help you understand and give advice on how to improve your rating. 


Seeking business advice can be difficult. First of all, how do you find the right person or body to ask when there are so many? And how do you make time to track them down when your diary is already jam-packed?

We offer a consortium of industry experts who are pleased to offer, confidential, bespoke business advice on topics such as: 

  • Food safety practices and procedures (for example, tempature control requirements, and how the business could meet guidelines to contorl the risk of E-coli cross contamination where appropriate
  • Import advice
  • Issue of health export certificates
  • The use of food additives and novel foods
  • Statutory Partnership - we issue 'assured' advice, develop an inspection plan and coordinate enquiries from other Local Authorities (this is available to all businesses including pre-start up's) 
  • Structural standards, facilities, equipment and the layout and design of food establishments 
  • Food processing matters

Businesses tell us about their experience of working with BBfA.


Blink Cosmetic Solutions

Environmental Health Officers in Durham gave Sandra Stephenson from Blink Cosmetic Solutions, initial set-up advice for her first premises in February 2014. Since opening, Sandra has since outgrown her premises and has registered two further premises, one in Chester-le-Street and one in Ferryhill.

Sandra said, “The advice that Environmental Health officers have given me over the years has been invaluable, especially when I first started the business. It’s helped me to grow my company safely.”

Hear more about what Sandra had to say about her BBfA experience in our short video.


Biddick Hall Spice

South Tyneside Council is supporting local food outlets to provide clearer nutritional information on dishes as part of a project to encourage healthier eating and support business growth.


Food outlets across the country are increasingly offering consumers more choice when it comes to healthy food options. Many food businesses see it as an important growth opportunity as people increasingly seek out healthier options, particularly in the fast food sector.


Working with local Bangladeshi food businesses with a Food Hygiene Risk Rating above four, venues were invited to take part in training and use industry accredited food software system ‘Nutricalc’ to review current menu choices and identify baseline information on calorie, fat, salt and sugar content.


Environmental Health in South Tyneside, working alongside Public Health colleagues, supported participating venues to modify dishes - where possible - to improve nutritional content without spoiling flavour, texture and appearance.  


Biddick Hall Spice, a small Indian takeaway in South Tyneside, was one of the businesses that took part in the project. Portion size was seen to be an important factor in improving the nutritional value of its meals. Owner Moynul Hussain said: “Simple changes were made. We halved the size of the rice portion and used a medium sized container to reduce the portion size of the mains dish to 300g.”


Changes were also made to some of the meal ingredients. Moynul continued: “The new dishes taste less buttery but the overall flavour is not lost.”


South Tyneside Council Environmental Health invested £2,100 in the ‘Nutricalc’ software and worked with three businesses in the first phase of the campaign. Each business paid £200 to take part.


Biddick Hall Spice developed a calorie counted menu that is available alongside existing menus. It’s hoped the new menu will encourage new customers and support existing costumers to consider healthier options.


For more information, please contact Kevin Longstaff, Technical Officer (Food Safety), Environmental Health and Resilience, South Tyneside Council, on [email protected].

 The North East Better Business for all Partnership commits to:

  • Encouraging local economic growth by helping businesses to comply with their legal requirements and best practice in the most cost effective way
  • Making it easy for businesses to get the right advice so they can plan with confidence
  • Explaining the reason for each visit to businesses
  • Carrying out regulatory activity in a fair, helpful transparent, proportionate and consistent way 
  • Co-ordinating services, as much as possible, to minimise unnecessary overlaps and duplication
  • Consulting with businesses and local business groups, when developing policies, plans and service standards
  • Promoting Better Business for All with businesses, consumers and regulators

Local businesses can become involved by:

  • Accessing and using our services
  • Encouraging other businesses to contact and seek advice from the North East BBfA partners
  • Helping us to promote the partnership and sharing when they feel an improvement has been made to their business by engaging with the North East BBfA partnership
  • Providing feedback and opinions on how we can support and encourage improvements to their regulatory systems.

Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to regulation in your local authority area or would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact us on [email protected]. We'll put you in touch with the local regulator best placed to deal with your enquiry. You can view our regulators below.

Debbie Butters

For all regulatory enquiries including Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing

Peter Wright

For all environmental health and community safety queries

Andrew Stephenson

For help with trading standards

Stuart Wright

For regulation enquiries in the South Tyneside area

Frances McClen

For help with regulations regarding environmental health

Ed Foster

For general support with regulations affecting the food industry

David Sayer

For general support with regulations affecting the food industry

Ian Bell

For all matters regarding fire safety and regulations

Tagged under BBFA