Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future of food regulation - adapting to COVID-19, local regulation and enforcement, food standards, and the future of the regulatory system

Morning, Tuesday, 8th September 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine key issues for the future of food regulation.

It is bringing together stakeholders with policy officials to consider:

  • options for future regulatory systems in the UK - including the impact of future trade deals, and adapting and responding to COVID-19 at a national and local level
  • the way forward more widely for local regulation and enforcement
  • the Food Standards Agency’s Regulating our Future programme - aimed at creating a more modern, flexible, and responsive regulatory system
  • what more can be done to support local authorities and cater to an evolving and increasingly diverse and innovative sector

We also expect discussion on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its wider impact on the regulatory landscape.

The discussion in detail:

Developing the regulatory system - accounting for risk, accessibility for stakeholders, and enabling early intervention

  • practicalities of moving towards a risk-based approach
  • the potential role for data such as the FSA’s ‘risk engine’ - segmenting businesses upon registration, with regulatory controls tailored to suit the specific food safety risk presented
  • what more can be done to scale up online registration and overcome some of the issues faced by business, including producing evidence of compliance
  • how technology and data analytics can help meet future challenges and alert regulators to possible areas of concern

Financial sustainability of the regulatory system

  • development of a long term funding model
  • widening cross-government support
  • the implications of passing the costs to businesses

Enforcement at a local level

  • development of further Primary Authority National Inspection Strategies - following the initial pathfinder programmes, such as in Wakefield Council
  • ensuring local authorities are able to prioritise their focus on poorly performing businesses
  • the COVID-19 response - and lessons that have been learned and can be carried forward
  • what more can be done to support local authorities and cater to an evolving and increasingly diverse and innovative sector

Trading relationships and the future of regulation

  • priorities for maintaining UK port health standards and customs checks
  • the impact of possible regulatory changes on the relationship between the UK and the countries it trades with
  • opportunities for cross-border collaboration and regulatory cooperation across the UK
  • how technology and the use of data can be utilised to meet future challenges and alert regulators to possible areas of concern

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:


International trade, and food and environmental standards

  • the Government’s position that the UK would reject any regulatory alignment with the EU in future trade talks, confirmed by the Prime Minister
  • future trade deals not being allowed to jeopardise UK food standards, confirmed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • the recently passed Agriculture Bill missed the opportunity to guarantee food standards after Brexit, according to the NFU
  • DIT and Defra announcing additional support for the food industry that includes plans to increase trading opportunities with markets such as Japan, the US, New Zealand and Australia

Food safety and regulatory reform, with:

  • the NAO publishing its Ensuring food safety and standards report, which raised some concerns including regarding the future financial sustainability of the regulatory system
  • Defra’s announcement that Smarter rules for safer food (SRSF) regulations will continue to apply to the UK
  • Defra opening a consultation to consider new strategies and regulations with intent to create a fairer supply chain and protect dairy farmers
  • the FSA’s Risk Analysis report, outlining the revised process of science and evidence-based risk analysis they will use to authorise regulated products, assess the health risks of genetically modified foods, and evaluate issues relating to food production following the post-EU transition period

The agenda:

  • Implementing new regulatory systems, responding to the pandemic, and preparing for future trading relationships - with Paul Morrison, Director of Strategy, Communications and Governance, FSA
  • Ensuring value for money in food safety and standards - with Charles Nancarrow, Director, Trade and Regulation, National Audit Office
  • Key issues for food regulation and enforcement at a local level - adapting to COVID-19, supporting local authorities and food businesses, and ensuring safety
  • Cross border collaboration and regulatory cooperation - with Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association
  • Priorities for the regulatory system - supporting consumers and food businesses adapting their offering through the pandemic, food standards, and the impact of future trading relationship options

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament, and officials from Defra; DHSC; the Food Standards Agency; the National Food Crime Unit; the National Audit Office; the Department for International Trade; DFID; Crown Commercial Services; the Department of Agriculture and the Marine, ROI; the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs - Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Michael Bell

Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association

Charles Nancarrow

Director, Trade and Regulation, National Audit Office

Paul Morrison

Director of Strategy, Communications and Governance, Food Standards Agency


Rt Hon the Lord Whitty

Member, House of Lords Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering

Member, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee


Sara Walton

Sector Lead, Food, BSI (British Standards Institution)

Sue Davies

Head of Consumer Protection and Food Policy, Which?

Helen Munday

Chief Scientific Officer, Food and Drink Federation

Dr Emily Lydgate

Senior Lecturer, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex

Matthew Rymer

Founding Director, Happerley

Kate Nicholls

Chief Executive, UKHospitality

Ian Andrews

Head of Trading Standards, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Jon Averns

Director of Markets and Consumer Protection, City of London

David Travers QC

Barrister, Six Pump Court