Our expert Governance Board provide independent verification and validation. It comprises of C-suite Executives from industry organisations such as the HSE, the FSA, Campden BRI and Enterprise brands.

The governance board is there to ensure that the Administrator of the Scheme, operate effectively and with quality assurance controls. The board operate to set the standard in line with changes in government guidance, best practices and public opinion change. SSG is the Administrator of the scheme, and follow this Safety Charter as laid out by the Governance Board and supported by the Advisory Committee. The Governance Board is responsible for setting the framework of the Scheme and oversight of its operational performance. They will:

  • Approve the Safety Charter
  • Ensure government guidelines are applied to the scheme, including regional updates from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Promote public (consumer and employee) trust in the safety of business environments
  • Ensure that STTS is administered effectively by Shield Safety Group
  • Monitor the scheme performance
  • Identify and develop new standards in addition to COVID-19

The members of the Governance Board some of the UK's leading industry experts providing seasoned expertise and reside on many of the lobbying boards and panels to the Government; The Scheme is reviewed by the Governance Board on a monthly basis and updates to the Safety Charter are made when required. Mark Flanagan is the Chair. The Board will generally reach decisions by consensus.

Governance Board

John Barnes

John Barnes

Ex Head of Local Delivery at FSA and Former Senior Civil Servant, with extensive experience developing and delivering food safety controls

Geoffrey Podger

Geoffrey Podger

Former CEO of the HSE and FSA, Chair at NCRQ National Compliance and Risk Qualifications

Sterling Crew

Sterling Crew

An experienced food sector director who holds a portfolio of Chair and Board positions, and sits on the CIEH food expert panel

Dr John Holah

Dr John Holah

Ex Head of Food Hygiene Department at Camden BRI, and now Technical Director at Holchem Laboratories

Selverani Elahi

Selvarani Elahi

Current UK Deputy Government Chemist and Executive Director of the Food Authenticity Network at LGC. A Chartered Chemist and a Fellow of both the RSC and the IFST

Mark Falangan

Mark Flanagan

CEO & Founder of Shield Safety Group, Environmental Health Professional with over 20 years’ experience

56% of respondents were unsure or didn’t believe the government guidelines for opening food and drink venues went far enough to ensure their safety.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is responsible for providing technical advice to ensure that the self-assessment, audit standard and monitoring checks are sufficient to meet government requirements and industry best practice, when required.

  • Review changes to government guidance and identify where and how the audits and monitoring need to change
  • Identify issues that need to be escalated to the Governance Board
  • Make comment on the Safety Charter
  • Be an observer at the Governance Board meetings and contribute to discussion, when necessary

Inaugural members of the Advisory Committee include representatives from Food Standards Scotland, Milton Keynes Council and the Safe to Trade Scheme Administrator, Shield Safety Group.

Food Standards Scotland Milton Keynes Council Shield Safety

Reassuring regulators

The Safe to Trade Scheme is a one stop shop to help businesses interpret and implement COVID-19 legal and best practice requirements. It provides a clear standard for sites to work to, online and telephone support, routine monitoring and independent verification so that businesses can confidently demonstrate their COVID-19 compliance to customers, employees and regulators.

Regulated by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Safe To Trade Scheme provides nationwide Assured Advice through Shield Safety Group’s Primary Authority Coordinated Partnership with Milton Keynes Council. Members of the scheme can be confident their business is complying with the law and will receive protection from COVID-19 related enforcement action. This is very important when regulators have different views on what a business should be doing to achieve compliance.

Provided that the business follows the Assured Advice they’ve been given, they should not face enforcement action from an enforcing authority that has a different view on whether compliance is being achieved. An enforcing authority has to establish that your business hasn’t followed its Primary Authority Advice before it can take enforcement action against you. In most circumstances, the Primary Authority must be notified before enforcement action can be taken and they can block the action if it conflicts with Assured Advice.

primary authority Milton Keynes Council Department for business, energy & industrial stratergy

Who delivers the scheme?

Shield Safety Group are the UK’s leading Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety consultancy. As the largest employer of Environmental Health Practitioners in the UK, Shield Safety Group deliver world-class services, software and resources, to provide businesses with everything they need to ensure they are compliant, whilst saving them time and money.

The Group operates nationally, with 148 colleagues UK-wide and 74 based at our Manchester HQ, recently named Tech Company of the Year 2019 by Prolific North and ranked in GP Bullhound’s Northern Tech Top 100 2020.

SSG simplify the compliance process for businesses, transforming risk management & mitigation through award-winning software with over 40,000 users. Shield Safety Group has a wealth of experience providing services to those across hospitality and wider sectors with clients including Tesco, Mitchell & Butler’s and Star Pubs & Bars.

SSG’s CEO Mark Flanagan; “We’re delighted to be providing the expertise required to deliver the Scheme. Having been in this sector for 17 years, we have a real passion for safety for the consumer and for the businesses and are determined to play our part in bringing the industry back and in a better place going forward.”


Performance Reporting will be provided to the Advisory Committee and Governance Board members 48 hours prior to the Governance Board meeting. The report will include the following information:

  • Number of business on the Safe to Trade Scheme register year to date
  • Number of new business registered, per month
  • Number of advice line queries per month and year to date
  • Common advice line queries per month and year to date
  • Number of ratings completed per month and year to date
  • Average ratings score per month and year to date
  • Analysis of the ratings feedback per month and year to date
  • QA rating for each auditor
  • Number and type of member complaints per month and year to date. Plus, any specific complaint details required
  • Number of audit appeals per month and year to date
  • Number and type of enforcement challenges per month and year to date. Plus, any specific details required, including any RIDDOR cases