Posted in Business, News on 21 July, 2020

Selvarani Elahi, the UK Deputy Government Chemist and Executive Director of the Food Authenticity Network at LGC has joined the Governing Board of the UK hospitality industry’s Safe to Trade Scheme – a nationwide, independently-verified COVID-19 safety standard that supports hospitality businesses in becoming COVID compliant.

A Chartered Chemist, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology with over 25 years’ experience, Selvarani works across a variety of policy areas, with different stakeholder groups, to improve standards in measurement science. She is also chair of UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Authenticity Methods Working Group and has successfully delivered numerous complex projects for the UK government, the European Commission and the private sector.

Selvarani joins a team of top-ranking food safety industry experts, on the Safe to Trade Scheme’s governance board, which also includes John Barnes, the ex-Head of Local Delivery at Food Standards Agency; Geoffrey Podger, the former CEO of the Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency; Dr John Holah, Technical Director at Holchem and the ex-Head of Food Hygiene Department at Campden BRI; Sterling Crew, the ex-Technical Director at manufacturers Peter Black and Kolak Snack Foods and Mark Flanagan, CEO of Shield Safety Group (SSG).

The Scheme aims to get businesses up and running fast in the new normal, while auditing performance and visibly reassuring customers, with an accreditation, that they comply. Through the provision of remote audits, risk assessments, e-learning and an advice line, the Scheme helps hospitality venues to put in place the robust safety practices that consumers want to see, and works with outlets to ensure that their premises and teams are not only COVID compliant but go beyond the guidelines in a credible and measured way. 

The Safe to Trade governance board provides independent verification and validation. It comprises of C-suite Executives from industry organisations such as the HSE, the FSA, Camden BRI and Enterprise brands and is there to ensure that the Administrators of the Scheme, operate effectively and with quality assurance controls.

The Governance Board is responsible for setting the framework of the Safe to Trade Scheme and has oversight of its operational performance. Its role includes: approval of the Scheme’s Safety Charter; ensuring that government guidelines are applied to the Scheme; promoting public (consumer and employee) trust in the safety of business environments; ensuring that the Scheme is administered effectively by Shield Safety Group; monitoring the Scheme’s performance and identifying and developing new standards in addition to COVID-19.

Chair of the Safe to Trade Scheme’s Governance Board and CEO of Shield Safety Group, Mark Flanagan, comments: “We’re delighted Selvarani has joined the Safe to Trade Scheme board. Her years of experience working with UK government will ensure that the Scheme continues to provide members with best practice advice that is completely in step with UK government Covid-19 guidelines.”

Commentating on her appointment to the board Selvarani said: “Managing the spread of the Covid-19 virus and restoring consumer confidence in the hospitality industry are two of the core principles at the heart of the Safe to Trade Scheme. I hope that by adding my experience and knowledge to the governance of the Scheme I can help the UK’s hospitality industry to get back on its feet, both safely and quickly.”

The Safe to Trade Scheme is underpinned by an industry-led safety charter that not only helps the UK hospitality to trade safely but also aims to supercharge consumer confidence. It enables a safe reopening, with ongoing COVID-19 checks and monitoring, allowing a business to demonstrate a commitment to trading safely, while encouraging customers and staff to independently feedback on safety performance.  

The Scheme has been designed with the visibility of venue compliance in mind and, as well as providing window stickers and certificates, it delivers a searchable database of compliant members. Once a venue achieves approved status it is listed on the public register, and its ongoing performance is then monitored and kept up-to-date via anonymous customer and employee feedback on the Safe to Trade Scheme website.

The public register creates a unique feedback and ratings loop that encourages outlets to adjust and adapt their practices to ensure that their business stays compliant while continuing to thrive. It can also be provided to regulators to assist with the requirement to risk rate businesses for official visits and manage their focus on non-compliant businesses. 

Since launching in May, hundreds of venues have already signed up to the Scheme, with many more joining on a weekly basis. These include Showcase Cinemas, Malmaison, Hotel Du Vin, Amaris Group, Flight Club and Handpicked Hotels.


To find out more about the Safe to Trade Scheme visit:

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