This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 81.1.1 Documented policy
1.1.3 Food safety and quality objectives
1.1.8 Technical knowledge and information
BRCGS Packaging Issue 61.1.1 Product safety and quality management policy
1.1.3 Setting objectives and targets
1.1.5 Information system
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 31.1.1 Documented policy
1.1.3 Product safety, authenticity, legality and quality objectives
1.1.7 Technical knowledge and information
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 41.1.1 Quality policy
1.1.4 Objectives
1.3.4 Information
12.1.1 eCommerce information
FSSC22000 Version 5.1ISO 5.1a, 5.1b and 5.1d Leadership and commitment
5.2 Policy
IFS Food Version 71.1 Policy
1.2.5 Information sources
1.3 Customer focus
SQF Edition Policy

Your solutions for business planning compliance

We have everything you need to be compliant to BRCGS for business planning, choose from:

We would recommend the eDocs and the super course – then you’ve got everything you need to comply with section 1 (including business planning) with ease!

The requirements

Information gathering and review

The business must be able to demonstrate that it’s identified the relevant legislation and business requirements, to which it must comply.

The scope of this information must include legislation relevant to the location where the:

  • Material is handled.
  • Material is sold to the consumer (if known).

The business must have systems in place to ensure that the information sources it uses, is kept up to date.

Records must be kept of:

  • Systematic and regular checks of the information sources for updates.
  • The review, where new or updated information is identified.

Where the information sources are received and reviewed in one central place, such as a hub or head office, there must be a system to ensure that the resulting actions, are communicated out to each relevant location.

Commitment (quality) policy

 There must be a documented commitment policy in place. This policy needs to include the sites commitments to:

  • Supplying materials and services that are safe, legal, authentic and to the agreed quality.
  • The business’ responsibility to its customers.
  • Continuous improvement.

The policy must be authorised; signed and dated by the person with overall responsibility for the business location. Where the policy is a group or business-wide policy it must be countersigned by the local management to endorse it.

The policy must be effectively communicated to all staff.

The policy must be reviewed at a set frequency and when there are changes to the way that the site is managed. The review must be documented.

Business plan

In line with the commitments made on the policy, the business must develop a business plan. The business plan must include objectives, which maintain and improve product safety, legality, authenticity and quality.

The business plan must have:

  • Defined objectives.
  • SMART actions.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with targets, to measure success.

Relevant aspects of the business plan must be communicated to the staff who are responsible for them. Where the plan is developed centrally, it must be owned locally.

The 3 key aspects to business planning

There are 3 main aspects required by the Standards, which are: 

  1. Information gathering and review. 
  2. Commitment (quality) policy. 
  3. Business plan. 

business planning mini trainingThis is an extract from the mini training for business planning. In just an hour you can learn how to meet the BRCGS requirements AND build a plan which will add value to your business.  

Information gathering and review

information gatheringIt may seem obvious, but in order to implement a management system that meets the standard, your customers requirements and the law – you need to have decided what standard you’re going to work to, and then understand:

  • What you need to do to comply.
  • Your customer’s expectations, and their codes of practice.
  • The legislation the product must comply with, and what it means.

The legislation specified in the list, must cover both the country of manufacture and, where the product is intended to be sold or used.

This list is the beginning of everything you do in the management system, to make sure it complies. That’s why it must be kept up-to-date and relevant staff need to be informed of the changes, including changes to:

  • The documents themselves (industry codes of practice, legislation, customer codes of practice and the standard).
  • Scientific and technical developments.
  • New risks from horizon scanning, about the authenticity or security of materials.

Where information is received at one central place, such as a hub or head office, there must be a system in place to ensure that it’s passed to all relevant staff in all business locations.

To receive this information isn’t enough on its own. To make it really add value, there needs to be a system which:

  • Ensures information is automatically fed in, for example using email alerts.
  • Checks for changes.

There must be evidence to prove this is happening and that the information is being reviewed and communicated into actions where it’s necessary.

To prove that you’re using the information you’ve listed, you also need a copy of it – which is why you need to have a copy of the most up-to-date Standard (e.g. BRCGS). Make sure you check through your other documents and that you have the most up-to-date versions of those too. And don’t just file them – make sure what’s in them is understood and implemented.

Keeping up-to-date with all the changes to the standard, legislation and customer codes of practice is no easy task. The BRCGS issue position statements when they want to add something into the requirements, or if they want to amend something. These aren’t clearly communicated, so you have to go looking for them. And unfortunately, BRCGS don’t put them in one easy-to-find place (they tend to buried in Participate somewhere or on their website).

We have a page for each BRCGS standard on our website, so you can find the most up-to-date ones and we’ll email you when they’re updated if you’re signed up to of Smart Knowledge:

Commitment (quality) policy

Quality PolicyThere must be a documented policy in place. This policy needs to include the management’s commitments regarding:

  • The processing of products that are safe, legal and authentic and produced to the specified quality.
  • The business’ responsibility to its customers.

The policy must be authorised, so it must be signed and dated by the person with overall responsibility for the business. Where the policy is written by group and therefore signed by group, it still needs to be countersigned by management at the operating location. This is to prove that the business has taken ownership of it.

The policy also needs to be reviewed, then signed again and dated, to prove that this has been done. Depending on which standard you work to, depends on how often this must be done. Where you make changes, you need to have a record of this as well – like you would with any other document in your management system.

BRCGS Food Safety and BRCGS Agents & Brokers – doesn’t actually specify when, but it’s ‘expected’ that it’s annually. The standard actually says that it must be updated when there are significant changes to management or the way the management system is run.

BRCGS Packaging – states it must be reviewed every year.

BRCGS Storage & Distribution – says every 2 years.

And then, the policy must be effectively communicated to all staff – which means you either need to include it in training, or put it somewhere that staff can see it.

The purpose of business planning

The purpose of business planning is to drive business growth and meet the expectations of the customer.  

business planning mini trainingIn the mini training for business planning, you’ll learn how management can define: 

  • What they’re trying to achieve through the objectives.  
  • How they’re going to achieve it, by applying  actions.  
  • How they’re going to measure success using KPIs. 

Business plan and objectives

In order to comply with the quality policy and the list of sources specified; the business senior management must have clear objectives that are defined in order to maintain and improve the safety, legality, authenticity and quality of the products produced.

The objectives must be:

  • Documented and include targets or how they’ll be measured.
  • Clearly communicated to relevant staff.
  • Monitored and the results reported at a set frequency to senior management, or each operating location if working as part of a group.

The set frequency of reporting the information to management depends on the standard that you’re working to:

  • BRCGS Food and BRCGS Storage & Distribution: at least quarterly.
  • BRCGS Agents & Brokers: at least every 6 months.
  • BRCGS Packaging: it only specifies a set frequency, so you’d need to assume it’s annually at least.

Independent businesses or those which are part of a large group are able to adopt business-wide objectives, but they must be implemented, monitored and reviewed at each operating location – to make sure that they’re accepted and owned.

SMART actions

To comply with BRCGS standards, we need to build the actions to achieve the business objectives, following the SMART principle. SMART stands for: business planning mini training

  • Specific. 
  • Measurable. 
  • Assigned. 
  • Realistic. 
  • Timebound. 

The mini training for business planning provides a simple formula to map out your business objectives and SMART actions.  

Imagine having a business plan which is fully aligned to the requirements of the standard. Where you don’t need objectives just to tick the box and get you through the audit. The business planning mini training will teach you how to combine your objectives to meet BRCGS with your business plan. The business planning mni training is designed for every member of your management team to complete – so the building and implementing of the business plan is a team effort. 

Your next steps

To make your life as simple as possible, we would recommend you complete the senior management commitment super course and use the senior management commitment eDocs. The eLearning and eDocs contain everything you need to comply wiht BRCGS section 1 for senior management commitment, including how to develop a business plan.

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