Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules, OJ L 165, 30.4.2004 (Regulation 882/2004/EC) sets out a number of over-arching requirements for the operation of control systems, including, in Article 8(3), on control and verification procedures.
Official controls must be carried out uniformly, and must be of consistently high quality. In order to ensure this, they must
- a) be carried out in accordance with documented procedures,
- b) Member States (MS) must have procedures in place to verify that they are effective, and to correct them where shortcomings are identified, including the updating of control procedures and/or documentation.
The “verification” requirement features as an issue in almost all FVO reports, across all Member States and candidate countries, although, it would appear, more often than not in terms of “verification of compliance with planned arrangements” rather than “verification of effectiveness of official controls”.
In order to rationalize and simplify the overall legislative framework, whilst simultaneously pursuing the objective of better regulation, European Commission develop a working document (Brussels, 6.5.2013 COM(2013) 265 final 2013/0140 (COD). The proposal integrates the rules currently applicable to official controls in specific areas currently governed by separate sets of rules into the framework of the Regulation.
What is in place:
The Systems Audits (SA) – Verification of Effectiveness performed by the FVO within the Member States and candidate countries.
The purposes of the SA are to:
- examine the operation of selected “horizontal” control system elements across the EU
- identify good practice as well as difficulties encountered in their implementation
- promote and contribute to a coherent EU-wide approach towards systems aspects of official
- controls, without imposing excessive burden on Member States
- contribute to a systems-based approach to FVO audits
- further expand the FVO’s specific Member States knowledge base, thus providing useful
- additional input into the prioritization process for audits by the FVO;
- provide useful background information to other FVO audit teams on the overall progress madeby the Member state in the operation of the selected control system elements
The SA model consists of an initial phase of desk analysis (including review of Multi-Annual National Control Plans, Member State Annual Reports, FVO reports and Country Profiles, and other relevant information), followed by a short and targeted series of audits of a sample of Member States for each selected topic, with a view to drawing valid general conclusions and, where appropriate, to issue recommendations which are relevant to all Member States.
The reports from SA are available on the European Commission webpage
Future actions by the RAWC:
- To evaluate the systems put in place to implement article 8(3), on control and verification procedures, of Regulation 882/2004/EC
- To develop a template for procedures for the purposes of verification of effectiveness of official controls, as required by Article 8(3) of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004.
- Тo elaborate measurable targets and/or indicators for qualitative and quantitative assessments of the procedures implemented within the countries.
- To perform a training for competent authority control staff of EU Member States and candidate countries responsible for verifying compliance with EU rules.