What is the purpose of the ‘British Game’ Assurance Scheme?

The purpose of the BGA Shoot Standards is to provide assurance to consumers about the marketing of game and ethical issues relating to game production. This will provide confidence to consumers in the provenance of their food and help the BGA achieve its objective to increase the consumption of game meat.

What benefits will this offer me/the sector?

Increasing consumer confidence in the ethical production of game and increasing its consumption will add value to the whole sector from both a reputational and economic perspective.

Individual Scheme members who participate and are approved under the Scheme rules will be able to showcase they are operating to best practice and proactively market their Scheme membership through use of the BGA’s ‘British Game’ logo; demonstrating that they operate their business with integrity; increase the value of their shot game; and finally can provide confidence to consumers that the game they sell is safe to eat and produced from animals that have been reared to a high standard.

Who should consider joining?

The BGA was set up to encompass all shoots of all sizes, so as to create a united self-regulating industry from top to bottom.

Is it possible to have more than one shoot under one membership?

Each individual shoot must hold its own membership.

What is the cost to join?

The cost to join varies, depending on the size of your shoot.  The brackets are as follows:

0-1,000 Annual Bag: £100pa + VAT

1,000-3,000 Annual Bag: £250pa + VAT

3,000-10,000 Annual Bag: £500pa + VAT

10,000+ Annual Bag: £1000pa + VAT

What do the Scheme standards require?

The scheme’s Shoot Standards have been drawn down from the Code of Good Shooting Practice with relevance to game marketing and consumer confidence, shoots are expected to follow these standards. The standards require participants to demonstrate compliance with best practice around:

  • environmental management of their shoot
  • health and welfare management of birds during rearing and release
  • appropriate use of medication
  • humane shooting and dispatch of birds
  • food-safe handling of game meat
  • proactive game meat marketing plans
  • record keeping and traceability

Who sets the Scheme standards?

The scheme Shoot Standards have been developed in house by the BGA. They have been developed in consultation with shoot operators, NGO’s, game dealer’s retailers and consumers as well as our chosen independent scheme auditors. This means that input has come from representatives of the food supply world, the shooting and game rearing industry, the veterinary world and from professionals who provide oversight for other food assurance schemes, as well as other areas. We are always looking to further the robustness of our scheme so please let us know if you think there is an area which can be improved upon.

How do you check that participants are meeting the Standards?

As with all recognised quality assurance schemes the BGA has contracted an industry specialist, Lloyd’s Registers (Acoura), to provide independent oversight of the scheme operation and members’ compliance with Scheme standards. Lloyd’s Register will do this by establishing robust Scheme governance processes and protocols; undertaking site assessments of 25% participants each year; and conducting detailed audits and investigations of any Scheme members where substantive formal complaints are raised in regard to any shoot.

In addition Lloyd’s Registers will independently collect and submit samples of game meat for testing of inappropriate use of veterinary medicines.

Who are Lloyd’s Registers (Acoura)?

Lloyd’s Register started out in 1760 as a marine classification society. Today, it’s one of the world’s leading providers of professional services for engineering and technology – improving safety for clients in over 75 countries worldwide. The management of food safety and integrity is a key strategic priority and through its Acoura business develops and manages food assurance work throughout the UK and internationally.

The profits the company generates fund the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charity which supports engineering-related research, education and public engagement around everything they do-working together for a safer world.

What do Lloyd’s Registers know about our sector?

Lloyd’s Register, through Acoura, has more than 20 years’ experience of developing and operating food assurance schemes to range of different standards including Red Tractor Assurance, Quality Meat Scotland Scotch Beef, Marine Stewardship Council fisheries and British Retail Consortium standards. The company has many years’ experience working with the game sector having developed and operated the Scottish Quality Wild Venison Scheme since 2002 and which now accounts for more than 70% of production; AND supported the development and operation of the Wildlife Estates Scotland Scheme launched in 2013.

What can I do if I am not sure if I meet the standards?

We can arrange a pre-assessment where an assessor will be able show you where you may need to make changes in order to meet the standards for which there will be an agreed cost.

When will I receive my assessment and who will the assessor be?

25% of participants will receive an on-site audit each year in the preparation for and during the shooting season. The assessor will make contact up to a week before the audit to arrange a suitable time to visit and discuss the requirements for the audit.

Where a formal credible complaint is raised an audit investigation will be undertaken within 48 hours of the complaint being received. Scheme participants will be obliged to ensure that a representative is available to meet the assessor and fully cooperate with their investigation.

What does an assessment entail?

On initial contact from the assessor a pre-assessment check will be carried out and the assessor will talk through the assessment process and explain what is required. The assessor will want to assess a number of areas and this will include rearing facilities (where relevant), release pens, feed and medicine stores, feed and medicine records and prescriptions (where relevant), game marketing plans, chilling facilities and environmental management measures/habitat improvements. Once the assessment has been completed the assessor will agree any areas that do not comply with the scheme standards and require improvement. You will be asked to sign the visit record summarising any agreed non compliances, and a copy will be left with you.

How long will an assessment take?

This will depend on the business operation and how prepared a member is for their assessment but it would typically expect to be up to 2/3 hours in duration.

What do the assessors know about our sector?

Lloyd’s Register assessors are based throughout the UK and have a good knowledge and awareness of the shooting sector, practical experience of shooting and relevant experience of auditing to various food assurance schemes. They will receive detailed classroom and site based training to BGA standards prior to commencing assessments in summer 2018.

Who assesses the assessor?

The assessor undergoes shadow assessments annually, carried out by an ISO qualified Lead Assessor. Assessor training meetings are held every year dependent on any changes being made within the scheme and scheme standards.

What happens if I have non-compliances?

If you have minor non-compliances you will need to demonstrate the corrective action you have taken or intend to take and typically this can be in the form of photos, copies of records/invoices and declarations. The BGA and auditors will work with you to help ensure compliance going forward.

In the event of major non-compliance your shoot will be publicly removed from the BGA scheme. In that event you will need to reapply and follow-up site visit will be undertaken at your additional cost to demonstrate compliance with the BGA standards.