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.
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 BGA’s Shoot 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 (Acoura).
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 33% participants in year one, rising to 50% in year two; and conducting detailed audits 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.
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.
The Assessors have been trained by the GWCT at Loddington to ensure they fully understand best practice on shoots.
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?
33% of participants will receive an on-site audit in year one 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 with a pre-assessment check list.
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 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 removed from the BGA. In that event you will may be able to reapply where a follow-up site visit will be undertaken at your additional cost to demonstrate compliance with the BGA standards after a stated amount of time.
Quick Fire Questions:
How much notice is given ahead of an audit?
2-3 weeks ahead, on a suitable date for both
What preparations do I need to make?
Ensure the necessary records are in place (shoots can use their record book, provided by the BGA)
What if there are some documents which I do not wish to share?
Acoura will want to see all necessary documents but will not take these offsite
What time of year will an audit be conducted?
All year round
What will the auditors be looking for?
Efforts to meet the BGA shoot standards and likewise efforts not made to meet them
Who will need to attend the audit, from the shoot? Should it be the keeper, owner, both?
Either or both, just as long as someone can show the assessors what is required and around the shoot
Who sees the audit results?
Acoura and the BGA (these have strict confidential T’s & C’s)
Are there any additional costs?
No, the BGA absorbs the costs for the audits
How are shoots selected?
At random by Acoura & BGA