Environmental Health Training Service - frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about the Training Service

Why use the service?

We have been delivering food safety and health and safety courses since 1989. Our training courses provide staff with knowledge, understanding and theory of good practice. However, training means the continuous, correct, practical application of theory taught on courses. Certificates on their own do not reduce risk, prevent accidents or prevent food poisoning.

Owners and managers have a vital part to play in the training cycle. Effective training in small or large organisations can only be achieved working from the top down. You will be ignoring your management responsibilities if you think it is sufficient just to send your staff on a Level 1 or 2 course and not provide them with the necessary supervision. Owners and managers should consider attending Level 3 or 4 courses to ensure that they can properly supervise, instruct and/or train their staff about safety issues specific to their work.

Training will motivate staff, provide them with a vocation related qualification, set a benchmark, reduce waste, contribute to compliance with the law, and reduce complaints or accidents.

What level of training do I need?

The level of training should be commensurate with a person’s work activities. For example:

  • Level 1 – new employees, induction, low risk work activities
  • Level 2- employees
  • Level 3 - owners, managers, supervisors, and potential trainers
  • Level 4 - owners, managers, and potential trainers

Staff changes, promotion, accidents, illness and injury at work, risk assessments, food safety management procedures, complaints, or non-compliance of law will determine the appropriate level and frequency of training.

Who uses the Council's service?

Businesses, health and social care organisations, education services, local authorities, voluntary and community organisations, tenant management organisations, housing associations, employment and business support organisations, adult and family learning groups, enforcement officers and individuals throughout London and the South East.

What does the law say about training?

The Health and Safety at Work Act, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, require all employers to provide whatever information, instruction and training is needed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees. Training should not take place in candidates’ own time or on their day off. Visit the Health and Safety Executive website or telephone 0845 609 6006 for free advice.

Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 require food business operators to ensure that their food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene work relevant to their work activities. Obtain a copy of the Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice in the Catering Industry for further explanation. Visit the Food Standards Agency website.  

With regards to Allergen Control, food business operators are responsible for complying with the Food Information for Consumers Regulations 2014. The Food Safety Act and Health and Safety at Work Act have been used in prosecutions where a consumer has suffered from a reaction or fatality due to eating an allergen that was not listed in the ingredients.

Fire Safety legislation is enforced by the fire authority.

Enforcement officers will assess legal compliance by: questioning the business operator using the qualifications frame work as a guide linking non-compliance to a safety problem questioning the employees. Compliance is not necessarily demonstrated because a particular employee has attended a course and gained a certificate.

The course may not have been relevant to their work activity or responsibilities, they may have forgotten the information gained on the course, and/or they may not be putting into practice what they have been taught.

Refresher training is not about sending someone back on the same level course. Certificates do not expire. Toolbox talks, one to one, refresher sessions etc are all perfectly adequate so long as you can demonstrate that the learner is correctly putting into practice what they have been taught.

Choosing and booking a course

Where can I find out about the awarding bodies and syllabuses?

Visit the Highfield Qualifications website for syllabuses of the accredited qualifications. They have been approved by Ofqual as awarding bodies. Some of the examination bodies require candidates to have achieved a specific level of knowledge before attending an accredited level course (for example, Level 2 before Level 3). Please check.

What do the Award Levels mean?

A table illustrating the various accredited, vocational related qualification award level and who would benefit from them is available on the Food Safety Training Courses page. For further details, please visit Ofqual on the GOV.UK website.

When are the courses run?

Course dates are listed under Food Safety, Health and Safety, HACCP, Allergen Control and Personal Licence Holders training on demand, and waiting lists are kept. Courses may be postponed, re-scheduled or cancelled at the discretion of the Council.Courses will only be run when six to eight or more candidates have confirmed attendance. For courses in your premises, the minimum payment will be based on six to eight depending upon the course. Please ask for further details.

Fees and course dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Council.

How much do courses cost?

Fees include both materials and the examination - though exam re-sit fees may apply. The fees do not include lunch and are subject to change at the discretion of the Council.

Please refer to each individual course page for details.

Reduced fees apply to residents, small businesses and community support organisations who are all located The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

External customers may enquire about discount offers on fees applicable to them.

VAT is not applicable to local authority training fees.

How do I book a course and make payment?

Please note the Council will only accept course bookings by credit or debit card, except for large organisations or businesses where electronic payment is accepted. BACS payment may be arranged. Invoices will be issued upon request.

Call 020 7361 3002 or complete the enquiry form to make a course booking. If you are paying by card, please tell us when you call.

We accept MasterCard and Visa credit cards and Switch, Solo, Visa Electron, Delta and Maestro debit cards. We do not accept American Express.

Invoices must be settled within 30 days or before the course start date (whichever date is sooner).

Certificates and course results will not be issued until payment is received.

What is the course cancellation policy?

Cancellations or postponements made by individuals or organisations more than 14 days before the scheduled course must be made in writing and may be transferred to an alternative course date or given a refund. The exception will be made on production of a medical certificate signed by a hospital or general practitioner.

Any request to transfer the candidate(s) on to a similar level course on an alternative date must be made in writing at least 14 days in advance of the course. Cancellations or non-attendance made less than 14 days before or on the day of the course will not receive a refund.

Do you offer discounts or concessionary rates?

Reduced fees apply to residents, small businesses and community support organisations who are all located The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

External customers may enquire about discount offers on fees applicable to them.

Who are the Council's trainers?

The trainers are Council Officers registered with appropriate regulated awarding organisations. The Royal Borough is one of many registered training providers and will provide help and guidance where possible.

What other courses are on offer?

The Royal Borough also offers a range of non-accredited short training sessions and workshops. There is no accredited qualification exam at the end of these courses. Short workshops are suitable for a wide range of small businesses and both public and private sector organisations. They will suit owners, managers, staff, trainers and enforcement officers. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please ask us.

How do I organise a course to be run in my premises?

Please call us on tel: 020 7361 3002 or email us at: training@rbkc.gov.uk if you would like training to be held on your premises. A minimum of six candidates is required for Level 3 or 4 courses, and eight for Level 1 or 2 courses.

You will need to provide the following: a laptop or PC, a digital projector, a screen, flip charts, DVD playing facility with speakers, lectern, enough tables and chairs for both trainer and candidates (preferably not boardroom style) pens, pencils, erasers, paper and board markers, and refreshments.

How should I prepare my staff for a course?

Your staff will need to know why you are sending them on a course. You must tell them about the supervision that you will give them afterwards so that the theory learnt can be put into practice.

We will send you joining instructions and a map to pass onto your staff. Please emphasise the need to be punctual as late comers may be turned away at the discretion of the trainer, with no refund given. Staff who have just come off shift duty will not benefit from training.

Your staff will need to know if they are to do an examination at the end of the course or on a set date. Level 4 and certain Level 3 candidates will have assignments to complete in their own time too.

How do you help candidates with special educational requirements?

If your staff have any special needs, for example they have a physical or learning disability, or are non-native English speakers, please tell us at the time of your booking. The Council will then advise the trainer, and where necessary may apply to the examination body on their behalf to seek arrangements before they sit the exam. Information about courses run in languages other than English is available.

If any of your staff need support with Basic English, Maths and Computer Skills at Level 1 then please contact Nova New Opportunities on 020 8960 2488 or visit www.novanew.org.uk

Is there any Reasonable adjustment for candidates who may be sitting an examination?

Candidates may need reasonable adjustment to undertake examinations if they have: - a permanent or long-term disability, medical condition, or special educational need; - a temporary or short term disability, medical condition or special educational need; - been indisposed at the time of the examination or assessment; - or, English as another language; the Council will then make formal application to the appropriate awarding examination body. There may be a delay in the candidate’s examination date pending a decision or appeal. The Council will refer to the awarding body’s procedures before an application.

How do you help staff who do not speak or read English as a first language?

Our courses and materials are only delivered in English. Paper translation dictionaries (not mobile or hand-held devices) are permissible in the examinations. Guidance may be given if you are looking for a trainer to deliver courses in other languages apart from English. You will also be given details of publications produced in other languages. You can contact  Highfield Qualifications  on 0845 2260 350 for more information.

The Council also works in partnership with Hammersmith and Fulham Adult Learning and Skills Service who provide various courses.

How does the Council promote equality and diversity?

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has a clear policies, visit Equalities and Diversity policy.The Corporate Equality and Diversity Document

Attending a course

What are the start and end times of the courses?

Whole day courses at Levels 2, 3, and 4 start at 9am unless otherwise advised, and end at 5pm (approximately).

For half day courses allow three and a half hours for Level 1 and some Level 2 qualifications. Please turn up at least ten minutes before the start time of the course. Latecomers may be turned away at the discretion of the trainer. You will not be allowed to sit the examinations unless you have attended 100 per cent for Level 1 and 2 courses, or a minimum of 80 per cent for Level 3 and 4 courses.

What is the course programme?

This will be given to you at the start of each course. The majority of accredited qualification courses at Level 1 to 4 will take place in a training room. The trainer has to follow a syllabus and code of practice set out by the awarding body. There is some flexibility for the style of delivery and tailoring to meet your needs.

A mixture of presentations, group work, quizzes, films, handouts and candidate participation are designed to ensure that you get the most out of the event.

Half or whole day workshops are generally relaxed and involve activities and discussion. Group sizes range from eight to 15.

If you do Level 3 or 4 qualifications, or a train the trainer course, then there will be preparation work to do in your own time.

For Level 4 courses, depending upon the examination body, you may have to submit an assignment at least one month before doing an examination.

Where can I find a course syllabus and the course aims and objectives?

Visit Highfield Qualifications for your appropriate course information.

Is there a pre-course reading list?

Visit Highfield Qualifications, Health and Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency for suitable reading lists and publications. Many of the organisations provide excellent online advice too.

Do I need to bring photographic identification?

All Level 1 to 4 candidates must bring some form of photographic ID if they are attending courses that end with an examination. No ID = no examination. The following are acceptable: passports, national identity cards, driving licenses, work identification, college or school identification, travel card, etc. They must be in date. If not in possession of any of these then someone in a management position must be able to vouch for them.

When are the Examinations and Assessments?

Examination dates are given on the training agreement or on the joining instructions sent to you. You will be notified of any changes in advance or during the course.

For Level 3 and Level 4 courses please let us know if you cannot attend the examination date given to you.

For Level 1 and 2 courses the examinations are normally held at the end of each course.

Please visit Highfield Qualifications for examples of examination questions.

Special dispensation for language or special educational needs and learning difficulties, illness, or impairments may be arranged with the examination bodies. The Council will need at least four weeks’ notice if they are requested to support you or your candidate.

Who are the Awarding Examination Bodies and what are their contact details?

The Council currently uses Highfield Qualifications. This has been approved as an awarding body by The Office for Qualifications and Examination Regulations.

You can contact them on tel: 0845 2260 350, or visit the Highfield Qualifications website.

The Training Service has been successfully audited by Highfield Qualifications in 2013,2016 and 2019.

When will I receive my certificate?

The examination papers are marked by the awarding bodies. If you pass an examination a certificate will be sent to you or your employer about six to ten weeks after the training course has taken place.

Certificates will not be posted out to you unless payment has been made.

There is a charge for replacement certificates. Please call the Environmental Healthline on 020 7361 3002.

How long do the certificates last?

There is no expiry date on certificates. However, risk assessments, food safety management procedures, legal notices, civil action, complaints, changes in processes and use of ingredients, accidents, food poisoning, staff promotion etc will all influence when training is required. Achieving a certificate is only part of the training cycle. To demonstrate that you or your staff have been effectively trained you must put into practice what you have been taught, or if you are a manager you must supervise and instruct your staff that have received the training. A supervisor or manager should be looking at attending a Level 3 or 4 qualification course.

Who owns the certificate?

The certificates, if issued, legally belong to the candidate and NOT the employer.

What is the dress code?

This is normally casual unless your employer or manager states otherwise.

Is there any Health and Safety Information?

The Council has a Health and Safety Policy which is adhered to, such as no smoking, fire procedures, evacuation procedures and first aid information.

You will be given health and safety information at the start of the course.

What about course reading material?

You will be given appropriate reading materials on the first day of your course. These are included in the course fee.

If you would like to prepare for the course in advance you can get free information from the Health and Safety Executive or Food Standards Agency . You can also buy materials from the examination bodies.

Do certificates demonstrate evidence of training?

Training could be defined as “knowledge, plus understanding, together with the correct practical application of the theory taught on a course”. A certificate on its own does not provide evidence of training, nor will it satisfy legal requirements.

What does the training involve?

The majority of accredited qualification courses at Level 1 to 4 will take place in a training room. The trainer has to follow a syllabus and code of practice set out by the awarding body. There is some flexibility for the style of delivery and tailoring to meet your needs.

A mixture of presentations, group work, quizzes, films, handouts and candidate participation are designed to ensure that you get the most out of the event. During train the trainer’s courses there is a chance to practise your delivery in front of others.

Half or whole day workshops are generally relaxed and involve activities and discussion. Group sizes range from eight to 15.

Other frequently asked questions

How do I become a food safety or health and safety trainer?

To deliver courses leading to approved awarding body qualifications go to: Highfield Qualifications. For example, to deliver Level 1 or 2 courses you will need a Level 3 qualification (or equivalent) in the subject that you wish to tutor, and a Level 3 Award in Training Skills and Practice (or minimum equivalent).

If in doubt contact the above awarding bodies about your application.

What about Data Protection?

The Council has a data protection policy to ensure that it complies with current data protection legislation available on our website.

How do I complain or appeal?

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea  is committed to maintaining the highest levels of service and training standards for all its service users. We will endeavour to assist any learner who wishes to make a complaint about the training service, or to make an appeal following receipt of examination results.

The Council has a strict complaints procedure. Complaints relate to any concern expressed by a service user such as a customer or learner, relating to a personal grievance over services or training received or expected from The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Please see the Complaints, comments and compliments page for details.

Any deliberate activity, neglect, default or other practice that compromises, or could compromise the assessment process, the integrity of a regulated qualification or the validity of a result or certificate is considered as malpractice. Any individual may report malpractice to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea or Highfield Qualifications.

Sometimes there may be a  disclosure by an individual concerning an act of malpractice or the covering up of malpractice. Whistleblowers are usually employees and may report their concerns direct to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea or to the Awarding Organisation; Highfield Qualifications.

In the first instance, the learner should contact the Training Service on training@rbkc.gov.uk, or write to us at:

Environmental Health Training
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
37 Pembroke Road
London W8 6PW

The complainant should provide their name, contact details, confirmation of their training course and full details of their concerns. If the complaint relates to a candidate, their date of birth would be useful for verification purposes.

If the above route is unsuccessful then please follow the procedure on the Complaints, comments and compliments page.

Appeals Procedure

If you are not happy with your exam result, then you may appeal. In the first instance, this should be with The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An individual or their employing organisation, of course, do have the right to go direct to the awarding body.

Please note that The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea does not mark any examination papers. The Royal Borough is only advised of a pass or fail for multiple-choice papers, and can contact the awarding organisation for examiners’ feedback on written papers.

Should The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea be unable to satisfactorily resolve the complaint or the service user wants to appeal to the awarding body, then they should write to:

Highfield Qualifications
Highfield Place
Unit 15, Shaw Wood Business Park, Shaw Wood Way
Wheatley Hills
Doncaster  DN2 5TB

The Highfield Qualifications appeals procedure may be viewed at The awarding body’s appeals procedure is available on the Highfield Qualifications website.

If The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea or Highfield Qualifications cannot satisfactorily resolve your complaint or appeal then you may go to the Qualification Regulator. Visit the Qfqual website for details.


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