How we work

On this page, you can read about our approach to procurement, as well as how we make our decisions, how we are accountable and how we work openly and in partnership with others.

Our focus is on the best interests of consumers when it comes to food.

We are independent of industry and the Scottish Government: we are accountable to the public in Scotland through the Scottish Parliament. Scottish Ministers have approved our statement on how we will work.

On this page, you can read about our approach to procurement, as well as how we make our decisions, how we are accountable and how we work openly and in partnership with others.

Read our Corporate Governance documents.

For more information on how we work, please contact

Our behaviour culture

Integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality shape the behaviour of the Civil Service, and our ‘team FSS’ internal values compliment this and guide how we do things and treat others.

These are unique to, and have been developed by, our organisation and are based around the themes of respecting and supporting others, being collaborative and proactive, and trusting and empowering our colleagues.

The six team FSS internal values, all of equal importance, are:

  • We are diverse and all have a role to play
  • We are dynamic and adapt to change
  • We innovate through ideas and challenge
  • We respect all voices when making decisions
  • We collaborate with others to deliver for Scotland
  • We support each other to achieve our best

Ultimately, these form our conduct in the workplace and influence how we interact with our colleagues and partners.

FSS internal values, We are diverse and all have a role to play, We are dynamic and adapt to change, We innovate through ideas and challenge , We respect all voices when making decisions, We collaborate with others to deliver for Scotland, We support


We will lay a copy of our Annual Report and Accounts before the Scottish Parliament each year. Details of our accountability relationships are set out in our Framework Document with the Scottish Government.

Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23

Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22

Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21

Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20

Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19

Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18

Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17

Annual Accounts and Report for Year Ended March 2016

Audit of FSS Official Control Delivery

As the Competent Authority for food and feed official controls FSS is required to carry out internal audits or have audits carried out on themselves and shall take appropriate measures in the light of the results of those audits (Article 6 of Retained Regulation (EU) 2017/625).

Audit Programme 2022/2023 – Closed Audits

Escalation of the Enforcement Action – Referral for Investigation - July - September 2022

Withdrawals, Recalls, Issue of Alerts - April - June 2022

Audit Programme 2021/2022 – Closed Audits

Food Business Operator (FBO) Audits - January - March 2022

Official Veterinarian (OV) and Meat Hygiene Inspector (MHI) Training - December 2021 – January 2022

Statement of Resource (Business Agreements) - April - June 2021 

Audit Programme 2020/2021 – Closed Audits

Enforcement - January - March 2021

Imported Food - October - December 2020

Post Mortem Inspection -  July – September 2020


Our decisions will be based on evidence. We will:

  • engage our stakeholders in the development of policy
  • support and use relevant research
  • ensure that our policy decisions are in proportion to risk and cost, allowing consumers to make informed choices
  • publish consultations and consultation results

In addition to policy development, we have a duty to involve users in the design and delivery of services, including those where we monitor the work of others.


We work in partnership and make effective links.

We can best achieve our objectives by working with others. As a public body in Scotland, we have specific duties to co-operate with others, for efficiency and to limit the burden on those we scrutinise.

We work in partnership with public bodies, other research funders, enforcement authorities, industry, the private sector and third sector and government departments in Scotland and across the UK.

View our Memorandum of Understanding with the Food Standards Agency and our Joint statement of intent with the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS).


We are open and transparent. Our Board meets in public, and our policy recommendations and decisions, and the reasons for them, will be publicly available via this website.

Our website

We publish all of our Board papers, reports, news, updates and alerts through this website. Guidance and regulation specific to Scotland can be found through our search function or our topic pages. Where guidance or regulation applies across the UK, links on our pages will take you away from our site and on to the website of the Food Standards Agency.

Accessing our information

We have adopted the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme, which lists the categories of information we will publish. Our Guide to information shows what sort of information we hold, and how we make this available. For more information see our FOI page

Freedom of Information Requests

If the information you are looking for is not included in the publication scheme, you can submit a request in writing or via e-mail to us. For more information see our FOI page.


Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is listed in legislation as an organisation that workers can approach outside their workplace to report suspected or known wrongdoing related to food and feed safety and standards. Such reports are known as 'whistleblowing'. We are required to report annually on the number of whistleblowing disclosures we have received and our reports are published below.

Report for 2017/18

Report for 2018/19

Report for 2019/20

Report for 2020/21

Report for 2021/22

Report for 2022/23

Report for 2023/24

Transparency data

We publish statements of certain categories of expenditure and on the exercise of our functions in accordance with the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2000 here. In addition we publish a statement of all electronic procurement card transactions with a value of over £500.

Public Services Reform Act statements of expenditure

Electronic Procurement Card expenditure

Public Services Reform Act statement on the exercise of our functions

Our corporate responsibilities

Environmental Management

We are committed to environmental sustainability and cutting our carbon emissions. We will produce annual sustainability reports alongside our Annual Report and Accounts.


We operate in a way which promotes equal opportunity and test our policies against the requirements of equality legislation.

Health and Safety

We aim to achieve the highest standards of health and safety in our operations.


We will advertise all opportunities to apply for FSS contracts on the Public Contracts Scotland website. If you wish to see the opportunities, you can sign up to Public Contracts Scotland.

FSS is part of a Procurement Shared Service Central Government organisations’ in Scotland. Sharing services is a key theme of the Scottish Government’s strategy to make more efficient use of resources in the delivery of key objectives and outcomes. You can find further information on how the Scottish Government delivers and manages procurement opportunities on

Complaints about FSS

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us. Our Guide for Customers and Model Complaints Handling Procedure describe our complaints procedure, what complaints we consider, and how to make a complaint. They also tell you about our complaints service standards and what you can expect from us.

Our complaints procedure has two stages:

Stage one: frontline resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This may mean an immediate apology and explanation, and immediate action to solve the problem. This should take five working days unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you are unhappy with a particular aspect of our service you can raise this with the FSS staff member that you are dealing with.

If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next.

Stage two: investigation

We deal with two types of complaint at this stage:

  • those that could not be resolved at stage one
  • those that are more complex and require more detailed investigation

We aim to resolve stage two complaints within 20 working days, although sometimes we may take longer. Contact us at

If you remain dissatisfied with our decision or the way in which we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman to look at it.

Complaints Handling Performance

Read information about our complaints handling performance.