Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Ministers accept recommendations on the future of the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards following an independent review

Ministers accept recommendations on the future of the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards following an independent review

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (180/08) issued by The Government News Network on 6 June 2008

Information Bulletin

Ministers have accepted the recommendations of an independent review of the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS).

The review, which was announced in August last year and undertaken by Drew Associates Ltd, looked at the future development and governance of ACOS, the quality and impact of its advice and its working methods as well as its resources and how they are managed.

The main recommendations following the review are that ACOS continues to be used for securing authoritative advice from the organic sector, but more reliance should be placed on the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) in respect of controlling the organic inspection bodies.

Jeff Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare said:
"The recommendations made will ensure ACOS continues to play a highly effective role in the delivery of advice on the organic sector while achieving greater clarity and efficiency in the control of the organic inspection bodies."

The recommendations will now be taken forward with a view to the new control system for the organic inspection bodies coming into place in early 2009.

The recommendations can be found in the report by Drew Associates Ltd that followed their review of ACOS. This can be accessed at

Notes to editors
1. ACOS is a non-executive, non-departmental public body that advises Government on the development and implementation of organic standards, approval of organic certifying bodies and research and development. In agreement with the Devolved Administrations, organic standards are implemented by Defra, which acts as the Competent Authority for the UK as a whole for the purposes of European Council Regulation 2092/91. ACOS therefore covers the UK as a whole in its provision of advice to Defra.

2. The independent review was carried out by Drew Associates Ltd in accordance with Government recommendations that public bodies are subjected to periodic and detailed study to ensure that they are still delivering high quality services and are adequately resourced.

3. Drew Associates Ltd were appointed to undertake the review following a competitive tender exercise.

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