Cefas service charter
What is Cefas?
Cefas is an executive agency of the Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). We are an internationally
recognised centre of excellence for research, assessment and advice
on fisheries management, aquaculture and environment
We make an important contribution to securing healthy
marine and freshwater environments, and the sustainable use of
associated resources, that will enable current and future
generations to prosper. This includes providing leadership in
understanding the challenges presented by climate change, and
options for mitigation and adaptation.
Established for over 100 years, and with a turnover exceeding
£50 million, we employ over 500 people - primarily in Lowestoft and
Weymouth. As the UK's largest and most diverse applied marine
science laboratory, we provide leadership in many areas. We help to
shape and implement policy through our internationally renowned
science and through our collaborative relationships that span UK
government, EU, non-governmental organisations, research centres
Our core remit is to provide advice and support to UK government
and its agencies. Our work takes us from freshwater to the open
ocean, and includes both wild and farmed fish. Our influence and
leadership spans the full spectrum of issues, including:
- climate change impacts and adaptation
- marine spatial planning and environmental licensing
- sustainable fisheries management
- marine biodiversity and habitats
- fish and shellfish health and hygiene
- emergency response.
This is supported by leading-edge capabilities to collect,
manage and interpret a breadth of environmental, biodiversity and
To deliver our remit, and consistent with our vision, our ability
to integrate a broad capability is becoming increasingly important.
This includes going beyond traditional scientific and policy
boundaries, through alliances and partnerships, to draw in
socio-economic and industry perspectives. We facilitate
As a net running-cost executive agency, all of our work is
delivered through contracts. By being commercially strong - with a
clear business orientation in our delivery and a remit to exploit
growing wider markets opportunity alongside our work for government
- we build the skills that underpin our sustainable future. The
margins generated from contracts allows us to reinvest in our
business and science, and so maximise value to the taxpayer of our
unique knowledge and facilities.
Standards of service
We endeavour to provide all of our customers with excellent
service. Such customers include Defra, other UK and international
government departments, the EC, industry, regulatory and
enforcement agencies, local authorities and other
Standards of service specific to the needs of these customers
are included within agreements and contracts. For example, the
advice, data or other outputs required, how they will be achieved,
the timetable for achievement, progress reports, and final delivery
of the service to our customers. We fully discuss customer
requirements both before and during the delivery of the work.
The particular standards of service for our Fish Health
Inspectorate are included within The Fish Health
Inspectorate and You.
In addition to these specified standards, we aim to achieve the
following standards for our dealings with the public, businesses
and non-government organisations:
- sending out full replies to letters within 15 working days of
receipt in Cefas.
In cases where it is not possible to
respond fully within that time, eg, because of the need to consult
an outside body or obtain a legal opinion, a holding reply will be
sent explaining the reason for the delay, when a response can be
expected and the name and contact number of the person dealing with
- seeing people within ten minutes of the time of their
appointment at our laboratories
- responding to telephone enquiries within two working days, in
writing or by a return telephone call.
We have adopted the provisions of the central and local
government Enforcement Concordant. This commits us to good
enforcement policies and procedures, based on agreed standards,
openness, helpfulness, proportionate action, consistency and a
clear complaints procedure.
In relation to our work on licensing deposits at sea under the
Food and Environment Protection Act, Part II, we undertake visits
on behalf of the Marine Waterways Division of Defra and may have to
recommend enforcement action. If so, we will:
- give advice clearly and simply and distinguish best practice
from legal requirements
- discuss problems with you and, where possible, try to resolve
points of difference before recommending formal enforcement
How to contact us
For general information please contact our main reception.
We can provide general information, including leaflets, free of
charge, and if there is a charge for providing more detailed
information you will be told when you make a request.
Contact numbers and addresses are given below. Between 09:00 and
17:00 Monday to Friday your enquiry will be answered personally.
For calls outside of those hours there is a telephone-answering
If you cannot be advised or helped immediately you will be put
in touch with a relevant member of staff.
Enquiries from customers about work that we are undertaking
for you should be directed to the agreed Cefas contact.
Courtesy and helpfulness
We will be helpful, polite and fair in our dealings with you. We
will identify ourselves by name when we meet, talk or write to
Complaints, comments and suggestions
We encourage users to give both positive and negative feedback
on the way we operate or the services we provide so we can identify
where improvements are needed.
If we are undertaking work for you and you are not entirely
satisfied with the service you receive, please raise the matter
with the Cefas contact who provided the service. Alternatively, and
for other cases, please contact either Lorraine Blowers or Lynne
Wright at the number and address below. We will do our best to put
the matter right as quickly as possible. This will include, where
appropriate, an apology and an explanation.
Any complaints, whether written or oral, will be investigated
thoroughly, fairly and in confidence. If you need assistance in
using these procedures Lorraine Blowers or Lynne Wright are
available to help.
All complaints will be acknowledged within three working days.
We aim to provide a substantive reply within ten working days
and, if this is not possible, we will explain how your complaint is
being handled and why it will take longer.
If you are not satisfied with the reply you can write to Mike
Waldock, the Chief Executive (Interim). He will review the
situation on your behalf and respond within ten working days.
If this is not possible, he will write to you explaining why and
letting you know when you may expect a response.
If you are not satisfied with Mike Waldock's decision you may
write to a Member of Parliament and ask for your complaint to be
passed to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the
Parliamentary Ombudsman). The Parliamentary Ombudsman is:
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
London SW1P 4QP
However, as already stated, she can only act when asked to do so
by a Member of Parliament.
Or you can write to:
Rt Hon Richard Benyon MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
Telephone: +44 (0) 345 015 4033
What we ask of you
It will help us to provide the best service if you give us as
much information and notice of your requirements as possible, and
are responsive to our requests for feedback.
This statement is reviewed annually.
We will monitor the effectiveness of our complaints procedure
and our performance against the standards in this charter. The
results will be reported to the Cefas Management Board and will be
included in our published Annual Report and
Cefas reception (general enquiries)
Telephone: +44 (0) 1502 562244
Fax: +44 (0) 1502 513865
Lorraine Blowers or Lynne Wright (comments,
Telephone: +44 (0) 1502 524233 or 524563
Fax: +44 (0) 1502 513865
Chief Executive (Interim)
Telephone: +44 (0) 1502 524233
Fax: +44 (0) 1502 513865