Agenda item

General Manager Updates

To receive updates from the General Managers of New Spitalfields and Smithfield Markets.


Members are asked to note that there is a non-public update in respect of Billingsgate in part 2 of the Agenda and a further non-public update in respect of New Spitalfiels.


The Board received the General Managers updates, noting that New Spitalfields update would be in the non-public part of the meeting.


Members noted that, following the accident at Smithfield 4 July 2022, a number of improvements had either been implemented,  or were due for implementation.  The General Manager advised that the accident had been caused by the methodology used in moving products and the pallet had toppled over.  The Police were carrying out a criminal investigation but it was not yet certain if charges would follow.  Weekly meetings had been taking place in respect of a new 45 point action plan. Members noted Smithfield’s excellent safety record in respect of fork lifts and this was the only serious incident in 40 years.   The Health and Safety Executive had been engaged and the Market Constables remained vigilant.   The General Manager stressed that the new procedures would continue throughout the transition period out of the Poultry Market.  

Members noted that high visibility jackets are now mandatory for all fork lift drivers, there is a one-way system in the market and produce must be taken directly into traders’ premises.  It was suggested that a process, whereby people and machinery are completely separate, should be considered in the future.  The Chief Operating Officer advised that the law requires risks to be managed at the lowest possible level; risk assessments are updated regularly, with all mitigations carefully considered.


The General Manager advised that this update had orignally been included in the non-public part of the published agenda but he was able to provide an update in public.  Members had seen the new CCTV system and control room on their recent visit, and it had gone live on 1st August 2022.  The Market now has over 100 4k cameras across the site, which will improve safety and security, as well as ensuring better compliance with site rules. The delivery of this improved resource was a key theme of the Billingsgate Action Plan.

Members noted that a further theme identified in the Billingsgate Action Plan was the 12 week trial of consolidated outbound deliveries, from merchants to their customers, in and around London. This free to use trial saw 40 out of 48 merchants participate. In total, 19,886 cases of product were delivered during the initial trial, resulting in an estimated 37% reduction in CO2 emissions from deliveries, and 949 fewer vehicle journeys on central London’s congested roads, helping reduce air pollution.  Members noted that the New Market would be busier but if opening hours are extended, then this would also have a positive impact on congestion and emissions.  The trial has subsequently been extended, and further details would be shared at the next Markets Board meeting. The General Manager advised that the results of the pilot had been submitted to the forthcoming National Market Awards run by NABMA.

The General Manager advised that he had received a complaint in respect of cleanliness, essentially arising from staffing issues throughout the Target Operating Model process and the recruitment freeze, compounded by the holiday period.  However, a new round of recruitment was about to go live, and this should see an improvement.    Members noted that this had not been an issue at the other 2 markets, who were almost fully resourced.  The General Managers were asked to include updates on cleanliness, health and safety and energy price rises in their future updates.

RESOLVED, that – the updates from the General Managers be noted.


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