Manchester’s Shield Safety Group Teams Up With Hospitality Industry Heavyweights To Launch Safe To Trade Scheme


Following feedback from the hospitality industry that the government hasn’t been doing enough to support its reopening, Manchester’s Shield Safety Group (SSG) has launched a Safe to Trade Scheme to help outlets reopen safely, while also supercharging consumer confidence in the safety measures being put in place.

The company has collaborated with top-ranking industry experts, including the former CEO of the Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency; the ex-Head of Local Delivery at Food Standards Agency; the ex-Head of Camden BRI’s Food Hygiene Department and the Food and Drink Award’s Scientist of the Year.

The UK’s leading provider of Food, Fire and Health & Safety software and services, Shield Safety Group (SSG) employs the UK’s largest team of Environmental Health Practitioners and is headquartered out of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The award-winning firm has over 1,400 clients all over the UK, including Tesco, Stars Pubs & Bars and Interstate Hotel Management and also works with a large number of public sector organisations and has been helping hospitality businesses, since the pandemic broke, with free products and solutions.

Pre-empting the announcement of July 4th as the date venues can start to open, SSG and the crack team of industry heavyweights to grab hold of the COVID-safety mantle and fill the gaps not being addressed by government and formed the Safe to Trade Body. All have come together to harness their understanding of running hospitality operations safely and apply their unique insights into health and safety across the industry to launch a new independently-verified COVID-19 safety standard - The Safe to Trade Scheme.

The Scheme aims to supercharge consumer confidence and works with outlets to ensure that their premises and teams are COVID compliant and more, going beyond government guidelines to help them deliver the measures that consumers have stated that they want to see in venues. The aim is to help businesses open fast with an innovative solution to the new normal, while also donating 10% of fees to Hospitality Action. Since launching in May, thousands of venues have already signed up to the Scheme, with hundreds more joining on a weekly basis.

Consumer insight research by the Safe to Trade Scheme has revealed that 89% of public want to see COVID safety measures across the hospitality industry that go beyond government guidelines, with 96% of customers wanting to see venues rated in terms of their COVID-19 compliance and 94% wanting industry experts advising on venue safety practices.*

The Scheme facilitates all of this. It combines SSG’s award-winning software and app with remote risk assessment data-capture and remote audits, enabling a robust and rapid process that protects all parties. It also includes an advice line, eLearning and each individual outlet on the scheme is accredited against a Safety Charter built by a best in class expert board. Those who meet the standard are then awarded a certificate and window sticker to visually reassure customers that a venue is COVID-secure and more.

Mark Flanagan, CEO at Shield Safety Group, which administrates the Safe to Trade Scheme, and who heads up the Scheme’s Governance Board explains:

“The hospitality industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to the needs of the sector has been a moveable feast. Shield Safety Group has taken up the mantle to spearhead the Safe to Trade Scheme in a bid to both save and protect the sector.

“Over the next six to 12 months hospitality businesses are going to have to re-think how they engage with and reassure their loyal customers if they are to quickly start to regain lost revenue, as well as reassure both colleagues and customers. The Safe to Trade Scheme is the ideal way to demonstrate that a venue is Covid-compliant and more, with the measures being undertaken underpinned by and industry-approved Safety Charter that has been built by industry heavyweights and ensures ongoing monitoring and governance.”

Safe to Trade venues will be certificated and features an approved window sticker that allows customers to assess a venue before entering as well as feedback on leaving. If a consumer sees something that concerns them, they can simply scan the window sticker QR code, search for the business and provide a rating and feedback. This anonymous feedback is passed onto the business to aid their continual safety performance and through this reporting system the Safe to Trade Scheme ensures protection for everyone, giving a much-needed boost for those that are desperate to reopen safely.

Shield Safety Group is a leading provider of health, safety and risk management services, including food safety, fire safety, Assured Advice, and consultancy services, alongside software solutions.

Find out more about the Safe to Trade Scheme at