Decision details


Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Key points from the discussion:

1.    The Assistant Head of Trading Standards explained that there were no formal performance indicators for trading standards nationally. These were based on ones that were agreed locally to be areas of interest. She highlighted the following areas from the report: -

a)    the financial impact of our interventions was good which was running at over £3.1 million across the joint service which was ahead of last year’s figure of £2.8 million.

b)    problems with the court service continue, so the number of convictions during the year remained low.

c)    a slightly different approach was taken mid-year with a market where prolific levels of counterfeiting were identified. A big partnership day of action, involving the police, was undertaken in September to start to address the issues and have since been working with the market operator and landlord.  The market had continued to be monitored and she was happy to report that the situation was much better now.

d)    the target around the number of primary authority scheme partners will be missed. It was known that was likely with what happened with Woking Borough Council. Mitigations were in place, but the target will be missed.

e)    Regarding the last target around improving well-being and public health over 80,000 items were stopped through Heathrow this year. That work was funded by the Office of Product Safety and Standards because there was a national impact to that work.

f)     Regarding cost of living projects. some work had been undertaken with checking the accuracy of weighing and measuring equipment. Petrol pump testing and also non automatic weighing instruments which are the scales you see in supermarkets, butchers or corner shops were also tested.

g)    over the year 146 electric blankets had been tested with a 71% failure rate.  This was marginally better that last year’s figure of 80% but still scarily high.

h)    Following the avian flu problems there had been a change in the need to register.  It used to be anyone keeping more that 50 birds would need to register and now it is required if any birds are kept. The register is kept by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and if there was an outbreak, we would be able to use that information. So that was a positive.

1.    The Chair asked whether there were any plans for longer term funding for the Heathrow work.  The Assistant Head of Trading Standards responded that this would remain annual. The Department for Business and Trade were aware that this creates problems around planning.

2.    The Chair stated that the social media reach was not quite hitting the target and further work would be needed on that. The Assistant Head of Trading Standards explained that talks were happening with the Communications Team around what targets were meaningful. What was planned for this year was with each campaign to think about why it was being run and what was the ultimate impact looked for and to have specific targets for that campaign. This was work in progress.  She also spoke of targets and measurements of alternative ways of doing things and ensuring targets reflected this.

3.    The Co-Chair spoke of the difficult balancing act of the messages given to people and the need to keep up the impact of the work especially when conviction numbers were so low. The Assistant Head of Trading Standards explained how different powers are used from the Proceeds of Crime Act such as account freezing orders that could be used separate to a prosecution and get some of the money back.


Actions/ further information to be provided:




That the Service’s performance be noted.



Publication date: 15/05/2024

Date of decision: 10/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 10/04/2024 - Buckinghamshire Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee

Accompanying Documents: