Agenda and minutes

Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee
Wednesday, 1 April 2015 2.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1SJ

Contact: Vicky Hibbert  Email: vicky.hibbert@surreycc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

3.

PROCEDURAL ITEMS

4.

Members' Questions

5.

Public Questions

6.

Petitions

7.

TERMS OF REFERENCE AND SCHEME OF DELEGATION FOR OFFICERS pdf icon PDF 98 KB

    Surrey County Council and Buckinghamshire County Council have established a Joint Committee to take responsibility for executive Trading Standards functions of both authorities. The Joint Committee takes effect from 1 April 2015. It will be necessary to ensure that the Joint Committee acts within its agreed terms of reference and that powers that are exercised by officers are properly delegated to them. Prior to the formation of the Joint Committee this was done by the respective local authorities. This report enables the Joint Committee to agree the draft terms of reference and relevant scheme of delegation that will be needed as a result of the new joint arrangements.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    Lee Ormandy, Legal and Governance Manager

    Phil Dart, Service Director, Buckinghamshire County Council

    Yvonne Rees, Customer and Communities Strategic Director, Surrey County Council

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Head of Trading Standards introduced the report and noted that the meeting was the first meeting of the Joint Trading Standards Committee.  He informed the Committee that the legal framework of the new service would be based on the delegation of decisions to the Committee.  He added that the new service would build on the strengths of both authorities.  Both local authorities had agreed to delegate their Trading Standards functions to the new Joint Committee.  In turn the Joint Committee needed to delegate the Trading Standards responsibilities to the new joint service and the identified officers

    2.    An Advisory Member queried the Committee’s membership, particularly when one of the two voting members gives apologies.  Officers responded that a Cabinet Member from the relevant authority would be required to attend in order to vote in the event of an apology. 

    3.    The Committee were informed that the Trading Standards Board would meet quarterly and that the service would be subject to scrutiny within Surrey and Buckinghamshire’s current Select Committee structure.  The Trading Standards Joint Service Committee would meet every six months and alternate locations between Surrey and Buckinghamshire.  Positive and regular engagement with a variety of Members would be encouraged.

     

    RESOLVED:

    ·         That the Committee approves the Scheme of Delegation as detailed in the report

    ·         That the Committee approves the draft Terms of Reference as detailed in the submitted report

     

    Action/further information to be provided:

     

    None.

     

8.

A NEW JOINT TRADING STANDARDS SERVICE - PRIORITIES AND PERFORMANCE MEASURES pdf icon PDF 221 KB

    Surrey and Buckinghamshire County Councils have decided to build on the success of their Trading Standards teams to create a new joint Trading Standards Service.

     

    This report summarises the rationale for this new approach and outlines the benefits for residents and businesses in both counties. 

     

    The Joint Committee has a responsibility to provide strategic leadership and direction, effective governance and oversight of the joint service. In doing so it needs to consider and agree the performance measures for the joint service for the year ahead.

     

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:
    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    Lee Ormandy, Legal and Governance Manager

    Phil Dart, Service Director, Buckinghamshire County Council

    Yvonne Rees, Customer and Communities Strategic Director, Surrey County Council

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Head of Trading Standards introduced the report and expressed that the nature of crime is changing which means Trading Standards must also change to tackle this, he added that the merging of the two authorities ensures greater resilience, an enhanced profile, expertise sharing and greater opportunities to generate income.  The Committee were informed that the new vision and service priorities reflect both Counties own priorities which include protection, economic prosperity, health and wellbeing and customer focus.  It was noted that the services priorities comply with the respective corporate strategies as this was thoroughly considered.

    2.    The Committee were informed that the joint service was undertaking the use of intelligence to clamp down on rogue traders and use preventative strategies.  Greater use of social media was being used to support this.  Support for local business was also being increased and an increase of Primary Authority Partnerships (PAPs) had already occurred as a direct result of the new Joint Service.

    3.    Officers informed the Committee that the two areas that had not yet had performance monitoring measures implemented were customer service and innovation.  The customer service element focused much around the service being accessible, these would be developed in time.

    4.    There was a discussion around income generation, the Committee were informed that this relates largely to the expansion of services for businesses, in particular increasing the number of PAP’s. 

    5.    Officers gave the Committee an overview of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and explained that it regulates how authorities use investigative tools and tackle fraudulent traders and scams where individuals often take steps to try to hide their identity.  Each local authority needed to have its own policies and procedures for using RIPA and this would continue in future. Where RIPA is to be used by the joint service it will first be approved centrally at a senior level within the service and then be subject to the systems and procedures in Buckinghamshire or Surrey as appropriate. All RIPA requests also need to be approved in advance by the Magistrates Court.  In addition members scrutinise RIPA related activity regularly in both local authorities and both are also subject to external inspection and scrutiny. The most recent inspection of Surrey by the Surveillance Commissioner was very positive about the use of RIPA within the authority. Further training on RIPA for officers in the new joint service would take place later on in the month.

    6.    The Committee congratulated officers in Trading Standards on the good and timely work completed for the merger and added the service could now cope better when faced with a crisis.

     

    RESOLVED:

    ·         The Committee considered and noted the reasons for the creation of the shared service and the benefits that will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

ENFORCEMENT POLICY AND SERVICE CRITERIA - UPDATED FRAMEWORK pdf icon PDF 134 KB

    The Trading Standards Joint Committee is asked to endorse an updated Enforcement Policy and Service Criteria for use by the Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards Service (the Trading Standards Service).

     

    The proposed policy and criteria provides an updated framework to ensure that the Trading Standards Service promotes efficient and effective approaches to regulatory inspection and enforcement without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    Lee Ormandy, Legal and Governance Manager

    Phil Dart, Service Director, Buckinghamshire County Council

    Yvonne Rees, Customer and Communities Strategic Director, Surrey County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Legal and Governance Manager introduced the report and informed the Committee that the Enforcement Policy provides an updated framework setting out how business and others will be regulated in a fair and consistent manner  He added that the service criteria  includes a risk matrix analysis to prioritise and assess service demand.

    2.    The Committee queried the relationship with the respective policing areas and it was responded that local relationships and partnerships with the police were currently very positive.  In Buckinghamshire the Trading Standards team includes a seconded serving Police officer and this would continue in the new joint service. The new service will continue to work closely with the respective Police services. Current multi agency enforcement group membership would be unaffected. 

    3.    The Committee discussed the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) and noted that any amendments would detail a positive impact.  A question was raised regarding the Care Act and if this would affect carers in respect to the EIA, the Legal and Governance Manager agreed to review this.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    ·         The Committee endorsed the updated Enforcement Policy and Service Criteria

     

    Action/further information to be provided:

     

    ·         The Legal and Governance Manager agreed to investigate whether the Care Act had any implications for carers in the submitted Equality Impact Assessment.

     

10.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING