Agenda and minutes

Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee
Wednesday, 2 November 2016 11.30 am

Contact: Andrew Baird 

Items
No. Item

12/16

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

13/16

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING [2 March 2016} pdf icon PDF 122 KB

14/16

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

15/16

PROCEDURAL ITEMS

15/16a

Members' Questions

15/16b

Public Questions

16/16

Petitions

17/16

Joint Service Mid-Year Performance Update pdf icon PDF 116 KB

    The Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service Joint Committee is asked to note the performance of the Service in the first half of the financial year, since April 2016. The report covers performance against seven high level indicators as well as details of performance against the service budget.

     

    The information provided shows that, overall, the Service if performing well and is delivering excellent results against key performance indicators and that it is projected the Service budget will be under spent at outturn, achieving all the savings projected in the Business Case for the shared service and exceeding income generation targets for the year.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Michele Manson, Business Development Manager, Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service

    Phil Dart, Service Director for Communities, Buckinghamshire County Council

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards, Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service

    Yvonne Rees, Strategic Director Communities, Surrey County Council

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1. The Joint Committee received an introduction to the report from officers who informed Members that Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service (Trading Standards) had demonstrated strong performance against all of its Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Attention was drawn to Trading Standards’ performance in areas such as income generation where the service was significantly ahead of target. The Joint Committee was also advised that Trading Standards continued to take robust enforcement action where necessary.
    2. The Joint Committee heard that the service had achieved direct savings for residents of £117,994 in the year to date, ahead of the same time last year.. Members were advised, however, that savings were not evenly distributed across each quarter Members stated that KPI 1 should make clear that a reduction in the number of scams and illegal trading practices taking place across Buckinghamshire and Surrey, which was the primary objective of Trading Standards, would ultimately lead to decreased direct savings for residents through scams prevented against money recovered afterwards. Officers indicated that they would consider how the KPIs could be amended to better reflect the impact of prevention.
    3. Members sought clarification on the proportion of funds collected by Trading Standards arising from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) that the service was entitled to retain. Officers noted that in general when the service was both investigator and prosecutor we would recover a third of the money collected through, POCA after any compensation payable to victims with the remaining two thirds being between the Home Office and the Courts. Discussions took place on whether Trading Standards received a fair allocation of money confiscated through POCA. The Joint Committee was advised that the priority for POCA was ensuring compensation for victims.
    4. The Joint Committee asked whether defence lawyers were continuing to argue that Trading Standards Services nationally were taking action under POCA inappropriately. Officers confirmed that this defence of “abuse of process” was sometimes begun, it had not been successful. Officers confirmed that the service followed existing policies, legislative requirements, and government guidance on the use of POCA hence minimising the risk of successful legal challenge.
    5. Data showed that the level of penalties imposed and number of convictions was lower than at the same time for the previous year. Officers advised Members that 2015/16 had been an exceptional year for prosecuting rogue traders and that the results from 2016/17 should be considered in this light. It was highlighted, however, that the service had successfully prosecuted two significant cases since publication of the figures in the report. Officers further advised that the performance data didn’t capture civil actions where Trading Standards had secured court  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17/16

18/16

Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Plan 2016 - 2017 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

    The Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Service Plan (known as the ‘FSA Plan’) is a statutory plan required to be produced annually by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

     

    The overall structure follows guidance from the FSA and includes the necessary facts and statistics to ensure the document is valid as a statutory plan. The statistical and financial content is different to last year as it relates to the new joint service.

     

    This ‘statutory’ Plan is required to be submitted to the ‘relevant Member Forum for approval’. In approving this Plan, the Joint Committee will be establishing a framework that will meet the expectations of the FSA. The FSA Plan is a public document and will be made available via the website and in printed version to anyone on request.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    David Pickering, Public Health & Compliance Manager, Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service

    Phil Dart, Service Director for Communities, Buckinghamshire County Council

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards, Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service

    Yvonne Rees, Strategic Director Communities, Surrey County Council

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1. An introduction to the report was provided by officers who informed Members that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) required the Joint Committee to sign off Trading Standards’ Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Service Plan 2016-2017. The Committee was advised that efforts had been made to make the Plan more user friendly for businesses but that the FSA did require it to contain specific information which meant there was limited scope for changes.
    2. The Joint Committee inquired about the extent to which Trading Standards and Environmental Health collaborated in respect of regulating and inspecting businesses through out Buckinghamshire and Surrey. Officers acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve how effectively Trading Standards and Environmental Health worked together so that they were able to share information across both organisations.
    3. Discussions took place regarding FSA’s audit of the effectiveness of Trading Standards’ feed controls. Officers advised that the outcome of the audit had generally been positive with the FSA’s concerns relating to data management and that Trading Standards were not visiting feed producers frequently enough.
    4. The Committee agreed that the results of the Feed Audit should be put forward for consideration by SCC’s Statutory Responsibilities Network.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    1. FSA Feed Audit outcome to be put forward for consideration by SCC’s Statutory Responsibilities Network.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee approve the 2016/17 Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Service Plan (the FSA Plan).

     

19/16

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING