Agenda and draft minutes

Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee
Thursday, 28 March 2019 11.30 am

Venue: Committee Room C, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Sharmina Ullah 

Items
No. Item

1/19

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2/19

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING [10 OCTOBER 2018] pdf icon PDF 86 KB

3/19

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

    NOTES:

     

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial

    Minutes:

    There were none.

4/19

PROCEDURAL ITEMS

5/19

Members' Questions

6/19

Public Questions

6/19a

Petitions

7/19

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 45 KB

    The Committee is asked to review and agree the Forward Work Programme.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.     Officers noted that the ‘Trading Standards Tobacco Work’ item recorded for the next meeting was a legal requirement to be considered. It was further noted that the Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) and Surrey County Council (SCC) inter-authority agreement stated that an item on ‘Budget and Performance’ should be considered regularly.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

8/19

ACTION REVIEW pdf icon PDF 44 KB

    The Committee is asked to monitor responses, actions and outcomes against actions and recommendations from previous meetings.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.     In regards to action A8/17, Members felt it was reasonable to assume that the lack of public attendance to Committee meetings were due to the lack of contentious items being considered. It was agreed that officers should concentrate of encouraging public engagement outside of Committee meetings by communicating the service’s key messages, including providing advice around the avoidance of rogue traders, to members of the public at the various officer-run ‘roadshows’.

    2.     In regards to action A2/18, officers informed Members that, due to the ongoing national negotiations related to ‘Brexit’, it would be appropriate to reconsider performance indicators once stability had resumed and any impacts of the EU Exit on the Service were clearer. .  

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee agreed the actions tracker.

9/19

PERFORMANCE AND JOINT SERVICE BUDGET pdf icon PDF 157 KB

    The Committee is asked to note the performance of the service for the current year to date. The information provided covers performance against the seven high level indicators agreed by the Committee and in relation to the service budget.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    David Pickering, Trading Standards Manager – Regulation

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.     Officers introduced the report and provided a brief summary. Members noted the following details:

    ·        That the data included in the report was correct up to two weeks before publication.

    ·        The service’s performance was positive against key performance indicators.

    ·        That all key performance indicators with numerical goals were met.

    ·        That the confiscations through the Proceeds of Crime Act were lower than in recent years.

    ·        That the number of convictions of Rogue Traders and Money Launderers was currently 12 and was expected to rise to 14 by the end of the year. 

    2.     In regards to convictions, Members asked if it was usual practice for officers to publicise convictions with the aim of deterring future crime. Officers stated that the service worked closely with communication teams in each Authority and that it aimed to encourage press coverage where possible. Some examples of press coverage could be found on page 29 the report.

    3.     The Committee discussed opportunities to increase volunteering in the service. It was noted that volunteering hours had decreased from 2,282 hours in 2017/18 to 1,756 hours in the first three quarters of 2018/19. Members further discussed the opportunity to cooperate with Fire & Rescue services in each Authority with the aim of encouraging further volunteer engagement. Members also suggested encouraging public volunteering by providing information at the various officer-run ‘roadshows’.

    4.     Members discussed the ‘Ports Project’ which involved the detention of unsafe goods at the point of entry where it was noted that it was an efficient and effective way to protect consumers from potentially harmful products. When considering the graphs in the report, it was noted that the chart on page 37 presented the number of individual items inspected, and that the chart on page 38 presented the number of inspection visits to ports. Members further noted that fulfilment centres may not be accountable for non-compliant products passing through their services.

    5.     Members noted that the number of nuisance calls blocked had increased due to the increased number of call blocking units installed.

    6.     Members discussed the service’s key performance indicators where it was raised that the indicators may not accurately reflect the development and progress of the service due to the overarching goals being out of the service’s control. The Committee asked that this be considered when assessing the key performance indicators in the future.

    7.     The Committee agreed that a report on ‘emerging issues’ for the service be considered at a future meeting.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    A1/19 -  Officers to consider the opportunity to link with the Fire & Rescue services in each Authority to create a joint volunteer recruitment programme and for progress to be reported at the next meeting of the Committee. Officers to also consider how the service could encourage public volunteering at the various officer-run ‘roadshows’.

     

    A2/19 - The Committee agreed that a report on ‘emerging risks’ for the service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9/19

10/19

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE AND SURREY TRADING STANDARDS SERVICE ENFORCEMENT POLICY pdf icon PDF 129 KB

    The Service regularly reviews its Enforcement Policy to reflect changes in the regulatory landscape.

     

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

     

    The proposed policy provides updates to reflect various partnership working and national enforcement that the Trading Standards Service undertakes. Recent commissioning from the National Trading Standards now sees the Trading Standards Service act as the prosecuting authority for investigations carried out by the Advertising Standards Agency and this proposed policy demonstrates the role of the Trading Standards in this partnership.

     

    We have also used this opportunity to make some further minor amendments as highlighted in the proposed policy at Annex 1.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    David Pickering, Trading Standards Manager – Regulation

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.     Members noted the report and its contents.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Trading Standards Joint Committee endorsed the amended Enforcement Policy.

11/19

OFFICIAL FOOD STANDARDS AND FEED CONTROLS SERVICE PLAN 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

    The Food Standards Agency (FSA) requires Trading Standards services to produce an annual Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Service Plan (known as the ‘FSA Plan’).

     

    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.

     

    This “statutory” Plan is required to be submitted to the “relevant Member Forum for approval”. In approving this Plan, the Committee will be establishing a framework that will meet the expectations of the Food Standards Agency.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    David Pickering, Trading Standards Manager – Regulation

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.     Officers introduced the report and provided Members with a brief summary. It was noted that officers were currently working on infographics with the aim of better presenting the data in the Plan.

    2.     The Committee discussed the Trading Standards service cooperation with the National Food Crime Unit of the Food Standards Agency. Members noted that the process for the service and unit collaboration would become clearer once the unit had become more established. 

    3.     When discussing the Staff Development Plan, Members asked for details of apprenticeships taking place in the service. It was noted that there were currently two filled apprentice posts who were both undertaking the Regulatory Services Apprenticeship. It was asked that information relating to apprenticeships in the service be included in future reports.

    4.     Officers informed the Committee that the Trading Standards service sometimes worked in cooperation with Public Health to share best expertise and ensure a coherent message.

    5.     It was noted that the Animal Feed external audit, which had been ongoing for the last three years, had recently come to a close. 

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee approved the Official Food Standards and Feed Controls Service Plan 2019-20.

     

12/19

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

    The next meeting of the Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee will be held on 25 September 2019.

    Minutes:

    The Committee noted that its next meeting will be held on 25 September 2019.

     

    The Committee recognised that this was Cllr Richard Walsh’s last meeting as a member of the Joint Trading Standards Committee and thanked him for his commitment to the Committee’s work over the four years that he was a member.