Agenda and draft minutes

Buckinghamshire Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee - Wednesday, 24 March 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote via Teams

Contact: Angela Guest 

Media

Items
No. Item

1/21

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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    To receive any apologies for absence and substitutions.

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    Minutes:

    There were no apologies.

     

2/21

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING [23 September 2020] pdf icon PDF 249 KB

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    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.

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    Minutes:

    The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting. It was noted that Steve Ruddy’s name had been spelt incorrectly.

3/21

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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    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.

     

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    Minutes:

    There were none.

4/21

PROCEDURAL ITEMS

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    Additional documents:

5/21

Members' Questions

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    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12pm four working days before the meeting (18 March 2021).

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    Minutes:

    There were none.

6/21

Public Questions

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    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (17 March 2021).

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    Minutes:

    There were none.

7/21

Petitions

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    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting and none have been received.

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    Minutes:

    There were none.

8/21

ACTION TRACKER pdf icon PDF 99 KB

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

     

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    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee noted the actions tracker.

     

9/21

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 99 KB

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

     

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    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme with the amendment of the Tobacco report being listed in the correct year.

     

10/21

PERFORMANCE AND JOINT SERVICE BUDGET pdf icon PDF 184 KB

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    The Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service Joint Committee is asked to note the performance of the service during the financial year April 2020 to 10th March 2021 (Annex A). The information provided for the 20-21 year covers performance against the key indicators agreed by this Joint Committee, additional information linked to Covid priorities and in relation to the service budget.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers introduced the report and provided a brief summary. Members noted the following points in terms of performance:

    ·         Performance had been variable given the impacts and disruption of Covid

    ·         Courts had been impacted by Covid and therefore had been a drop in concluded cases this year.  There had been five convictions this year as opposed to 16 last year.

    ·         Performance indicators were correct to 10 March 2021 and some were only collected quarterly.

    ·         Service priority 2 (annex B of the submitted report) showed a mixed picture but the number of partnerships had increased.  Service priority 3 also showed a mixed picture and it was explained how there was a lot of work undertaken early in the year checking goods at Heathrow.

    2.    In response to a Member query about court delays, officers explained how each case needed to be looked at on its own merit with regards to the ‘public interest’.  It was expected that delays would run into 2022 and even 2023.

    3.    There were less market surveillance projects due to Covid.

    4.    A Member gave praise to the team for coming in on budget despite having a 15% loss on earnings and income. He also liked the snapshot information and thanked the volunteers who put in so much of their time. Officers explained that volunteer support was very much appreciated and offered to write a letter of thanks to each volunteer on behalf of the Committee.  The Committee agreed to this and thanked the officers.

    5.    Officers provided a brief summary on the budget. Members noted the following points in terms of the budget:

    ·         The budget was broadly on track

    ·         Support from central government was a great significance in that without it, a major overspend had been expected.

    ·         There had been other savings around Covid for example reduced travelling and unfilled vacancies.

    ·         Annex A of the submitted report showed the budget for next year which was expected to be affordable and deliverable.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    That officers write a letter of thanks to each volunteer on behalf of the Joint Committee.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    That the Service’s performance be noted.

     

    2.    That the joint service budget for 2021/22 and the identified pressures that will need to be addressed be noted.

     

11/21

COVID RESPONSE pdf icon PDF 186 KB

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    Responding to issues posed by the Covid pandemic have been high priority for Trading Standards during this year.  This report discusses the priorities within this work, what the Service has done to respond and other impacts of the pandemic on the work of the Service.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Steve Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

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

    ·         how the budget had been impacted by Covid and how the service had responded to additional responsibilities taken on

    ·         the service priorities as laid out in the submitted report

    ·         the variety of scams taking place and the engagement with businesses giving advice on requirement and promoting compliance

    ·         the work that had been paused as described in the submitted report

    ·         The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had recognised the increased pressures on local authority regulatory services, namely Environmental Health and Trading Standards.

    2.    A Member asked how the service recruited and upskilled employees for promotion.  Officers explained the apprenticeship programme at level 4 which gave variety of scope of regulatory services and that a level 6 apprenticeship was being developed with employer partners. 

    3.    A Member asked how the paused work was being co-ordinated going forward.  Officers explained that this was constantly being reviewed and that some work would not be completed.  Work that could go forward would be started as soon as restrictions eased.

    4.    In response to a Member question about staff welfare officers explained that staff fatigue could be an issue. The different ways of working had had an impact.  They were proud of how the service had been able to respond in an extremely flexible and agile manner.

    5.    The Committee asked for their sincere thanks be passed on to the team.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the report be noted.

12/21

TRADING STANDARDS TOBACCO WORK pdf icon PDF 258 KB

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    This report considers the Service’s work in relation to tobacco and associated products and is not restricted to the potential sale to children and young people.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    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 points:

    ·         That visits were being used to gather intelligence

    ·         That different tactics were being used with goods being stored off premises in order to escape the sniffer dogs

    ·         Objectives for 2021/22 were set out and the service were working with the fire service and sniffer dogs

    ·         Roadshows did not happen due to Covid and work was taking place with public health on social media messaging

    ·         There was also work being undertaken around safety and fluids associated with e-cigarettes.

    2.    A Member asked about intelligence received in relation to distribution whilst businesses were closed.  Officers responded that some intelligence had come from social media.  They were also liaising with the smoking cessation service to share information.

    3.    In response to a Member question about roadshows officers confirmed that roadshows would be reinstated. The dogs were helpful in engaging people including children and their parents.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee noted the report as a reflection of activity over the financial year 2020 – 2021 and endorsed continued enforcement activities which would be undertaken in 2021– 2022.

13/21

PREVENTION WORK UNDERTAKEN BY TRADING STANDARDS pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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    The information provided shows the range of prevention work the Service has undertaken in the past year.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Amanda Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards

     

    Key points from the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers introduced the report and provided a brief summary of all the work undertaken around scams.  This included media, communications, social media, local/national alert programmes and resident/community focussed training/communication.  Work was also undertaken with business against scams which was focussed at employees who may have information scammers need.

    2.    The Committee passed their thanks to the National Scams Team for all the work they were doing.

    3.    In response to Members questions it was confirmed that:

    ·         Calls could be identified if they were from outside the UK

    ·         The National Scams Team were working at disrupting calls at source.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the report on the Prevention work undertaken by the Service was noted.

14/21

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

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    The next meeting of the Buckinghamshire County Council and Surry County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee will be held on 22 September 2021.

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    Minutes:

    The Committee noted that its next meeting will be held on 22 September 2021.