The Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service Joint Committee is asked to note the performance of the service for financial year from April 2017 to March 2018, and quarter one of the current financial year from April 2018-June 2018. The information provided covers performance against the seven high level indicators agreed by this Joint Committee and in relation to the service budget.
Declarations of interest:
There were none.
Mr S Ruddy, Head of Trading Standards
Ms A Poole, Deputy Head of Trading Standards
Ms A Poole, Assistant Head of Trading Standards presented the report.
The Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service Joint Committee had been asked to note the performance of the service for the financial year from April 2017 to March 2018, and Quarter 1 of the current financial year from April 2018 – June 2018. The information provided covered performance against the seven high level indicators agreed by the Joint Committee and in relation to the service budget.
The Chairman noted all the factors provided by Head of Trading Standards and enquired about the entire cost of the department and all the activities.
Key Performance Indicators were discussed as followings:
The Chairman stated that Trading Standards would need to ensure competitive prices in order to create more business.
Mr Walsh stated that the prices set were low in comparison to the commercial world.
Mr Ruddy confirmed that Trading Standards were charging moderately compared to other local authorities – the Service is at the top end, but is not at the top of what LA’s are currently charging. The Chairman appreciated that Trading Standards were doing an excellent job and were heading in the right direction.
It was noted that the position of the UK after leaving the EU was still unclear. The Chairman asked for further regular updates to come back to the Committee.
ACTION: Ms Poole & Mr Ruddy
Key points from the discussion:
equated to around 3% of the planned budget).
The summary of budget position had been shown on page 49 of the report.
Ms Poole stated that Trading Standards had an underspend of £94.000 for the joint service and it was being split proportionately. Trading Standards were trying to maintain that underspend as the year progressed.
A member of the committee stated that it was not good to keep vacancies open to save money as this would not be good for the service. Ms Poole stated that Trading Standards have been through a re-structure and Mr Ruddy stated that they were now actively trying to recruit to these positions as the Trading Standard Officers were crucial for front line services, corporately there had been restrictions on recruitment but these were not being applied to Trading Standards Officers. The Chairman agreed to maintain the underspend.
Ms Poole highlighted that there was a programme to achieve additional savings. A joint board meeting was taking place in November 2018 to review the budget and continue to look for opportunities to look for additional savings.
Ms Poole stated that performance was summarised in the report which included which showed overall performance rating as green.
Ms Turner-Stewart queried whether the performance indicators were stretching enough, given that they were all reported as green. This was discussed and it was requested that officers consider this further and make suggestions to the next Board meeting.
ACTION: Mr Ruddy
The Chairman highlighted recent concerns about an article in Daily telegraph regarding the performance of the service and Ms Poole stated that, since the restructure, Trading Standards have a team focusing on prevention work.
Ms Poole had also contacted the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team and highlighted that some of the early data contained approximately 40% to 50 % of those affected who had died by the time the lists reached local authorities. Ms Poole stated that this would be one of the reasons that the figures for those visited had been lower than 100%.
Mr Ruddy stated that individual local authorities dealt with national scams very differently, many other local authorities had said that the demand was too high and would not take all the referrals possible from the NTS Scams Team. In Bucks and Surrey, all referrals are received from the NTS Scams Team. Checks are done to make sure the person is still there and then as assessment is made by an officer whether a visit would be appropriate. Chronic scam victims sometimes need significant support to reduce their social isolation, and volunteers help with this which can often be needed for a considerable length of time.. The Chairman stated that reducing social isolation and getting communities to look out for each other was one of the drivers for Street Associations and would help in connecting with neighbours. The Chairman requested Ms Poole to write a report in response to the article.
ACTION: Ms Poole
The Chairman appreciated volunteers helping with Trading Standards work which had been a backbone for the services delivered.
The Joint Committee noted the Performance and Budget Report.