This document sets out what
businesses and others being regulated can expect from our enforcement
officers. It commits us to good enforcement policies and procedures.
It may be supplemented by additional statements of enforcement
The primary function of
central and local government enforcement work is to protect the
public, the environment and groups such as consumers and workers. At
the same time, carrying out enforcement functions in an equitable,
practical and consistent manner helps to promote a thriving national
and local economy. We are committed to these aims and to maintaining
a fair and safe trading environment.
The effectiveness of
legislation in protecting consumers or sectors in society depends
crucially on the compliance of those regulated. We recognise that
most businesses want to comply with the law. We will, therefore,
take care to help business and others meet their legal obligations
without unnecessary expense, while taking firm action, including
prosecution where appropriate, against those who flout the law or
act irresponsibly. All citizens will reap the benefits of this
policy through better information, choice, and safety.
We have therefore adopted the
central and local government Concordat on Good Enforcement. Included
in the term "enforcement" are advisory visits and
assisting with compliance as well as licensing and formal
enforcement action. By adopting the concordat we commit ourselves to
the following policies and procedures, which contribute to best
value, and will provide information to show that we are observing
Principles of Good
In consultation with
business and other relevant interested parties, including
technical experts where appropriate, we will draw up clear
standards setting out the level of service and performance the
public and business people can expect to receive. We will
publish these standards and our annual performance against
them. The standards will be made available to businesses and
others who are regulated.
We will provide
information and advice in plain language on the rules that we
apply and will disseminate this as widely as possible. We will
be open about how we set about our work, including any charges
that we set, consulting business, voluntary organisations,
charities, consumers and workforce representatives. We will
discuss general issues, specific compliance failures or
problems with anyone experiencing difficulties.
We believe that
prevention is better than cure and that our role therefore
involves actively working with business, especially small and
medium sized businesses, to advise on and assist with
compliance. We will provide a courteous and efficient service
and our staff will identify themselves by name. We will
provide a contact point and telephone number for further
dealings with us and we will encourage business to seek advice
/information from us. Applications for approval of
establishments, licenses, registrations, etc, will be dealt
with efficiently and promptly. We will ensure that, wherever
practicable, our enforcement services are effectively
co-ordinated to minimise unnecessary overlaps and time delays.
We will provide well
publicised, effective and timely complaints procedures easily
accessible to business, the public, employees and consumer
groups. In cases where disputes cannot be resolved, any right
of complaint or appeal will be explained, with details of the
process and the likely time-scales involved.
We will minimise the
costs of compliance for business by ensuring that any action
we require is proportionate to the risks. As far as the law
allows, we will take account of the circumstances of the case
and the attitude of the operator when considering action.
We will take particular
care to work with small businesses and voluntary and community
organisations so that they can meet their legal obligations
without unnecessary expense, where practicable.
We will carry out our
duties in a fair, equitable and consistent manner. While
inspectors are expected to exercise judgement in individual
cases, we will have arrangements in place to promote
consistency, including effective arrangements for liaison with
other authorities and enforcement bodies through schemes such
as those operated by the Local Authorities Co-Ordinating Body
on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) and the Local Authority
National Type Approval Confederation (LANTAC).
Principles of Good
Advice from an officer will be
put clearly and simply and will be confirmed in writing, on request,
explaining why any remedial work is necessary and over what
time-scale, and making sure that legal requirements are clearly
distinguished from best practice advice.
Before formal enforcement
action is taken, officers will provide an opportunity to discuss the
circumstances of the case and, if possible, resolve points of
difference, unless immediate action is required (for example, in the
interests of health and safety or environmental protection or to
prevent evidence being destroyed).
Where immediate action is
considered necessary, an explanation of why such action was required
will be given at the time and confirmed in writing in most cases
within 5 working days and, in all cases, within 10 working days.
Where there are rights of
appeal against formal action, advice on the appeal mechanism will be
clearly set out in writing at the time the action is taken (whenever
possible this advice will be issued with the enforcement notice).