Agenda item

Trading Standards Update


1.    Mr Rock introduced the report which included the figures for 2020/2021 and said it reflected the hard work of the Officers during the pandemic. This work was achieved through co-operation with agencies and services, in particular the Public Protection Intelligence Team, Public Protection Communications Team and Community Wardens. Mr Rock highlighted the significant areas of operational activity included in the report and said the service operated across three distinctive areas of work: compliance, investigations, and advice. Mr Rock said the service would face significant changes and challenges at the end of the Brexit transition and a measured approach would be used in appointing staff in critical roles.


2.    Mr Rock said the service continued to face changes in terms of more remote activity, new legislation, and changes to EU legislation to create UK equivalent legislation. The service was engaging regionally with the Southeast Regional Trading Standards Authorities and engaged nationally with government including national panels dealing with imports and controls at the ports.


3.    The Chairman congratulated the Trading Standards Team for their work in adapting to the change imposed upon them over the last two years and asked whether more funding would be made available from central government to cover the additional workload to which Mr Rock said he was optimistic.


4.    Mr Rock responded to comments and questions from the Committee, including the following:


(a)  Asked for an update on dealing with the pressures of Brexit Mr Rock said the changing of dates for the end of the Brexit transition had given more time for a clear plan to be put in place.


(b)  Asked whether changes in society demands were affecting the asks of the service, Mr Rock said the service was intelligence led and operated on a strategic level, with resources directed where needed most. The team assessed and analysed local, regional, and national intelligence from the Public Protection Intelligence Unit and the Citizens Advice Consumer Service to provide the target areas.


(c)  Asked whether there were any training or resource issues within the area of online crime Mr Rock said there was a specialist National Trading Standards E-crime team tackling national issues. Any local online issues were received and monitored, and they had the ability to carry out online investigations.


(d)  Asked whether there was a reason for the increase in import referrals for September Mr Rock said an influx of referrals had been received from the Office of Product Safety and Standards which reflected the increase in imports and referrals.


(e)  Asked which sports grounds had been covered under the Council’s responsibility for overseeing safety at sports grounds Mr Rock said he would provide that information outside of the meeting.


(f)    Asked whether resources were utilised from other areas to deal with the pressures of the pandemic Mr Rock said resources within the service were reallocated with capacity drawn from areas where demand had decreased due to the shutting down of businesses. Additional funding had been received from Public Health and contractors were used to carry out additional work.


5.    It was RESOLVED that the report be noted, and the committee congratulated Mr Rock and the Trading Standards Team for their good work.


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