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Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 3rd November 2015

 

Report of the Head of Shared Regulatory Services

 

Compliance and Enforcement Policy

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise the Joint Committee of the drafting of a Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Shared Regulatory Service.

Recommendations

  1. The Joint Committee agrees the content of this report and endorses consultation with stakeholders on the draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
  2. The Joint Committee considers the Policy again at its next meeting, once consultation with stakeholders has been concluded.

Reason for the Recommendations

  1. Currently, each of the participant councils in the Shared Service has an Enforcement Policy setting out details of the respective approach to enforcement and the principles through which issues of non-compliance are dealt with. Moving forward, a single Policy is required for the Shared Service to ensure consistency across geographical boundaries and across the various areas of work. A single policy ensures that any legal challenges to enforcement action can be more effectively mitigated.

Background

  1. The purpose of an Enforcement Policy is to set out the standards that will be applied by an enforcement agency when dealing with issues of non-compliance, and what residents, consumers and businesses can expect.
  2. Such a policy helps to promote efficient and effective approaches to regulatory inspection and enforcement, and balances the need for improvement in regulatory outcomes with minimising unnecessary burdens on business.
  3. Traditionally based upon the principles of the Enforcement Concordat and the Regulators Compliance Code, local authority Enforcement Policies must now reflect the Regulators Code of 2014 and the regulatory principles required under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Regulators Code is based upon six broad principles:
  • Regulators should carry out their activities in a way that supports those they regulate to comply and grow;
  • Regulators should provide straightforward ways to engage with those they regulate and hear their views;
  • Regulators should base their regulatory activities on risk;
  • Regulators should share information about compliance and risk;
  • Regulators should ensure clear information, guidance and advice is available to help those they regulate meet their responsibilities to comply;
  • Regulators should ensure that their approach to their regulatory activities is transparent.
  1. The Shared Service must be able to demonstrate that it has embraced these principles and this can be achieved through the adoption and use of an Enforcement Policy explaining how the Service responds to issues of non-compliance among those it regulates.
  2. An overarching Compliance and Enforcement Policy has been drafted to cover all areas of work of the Shared Regulatory Service. The inclusion of 'compliance' in the name of the Policy reflects the better regulation agenda and the desire to work, where possible, with reputable businesses to achieve compliance, while taking robust enforcement action against those that flout the law.
  3. The Policy explains how the enforcement actions of the Shared Regulatory Service will
  • Aim to change the behaviour of the offender
  • Aim to eliminate any financial gain or benefit from that non-compliance
  • Consider what is appropriate for the particular offender and offence
  • Be proportionate to the nature of the offence and the harm caused
  • Aim to repair the harm caused by the regulatory non-compliance , where appropriate
  • Aim to deter future non-compliance
  1. A number of area-specific policies sit below the overarching policy and add additional detail where needed to specialist areas of work, for example Food law and Health and Safety.
  2. In order to capture the views of those that will be affected by the activities of the Service it is proposed to consult on the draft Policy set out at Appendix A. Such consultation to include a range of stakeholders and partners
  3. It is envisaged that such a consultation is conducted over a 28 day period and that respondents are able to participate via a range of channels including via the Shared Regulatory Services website, email and in hard copy format.
  4. All comments will be collated and acted upon as appropriate, and the draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy returned to the next meeting of the Joint Committee on 4th February 2016 for Members' approval. Until, the policy for the Shared Service is approved the existing policies identified in the background papers below will continue in force and form the basis for decision making on enforcement action.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are significant no resource implications associated with this report at this time and the consultations costs can be achieved within budget.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy reflects best practice around the better regulation agenda, and in particular, the Regulator's Code. Once adopted across the Shared Regulatory Service, the new Policy will minimise the risk of legal challenge to enforcement actions taken and decisions made on dealing with issues of non-compliance.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The draft Policy seeks to ensure that regulatory decisions will not be influenced by the gender, disability, language, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs or sexual preference of the subject, victims or witnesses.
  2. Through monitoring and review of the Policy, the Shared Service will ensure that its enforcement activity reflects this position and is in keeping with the Equality Statements and Policies of the participant authorities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Having in place a fair and effective Compliance and Enforcement Policy links with the participant authorities' stated objectives around economic growth which are reflected in the Shared Regulatory Service themes of 'Promoting economic development' and 'Supporting reputable businesses to thrive'.
  2. In addition, the new Policy will be central to the Service addressing its theme of 'Tackling and preventing crime and disorder'.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. None

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. As identified above, the draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy will be subject to 28 days' consultation with stakeholders

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. TBD

Background Papers

Bridgend: Public Protection Enforcement Policy 2002.

Cardiff: Enforcement Policy Consumer Protection: December 2010.

Vale of Glamorgan Enforcement policy

Contact Officer

Helen Picton, Operational Manager (Enterprise and Specialist Services)

Officers Consulted

Head of Service, Bridgend County Borough Council

Assistant Director, City of Cardiff Council

Director of Environment and Housing Services

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Dave Holland, Head of Shared Regulatory Services

 

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