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Agenda Item No 7

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 4th February 2016

 

Report of the Head of Shared Regulatory Services

 

Compliance and Enforcement Policy

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise the Joint Committee of the results of the consultation exercise authorised by the Committee on 3 November 2015, and to seek approval for the implementation and use of the revised Compliance and Enforcement Policy by the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS).

Recommendations

  1. The Joint Committee agrees the content of this report and approves the use of the revised Compliance and Enforcement Policy by the SRS.
  2. That the Joint committee recommends the adoption of this policy by the respective Councils for those functions undertaken by the SRS on their behalf.

Reasons 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 for the SRS ensures consistency across geographical boundaries and across the various areas of work. A single policy ensures that any legal challenges to enforcement action can be mitigated effectively.
  2. The decision to prosecute breaches of legislation enforced by the SRS rests with each Council and, as such, the policy will need to be agreed and adopted by each Local Authority.

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 from the SRS as a law enforcement agency.
  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.
  4. On 3rd November 2015, the Committee decided to issue the draft policy for consultation with stakeholders and to consider the Policy again at its next meeting.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. In order to capture the views of those affected by the activities of the Service, a consultation exercise on the draft Policy was undertaken with a range of stakeholders, partners and members of the three authorities.
  2. The consultation was conducted over a 28 day period ending on 18 December 2015. Respondents were able to participate via a range of channels including via the Shared Regulatory Services website, email and in hard copy format.
  3. The consultation exercise generated 12 responses, which are summarised in Appendix A. All comments were considered and some amendments made to the Policy as a result. The Shared Regulatory Service response to each comment can be found in Appendix A.
  4. The revised policy is set out at Appendix B and members are asked to consider the amended policy and agree the recommendations in the report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no significant resource implications associated with this report at this time and the consultation cost was achieved within budget.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Compliance and Enforcement Policy reflects best practice around the better regulation agenda, and in particular, the Regulator's Code. The new Policy will minimise the risk of legal challenge to enforcement actions taken and decisions made on dealing with issues of non-compliance.
  2. Section 8.4.10 relates to the prosecution of offences. The prosecution function is retained by each Council; as such this policy will need to be agreed and adopted by each Council for the functions undertaken by the SRS.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The 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 Compliance and Enforcement Policy was subject to a 28 days consultation exercise with stakeholders, partners and members.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Scrutiny is undertaken at each Council.

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 & Housing Services

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council, City of Cardiff Council, Bridgend County Borough Council

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Dave Holland, Head of Shared Regulatory Services

 

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