Agenda Item No 7
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 27 June 2017
Report of the Director of Environment and Housing Services
Overview and Update on the Shared Regulatory Service
Purpose of the Report
- This report provides an update on the work undertaken by the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS).
- The Committee is asked to consider, note and agree the contents of the attached report.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- The report apprises the Committee of the work of the service and the progress toward completing the implementation programme.
- The SRS has a Business Plan that was developed in consultation with stakeholders, which informs and directs the work of the service and contributes toward the corporate priorities of each partner Council. The service has five key aims, namely,
- Safeguarding health and wellbeing
- Protecting the vulnerable
- Improving the local environment
- Supporting the local economy
- Maximising the use of our resources
- This report contains information outlining how the service is working to achieve better outcomes for the residents and businesses within the region through a series of different actions and work programmes. The report provides an overview of actions undertaken rather than a full breakdown of activities; these will be reported in the Annual report submitted to the Committee in June 2017.
Relevant Issues and Options
ICT and mobile working update
- Implementation of the Single Database
- The Tascomi database went live in mid-February and has replaced the four instances of Civica Flare that had been in use since prior to the creation of the Shared service.
- The implementation followed months of planning which saw the Service working closely with the information management leads for the three participant authorities to ensure that data migration, archiving and deletion were carried out in accordance with best practice and the data protection principles.
- A number of data cleansing issues remain which are being worked through, but already the benefits of the single database for the single service are being realised as follows:-
- Consistent processes for data entry and processing
- Being a cloud based system, staff can access Tascomi at any time of the day, regardless of location, and this is further enhancing the SRS agile working ethos
- Also as a result of the system being cloud based, there is no longer a dependence on the traditional Council operated infrastructure, and this represents an innovative approach to the delivery of services for the partner councils
- There is no longer a need for all three IT Departments to maintain individual databases as this responsibility now rests with the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
- Following the detailed archiving and migration processes in the run up to Tascomi going live, the service data is more robust supporting the goal of a more resilient service
- Duplication of effort has been eliminated and processes around performance management, business planning, information requests and similar have been streamlined.
- Moving forward, there are opportunities for linking into the planned Public Protection Cymru initiative as authorities move to Tascomi.
- The Service now looks forward to developing further functionality within the Tascomi system to ensure that the full potential of the system is being realised.
- Financial outturn 2016/17
- With regard to the financial position, the Shared Regulatory Service has completed its first full year of trading, and achieved an overall underspend of £173k against a gross revenue budget of £9.187m. A report outlining details of the provisional outturn for the year is elsewhere on this agenda.
- The net surplus of £173k will be held within the Usable Reserves element of the Balance Sheet until the annual accounts have been signed off by the Wales Audit Office.
- The Joint Working Agreement states that the treatment of any surplus or deficit balance held by the Joint Service requires agreement by the Joint Committee following completion of the audit of the annual accounts. Proposals for the distribution or recovery of funds from the legacy Authorities will be brought to the September 2017 Committee for approval.
- Joint Committee members have asked the service to provide data on activity levels to help reassure local members that SRS activity continues to tackle issues across the region. Performance data for 2016/17 is set out at Appendix 1 and is being reported to each Council in line with the legacy performance management regimes and existing service plans.
- A presentation on the current performance will be provided at the Joint Committee meeting.
- Major event support - UEFA Champions League
- For over six months, Shared Regulatory Services staff have been involved in the planning of the largest event ever to be staged in Cardiff, the UEFA Champions League finals. Working closely with the event organisers, UEFA, the Football Association of Wales and Cardiff Council, advice and support have been provided over this time on a range of regulatory issues.
- With the event taking place between 1st and 4th June and the eyes of the world firmly on South Wales, multi-disciplinary teams of staff monitored the various event locations over this time to protect the wellbeing of event visitors and reputable businesses alike. The teams carried out checks to ensure amongst other things that:-
- Brands were not being counterfeited
- Premises selling alcohol were doing so within their licence conditions
- Food on sale was safe and accurately presented
- Unsafe goods were not being sold
- Taxis were operating within their licence conditions
- Any ambush marketing was removed
- Effective communication with all partners, targeted enforcement action where it is needed was delivered through the SRS integrating with the Cardiff Council City Operations suite that had access to CCTV across the city and played an integral part in the smooth and safe running of the whole event.
- The service has a number of investigations underway locally into alleged puppy farming. This can often be a highly lucrative practice with little regard for the wellbeing of the animals nor the satisfaction of customers who will invariably have handed over significant sums of money for puppies. In an on-going case, warrants have been executed and a number of arrests have been made. The concerns relate to the welfare of the breeding bitches and puppies, the accuracy of the descriptions applied to the animals and breaches of licence conditions. Clearly, this is a worrying trend in activity, and Joint Committee will be updated as the problem is tackled and investigations progress.
- Bridgend Estates Engagement Project' (BEEP) aims to support businesses to effectively manage a safe, healthy and more prosperous workplace in line with HSE's strategy 'Helping Great Britain Work Well'. Managing the health and wellbeing of workers improves organisational performance and reduces the cost of ill health and absence, which last year cost the Welsh economy £500 million.
- The project was trialed on Brackla and Bridgend Estates (38 businesses) last year to establish the level of health and safety compliance and business's receptiveness to receiving support from external agencies. This project identified key weaknesses in reporting of accidents, managing risk assessments, fire safety, working at height and asbestos (to name a few), 87% employers and managers reported an interest in attending a business forum.
- As a result, this year BEEP has been extended to all 23 estates in Bridgend and in partnership with HSE, PHW and local businesses and enterprises, SRS will be working with over 500 businesses throughout the 23 estates in Bridgend County Borough concluding with a free workshop to be held in September 2017.
- Food Standards Agency Audit
- During March The Shared Regulatory Service was the first collaborative service to be audited as part an audit programme by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The audit was conducted in line with the terms of the local authority Framework Agreement on Official Feed and Food Controls and associated guidance. The draft audit report has been received and officer are currently responding to the initial feedback from the auditors.
- Late last year, the Welsh Government introduced legislation to require takeaway food businesses to publish a bilingual statement on certain hardcopy publicity materials directing customers to the food hygiene ratings website.
- If a takeaway leaflet or menu shows food for sale, the price and a way of ordering the food without visiting the premises, it will also have to include a statement which will remind customers they can check the hygiene rating of the business on the FHRS website. Consumers can now ask the food business for their food hygiene rating when they order.
- Wales was the first country in the UK to introduce a statutory food hygiene-rating scheme in November 2013 when the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 made it mandatory for food businesses to display their food hygiene rating on their premises.
- Details of recent cases investigated by the SRS that have resulted in prosecution are set out in Appendix 2 to this report.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The Participants' contribution towards the Shared Regulatory Service is recharged on a quarterly basis, based upon the approved budgets for 2016/17. Accounting for the full year will reported to the Committee in 2017 at the Annual General Meeting.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- There are no immediate sustainability or climate change implications associated with this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- The legal implications were contained in the relevant Cabinet and Council reports.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- The crime and disorder implications were contained in the relevant Cabinet and Council reports.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- The Equality implications were contained in the relevant Cabinet and Council reports.
- The key service and improvement objectives contained in the SRS Business Plan identify and link to the Corporate Plans of each Council.
Policy Framework and Budget
- The adopted Scrutiny regime will engage in the review and developments of plans, policies and strategies that support the corporate objectives of each Council.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- No specific consultation has been undertaken in relation to this report, although Members will appreciate that considerable consultation and engagement has been and continued to be undertaken with the Trade Unions and staff.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- The SRS is currently scrutinised through the arrangements in place at each partner Council.
Dave Holland - Head of Shared Regulatory Services
Corporate Director, Bridgend County Borough Council
Director of Environment, City of Cardiff Council
Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Director of Environment & Housing Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council