Decision details

Continuation of shared Trading Standards Service – JUN22/CMDN/10

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet Member authorised: 


1.    The continuation of the agreement for the delivery of a shared Trading Standards Service by Peterborough City Council (PCC) on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC)  until terminated as set out in the Delegation and Collaboration Agreement; 


2.    The Agreement be varied to incorporate changes as required by the authorities; 


3.    That Peterborough City Council continues to accept the delegation of functions from Cambridgeshire County Council as agreed and listed in the Delegation and Collaboration Agreement; 


4.    The Corporate Director of Resources to make any future amendments to the Agreement in consultation with the Director of Law and Governance or delegated officers;


5.    Authorise the Director of Law and Governance or delegated officers to enter into any legal documentation in relation to this matter.

Reasons for the decision:

Resilience & Succession Planning 


Without the shared service arrangement both PCC and CCC would be unable to meet their minimum statutory responsibilities. The resourcing pressure is growing as Government continue to increase the regulatory burdens on Trading Standards; construction products, food reforms, animal welfare and environmental legislation are all on the horizon.  


The shared service builds resilience for both PCC and CCC enabling the team to respond to peaks in demand and take on major cases whilst maintaining service continuity across the rest of the service.  


With the service expecting to lose operational officers through retirement and qualified officers in short supply nationally it is difficult and often impossible to recruit; training to replace these officers is resource intensive. The collaboration between the councils allows the training burden to be spread across a wider service, lessening the impact on officers and increasing the breadth of experience. The collaboration also enables a ‘training lead’ to take a holistic view of skills and future skills gaps and organise the necessary training and development to meet service needs.  




The breadth of the Trading Standards regulatory remit is much wider than other local authority regulatory services. The shared service provides a level of knowledge and expertise among officers that would be lost should the shared service not continue.  


If the shared service arrangements were to come to an end a proportion of staff would need to TUPE transfer back to CCC. This would be complicated due to the level of integration of the service and the fact that Trading Standards is also a shared service agreement with Rutland County Council. Both PCC and CCC would face resourcing pressures as additional staffing would be required to ensure both councils could meet minimum requirements.  


Countywide Intelligence  


Much of the criminal activity that both PCC and CCC encounter is not limited to Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, but is cross border, regional and national. A shared service allows for better Intelligence gathering across the county in order to tackle such criminal activity.  


Capacity to respond to matters causing greatest harm and detriment to the public will be lost if the service no longer operates jointly.  


Last year during the pandemic the service also handled multiple animal welfare cases, an avian flu outbreak, and assisted many businesses through EU exit changes. This was only possible due to the flexibility and expertise created by the shared service arrangements. 




As well as building resilience, there are several efficiencies seen as a result of the agreement.  


The single management team manages a single budget, develops a single service plan, issues a single set of policies, oversees a single database, and manages risk and business continuity.  


Further efficiencies have also been generated through the reduction in meeting representation, for instance at national meetings and regional subject matter groups, with a representative now attending for both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 


Income generation 


In terms of income generation, because of the close links with Peterborough Environmental Health and Licensing, the Service has been able to create a holistic advice service for business clients, branded ‘Regulatory Companion’, and this combined offering has enabled the Service to secure major clients, enabling the collaboration to compete with competitors in the national Primary Authority Scheme business advice market. The team have since been recognised as one of the top ten providers of Primary Authority in the country by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). 


In addition to Primary Authority chargeable work, the Service has continued to pursue the proceeds of crime from those convicted where there are powers to do so and have also continued to provide chargeable financial investigation services to other Authorities – South Cambridgeshire District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and Thurrock Council. 


The Service has also continued to maximise other income streams, applying each year for national feed inspection funding, public health funding, charging for weighbridge and other weights and measures verification work, and more recently claiming the cost of product safety testing from the OPSS.  


Financial savings were not the driver of the collaboration, though Peterborough has seen savings as a result of the arrangement. 



Alternative options considered:

The Council could decide not to continue the shared service arrangements with CCC. These would then cease on 31st March 2024. This would result in a loss of resilience for both PCC and CCC, as well as an increase in service costs for further staffing in order to meet minimum statutory requirements, increased management costs, purchasing of equipment currently shared across both authorities, membership fees to regional and national groups, and ICT systems. Furthermore there would be a loss of commercial opportunities as the current levels could not be sustained should the two councils operate their own Trading Standards Services, nor could further opportunities be explored.  

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:

Cambridge County Council Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee annual report.  

Publication date: 29/06/2022

Date of decision: 29/06/2022

Effective from: 05/07/2022

Accompanying Documents: