The Public Protection Manager introduced the report which presented the Committee with the new Compliance and Enforcement Policy for Regulatory Services.
The policy set out how non-compliances with legal requirements should be responded to.
The new Compliance and Enforcement Policy replaced the previous Enforcement Policy and had been written in accordance with the Regulators’ Code which came in to statutory effect this year. The code provided a flexible, principals based, framework for how regulators should engage with those regulated.
The Policy applied to all enforcement practices undertaken by Peterborough City Council Regulatory Services, including Trading Standards, Licensing, Taxi Licensing, Food Hygiene, Health and Safety, Environmental and Pollution Control and Statutory Nuisance.
By adopting this and publishing this policy, the Council would demonstrate its commitment to the principals of good regulation and to working with businesses and the community to secure compliance. It created transparency for all stakeholders as well as supporting the council in its decision making process.
Consultation had taken place with officers in Regulatory Services and on adoption of the policy, training would be provided to all officers to ensure they were familiar with its provisions. A cross section of businesses had also been contacted. In particular, businesses were asked:
· Was the policy generally easy to understand, and if not how could it be improved?
· Did it clearly explain the enforcement sanctions that were available to us as a local authority, and how we may choose the appropriate sanction?
· Did the policy demonstrate that the local authority were trying to act fairly and proportionately at all times?
· Any other comments
Consultation was in progress, although, feedback from businesses to date had been taken on board and incorporated in the policy. Businesses that had responded were generally supportive of the policy and felt it was clear and easy to understand.
Consultation was also taking place with representatives of community groups as well as key partners including, HMRC and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
Members were asked to scrutinise the policy and provide comment or feedback as they considered appropriate.
Observations and questions were raised around the following areas:
· Members were concerned that they had seen licenses for alcohol and tobacco revoked and the stores were shortly back in business and queried how this was dealt with. The Public Protection Manager responded that the Enforcement Team looked at using other mechanisms. Alcohol licenses would be called in for review, this had an impact and sent a clear message out to traders.
· Members queried whether licenses could be taken away from the premises and not the individual. The Regulatory Services Strategic Manager responded that if businesses had operated badly then a license would be revoked and the premises could be closed down. The Enforcement Team were carrying out proactive work to encourage businesses to follow good practice.
· Members queried whether the Food Hygiene rating system was still running. The Public Protection Manager responded that this was a programme managed nationally by Food Standards. Businesses were not currently required to display their certificates.
The Committee agreed for the Enforcement team to advise businesses to display their star ratings for customers.