Environmental Health enforcement policy
Enforcement for compliance
Inspection and intervention programme
Relevant business activities and/or premises are risk assessed to inform an inspection and/or intervention programme, and the level of risk is reviewed regularly. We will focus our greatest inspection effort on those regulated where risk assessment shows that both:
- a compliance breach or breaches would pose a serious risk to a regulatory outcome or to health or the environment
- there is high likelihood of non-compliance by those regulated. Inspection and intervention frequency will generally be risk based, but may additionally be determined by set, or prescribed, intervals and additional interventions may take place as part of a local or national campaign
Visits are also made to businesses for other reasons, such as advice, as a result of an allegation or for a sample or test purchase and will probably be without prior notice.
The purpose of sampling is to protect public health and the environment and to verify standards. This enables officers to provide information and advice to improve business practices.
A sampling programme sets out samples, test purchases (for example, foodstuffs) the collection of materials (for example soil, air, water) taken in response to enquiries, as a part of a planned survey or exercise or as a result of officer or national initiatives. The programme sets out planned activities and targets for the year, concentrating efforts into risk-assessed areas of trade or products in order to ensure the most effective use of resources.
Primary authority principle
It is our policy and intention to act as the primary authority for businesses which have their decision making base within the borough, where they so desire. Where businesses have a primary or home authority elsewhere, our officers will contact other relevant local authorities at the earliest practicable time.
Where appropriate we will report incidents and enforcement actions to relevant bodies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry, Health and Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency, Environment Agency, DEFRA, DVLA, DWP, Trading Standards, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Office of Fair Trading and any other statutory bodies, and respond appropriately to notifications, such as Health and Safety alerts and alerts from the Food Standards Agency.
Information will be shared with other regulators where it is appropriate to do so.
Performance will also be reported where required and publicised in the relevant annual corporate plans.
The authority will work alongside partner agencies in pursuit of the objectives of the serious organised crime strategy which aims to reduce the level of serious and organised crime under the umbrella of the following:
Prosecute and disrupt people engaged in serious organised criminality.
Prevent people engaging in serious and organised crime.
Increase protection against serious and organised crime.
Reduce the impact of this criminality where it takes place.
When conducting enforcement visits, other than for test purchasing or covert purposes, our officers will make their identity known and explain why they are there. Officers may make combined visits with other agencies where there is a shared and/or complimentary enforcement role.
We will record complaints we receive and the action we take in response. We will encourage those who provide information to supply their contact details and explain how the information they provide may be used. Generally we will only be able to take enforcement action if their account can be confirmed in a form admissible to the courts, in other words, a witness statement.
Officers may also identify potential non-compliance as part of their routine duties.
We may use search engines, internet listings companies, and review publically shared social media to establish, for example to confirm if businesses operate from within the borough. Where this information suggests they need to be registered or licenced we will contact them to advise them of their obligation, escalating our actions if they fail to respond promptly.
Officers will only carry out covert surveillance where such action is justified and endeavours to keep such surveillance to a minimum. Any officer intending to acquire data covertly will only do so if the evidence or intelligence sought cannot be obtained by any overt other means. All covert surveillance will be undertaken in accordance with our policy and guidance on the use of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 as amended).
Enforcement in local authority establishments
Officers will carry out enforcement within our owned, occupied or operated premises (for example, the crematorium for pollution, prevention and control and leisure centres, fly tipping on our land) in a manner consistent with any other business. Any serious breaches of law that may be detected in such establishments will be brought to the attention of the responsible Executive Director and Chief Executive without delay.
Contract caterers that operate within our establishments will be assessed in accordance with the Food Law Code of Practice and be inspected accordingly.