Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Boardrooms 7&8 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Joe Kwateng, Governance Officer  0208 937 1354 Email: joe.kwateng@brent.gov.u

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Minutes:

RESOLVED:-

 

That Councillor Long be elected as Chair for the meeting.

2.

Declarations of personal and prejudicial interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant financial or other interest in the items on this agenda.

Minutes:

None.

3.

Welcome

Minutes:

The Board welcomed Chris Whyte, Operational Director of Environment Service, to the meeting.

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:-

 

that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 23 November 2017 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

5.

Matters arising

Minutes:

Harrow’s Use of Website

Mr. Simon Legg (Senior Regulatory Service Manger) reported that that it was still the intention to see if Harrow’s website can be linked to the Trading Standards section of the Brent website. Work was being done to update the website to  bring it in line with the new Data Protection Rules.

 

Proposal for Providing a POCA/Planning Enforcement Service to Harrow

Mr. Simon Legg reported that he had had a meeting with the relevant service Director in Harrow to progress the proposal for providing a POCA Planning Enforcement Service to Harrow and although a lot of work was being done nothing concrete had resulted thus far.  He undertook to circulate by email to all members and officers of the Board about further details of the meeting to enable Harrow members to find out what was happening with the proposal.

6.

Deputations

Minutes:

None.

7.

Trading Standards Work Plan 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 280 KB

This report provides Members with information concerning Brent & Harrow Trading Standards proposed work plan during 2018/19.

Minutes:

Members considered a report that provided information concerning Brent & Harrow Trading Standards proposed work plan for 2018/19.  The Work Plan aimed to set out some of the priority areas for the coming year and provided a guide to the expected levels of performance by each of the Borough’s teams. The plan also offered flexibility to assist meeting unexpected demands and to adapt Service delivery as required, to meet emerging threats or respond to major investigations.

 

Mr. Simon Legg (Senior Regulatory Service Manager) drew members’ attention to how the priority areas were determined on a national, regional and local basis. He continued that local boroughs were not bound by the priority areas  set by National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) or the London Trading Standards (LTS) who represent the 33 local authority Trading Standards Services across London but we would support these themes insofar as possible.  The priority areas were as follows:

 

Doorstep Crime and Mass Marketing Fraud

Fair Trading – focusing on sales of second-hand cars

Intellectual Property Crime (counterfeiting)

Product Safety

Illicit tobacco

Underage Sales

Letting agents

 

He continued that intelligence suggested that illicit tobacco and the focus on letting agents were becoming a larger problem across London. He explained that the rise in the number of businesses supplying illicit tobacco had resulted from the introduction of plain packaging rules for cigarettes and the ban on selling packets of 10 cigarettes. In relation to letting agents, the spotlight remained on this market particularly in London where competitive demand for housing had resulted in some businesses trading unfairly and exploiting clients who were desperate to find housing and accommodation in the capital.

 

Mr Simon Legg clarified that on a local basis, each Borough had a documented corporate plan setting out what it aimed to accomplish in the future and how this would be achieved. Brent has a ‘Borough Plan 2015-2019’ and Harrow an ‘Ambition Plan 2020’. These plans highlighted the broad subject areas listed as priority areas for each Council which included the following; Better Lives, Better Place, Better Locally, Build a Better Harrow, Be More Business-like and Business Friendly and Protect the Most Vulnerable and Support Families.  Each area of work had each been given consideration including an assessment of the intelligence available and from that, officers were able to focus where resources should be best deployed to achieve the biggest impact. This approach was in line with the IOM (National Trading Standards Intelligence Operating Model) as well as contributing to the relevant Borough objectives.  In reference to the assumptions set out within the report, he drew attention to the areas of work identified as high, medium and low priorities.  These included advice on credit card charges, consumer credit and illegal lending and misleading description for vehicles which were not roadworthy.

 

He indicated that work volumes would be kept under continuous review and reported quarterly, to ensure that they were being implemented effectively and progress was being made.  He highlighted the lack of resources in both Boroughs (3.5 and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Trading Standards Fees and Charges 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

This report provides Members with information concerning the proposed level of fees and charges to be made by the Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service during 2018/19.

Minutes:

Members received a report that provided them with information concerning the proposed level of fees and charges to be made by the Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service during 2018/19.  Mr Simon Legg (Senior Regulatory Service Manager) explained that in accordance with Paragraph 13(f) of the Consortium Agreement between the London Borough of Brent and the London Borough of Harrow, Brent’s Cabinet agreed a new ‘Fees and Charges Policy’ in February 2018 which provided delegated authority to permit Strategic Directors to vary fees within set parameters. Where appropriate circumstances provided, the Service had utilised this policy to maximise income and to create an efficient mechanism for agreeing fees without the need to bring reports before Cabinet or other decision making bodies.

 

During 2018, Brent Council’s Civic Enterprise Board suggested a raise of 10% across all fees which were not statutory (which most of the Service fees are).

 

Trading Standards fees fall into one of three categories, as follows:

 

Statutory fees

This was set by statute and its application is nationwide, although some offer discretion to vary the amount up to a maximum value. Generally, local authorities have no discretion to change these fees although on occasions, the legislation will permit a fee to be set locally up to a maximum value. The following fees fall under this heading:

 

Explosive License Fees

The fees to process explosive (firework) licenses, charged by the Harrow team are set by the Health and Safety Executive by virtue of the Health and Safety and Nuclear Fees Regulations 2016. These fees vary subject to the exact License required although they were typically £54 to renew a short term license rising to £500 for an all year round license.  In Brent, this function is carried out by the Licensing Team who receive the income, it was not a responsibility for Trading Standards. There have been no change to the fees for explosive licenses in the last 12 months from the figures reported to the Board last year on 11 May 2017

 

Letting and/or Property Management Penalty Fees

Other forms of statutory fee charged by the Service are  found under the Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  To bring Brent’s fees in line with those charged by Harrow, it was agreed that the penalty notice charge for breaches of the Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014 be set at the maximum of £5,000, reduced by 50% for an early payment made within 14 days.  This decision conflicts with the charges imposed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 where the penalty charge is set at £5,000 with no discount for early payment. It was suggested that the discount for early payment be removed for breaches of the Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Trading Standards Scrutiny Report Update for Joint Advisory Board pdf icon PDF 104 KB

This report provides Members with information regarding the Service’s appearance before the Resources & Public RealmScrutiny Committee on 9 January 2018.

 

I have attached appendices A and B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board received a report that provided information regarding the Trading Standards Service’s appearance before the Resources & Public RealmScrutiny Committee on 9 January 2018. 

 

Mr Simon Legg (Senior Regulatory Services Manager) informed members that officers’ presentation to the Resources & Public RealmScrutiny Committee on the following three subject areas were well received; analysis on the role of Trading Standards in 2017, the areas being targeted by the Service and what the public expected of the Trading Standards Service.  He added that the Committee members appeared engaged and interested to learn about the wide ranging duties carried out by Trading Standards Staff. The meeting also gave staff an opportunity to highlight some of the Service’s achievements on a 1-1 basis with members after which the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny made the following two recommendations: 

 

The first consideration was to ensure that the Service’s priorities were underpinned by an invest-to-save basis with the view to protecting the borough’s most vulnerable residents.  The second was to report back with an analysis of these findings. Mr. Legg added that this process was now underway with a document of existing and new areas for income generation presented to Cllr Miller (Lead Member for Stronger Communities) for consideration.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

10.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services (London Borough of Brent) or his representative before the meeting in accordance with the constitutions of both councils.

Minutes:

None.