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Trading Standards Service Plan 2023 to 2024

1.0 Introduction

The Borough of Stockton-on-Tees covers an area of 20,393 hectares and is an area of contrasts, a mixture of busy town centres, urban residential areas and picturesque villages, whilst also maintaining a strong industrial presence. The population of almost 200,000, living in approximately 86,000 households, is increasing steadily, with a 2.8% rise recorded over the last seven years.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has a vital role to play in providing quality services to the people of the Borough. The Council is performing strongly and is committed to improving services for local people through strong leadership, effective partnerships and investment in priorities.

Operating effectively with a growing demand for services alongside continued budget restrictions, provides a real challenge for the Council. This has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic which has had a massive effect on how the Council operates and how it will continue to operate going forward.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has always been recognised as a customer-focused council that delivers value for money and makes effective use of its resources, through strong political and executive leadership, good governance and talented, committed employees. It is these attributes, alongside a planned approach to managing tight budget allocations, that has helped the Authority in protecting frontline services.

Within this setting the Trading Standards Service provides an important regulatory function, carrying out a range of duties aimed at protecting consumers and reputable businesses. This protection is provided in relation to virtually the full range of personal and household goods and services, from the purchase of daily necessities to the arrangement of a mortgage.

Through advice, education, enforcement and partnership working, the primary aim of the Trading Standards Service is to provide a fair and safe trading environment for the benefit of consumers and reputable businesses in Stockton-on-Tees.

The service planning process for Trading Standards is vital in ensuring that resources are allocated to priority areas, which meet the needs and wishes of local consumers and businesses. Taking steps to review, develop and modernise service provision underpin this process and help to identify possible service efficiencies.

Any feedback on this Plan, good or bad, is welcomed and can be made in writing to Trading Standards, 16 Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1TX, by telephone on 01642 526560, or via e-mail at trading.standards@stockton.gov.uk.

2.0 Core Functions

The Trading Standards Service aims to promote open and competitive markets whilst empowering consumers, making it easier for them to resolve problems. Only in a safe and fair trading environment, which protects both consumers and reputable business activity, can the local economy succeed and flourish.

The Service's key areas of responsibility can be shown as follows:

Responsibility

Description

Business Advice

Providing advice and assistance to businesses on all aspects of Trading Standards legislation to raise their awareness and help them comply with their legal responsibilities.

Consumer Advice

Advice and assistance for consumers with problems and disputes arising from the supply of faulty and misdescribed goods and services.

Fair Trading

Protecting against scams, tackling counterfeiting, doorstep crime, disrupting the informal economy and dealing with misleading statements about the price, quality or description of goods and services.

Product Safety

Monitoring all consumer goods to ensure that they are as safe as possible and do not present a risk to health.

Age Restricted Sales

Ensuring age restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco, videos, e-cigarettes and fireworks, are not supplied to children.

Food Standards

Ensuring that food is correctly described and labelled throughout the supply chain, including in relation to food allergen information, and that compositional and nutritional standards are met.

Weights and Measures

Work relating to the accuracy of weighing and measuring equipment in use for trade and the accuracy of quantity declarations made on products.

Consumer Credit

Monitoring the consumer credit licensing regime and ensuring transparency in credit transactions, documentation and advertisements.

Agriculture - Fertilisers and Animal Feed

Registration and inspection of designated animal feed establishments and ensuring that both fertilisers and animal feeds are correctly labelled, safe to use and do not present an on-going risk to animals and the human food chain.

Road TrafficChecking compliance in weight restricted areas to prevent large vehicles from using inappropriate roads and routes, in order to protect buildings, roads and bridges, reduce congestion, protect the environment and help keep pedestrians and other road users safe.

Financial Investigations

Using an Accredited Financial Investigator to restrain and/or confiscate the assets of an offender under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Alcohol Control

Duties as a Responsible Authority under the Licensing Act 2003, especially in protecting children from the harm caused by alcohol.

Tees Valley Measurement Centre

Tees Valley Measurement is jointly funded by Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Trading Standards Services and is subject to a formal partnership agreement. The Centre provides a specialist metrology facility for partner authorities and makes available a specialist calibration service for local industry.

3.0 Service Priorities

Through advice, education, enforcement and partnership working, the primary aim of the Trading Standards Service is to provide a fair and safe trading environment, for the benefit of consumers and reputable businesses in Stockton-on-Tees.

In striving to meet this aim, the Trading Standards Service undertakes a number of activities including:

  • pro-active, intelligence led market surveillance work to ensure legal requirements are met and consumers can shop with confidence. This includes sampling and testing of goods and carrying out business inspections to identify problems before they cause harm
  • advice and support services for businesses to ensure that they can get things right at an early stage and meet their legal obligations. This includes the testing and certification of weighing and measuring equipment and providing tailored business advice
  • providing specialist advice and information to consumers to enable them to make sound, safe and well-informed choices and to help with problems concerning the supply of faulty and misdescribed goods and services
  • responding to complaints from local consumers and businesses and investigating breaches of consumer protection legislation to help prevent harmful and hazardous business practices, prevent detriment to consumers and reputable business and to ensure public safety
  • working in partnership with a number of different organisations and bodies such as other Council services, the Police, the North East Regional Investigations Team and the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, to underpin all of the above activities and to develop and improve service delivery

To help achieve its aim, the service has identified five key service priorities:

  1. ensuring a safe, fair and competitive trading environment.
  2. supporting reputable businesses.
  3. contributing to public health and wellbeing.
  4. protecting the vulnerable.
  5. providing an effective and efficient service.

Each priority has a number of actions and activities identified for the period of this Plan. These are set out in more detail in Section 10 and at Appendix 1.

4.0 Council Priorities

Trading Standards sits within the 'Our People' corporate theme and also makes important contributions to all other corporate themes:

Our People - people are safe, healthy and protected from harm

  • ensuring the safety of all consumer goods
  • dealing with doorstep crime
  • tackling rogue traders
  • protecting the vulnerable from mass marketing scams
  • promoting the wellbeing of children through work to prevent underage sales
  • tackling illegal money lending
  • creating No Cold Calling Zones in designated areas
  • regulating food standards including provisions around allergens, labelling, and compositional requirements
  • tackling the supply of counterfeit and illicit tobacco
  • enforcing controls on the display, advertising and labelling of tobacco
  • restricting the supply of non-compliant vaping products, including sales to children
  • protecting children from the harm caused by alcohol
  • promoting healthy eating and nutritional standards
  • promoting home safety initiatives
  • working closely with partner agencies, both locally and regionally, to tackle rogue traders in targeted operations

Our Places - a place that is vibrant, clean and attractive

  • regulating estate agents, letting agents and property misdescriptions
  • registering and controlling the activities of animal feed establishments
  • monitoring weight restricted areas on roads throughout the Borough, to protect the environment, reduce congestion and keep pedestrians and other road users safe
  • testing the accuracy of 'green' claims
  • regulating rules on construction products, hazardous substances and packaging requirements
  • enforcing regulations concerning the safety of fertilisers and pesticides
  • monitoring the provision of Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates
  • acting as a responsible authority under the Licensing Act to help regulate entertainment activities, late night refreshment and sales of alcohol

Our Economy - a thriving economy where everyone has an opportunity to succeed

  • promoting a fair, safe and equitable marketplace
  • providing comprehensive business advice and support
  • providing a high-quality consumer advice and information service
  • undertaking risk based, comprehensive inspections of local businesses
  • active targeting of rogue traders and trading malpractice
  • tackling product counterfeiting
  • providing a high-quality weights and measures calibration service for local industry

Our Council - a council that is ambitious, effective and proud to serve

  • maintaining professional competency frameworks
  • ongoing commitment to train staff and update skills and knowledge
  • ensuring very high levels of customer satisfaction
  • using an Accredited Financial Investigator to help ensure that criminals do not benefit from their criminal conduct and that where appropriate, their assets are confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

5.0 National Priorities

National Trading Standards Board (NTSB)

NTSB is a group of Chief Trading Standards Officers, representing all regions across England and Wales. The work of the Board is funded by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and the development of an enhanced role for Trading Standards. The NTSB provides leadership, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment across regional and national boundaries. A vast amount of work has been carried out pulling together a national strategic assessment for Trading Standards based on intelligence to identify those areas causing the most detriment to consumers and businesses.

From this strategic assessment, the NTSB has developed a control strategy which outlines the national priorities for intelligence, prevention and enforcement activities.

For 2023/24, NTSB has identified the following priority areas:

  • mass marketing scams
  • doorstep crime and cold calling
  • energy related fraud
  • lettings and estate agency
  • fair trading - used cars
  • fair trading - other misleading practices
  • intellectual property
  • illegal tobacco products

The NTSB has also recognised that the internet and especially social media is a selling platform of choice for rogue traders and is therefore a cross cutting issue across all priorities. As such e-crime is embedded across all the key priority areas of work, in particular looking at those enablers that allow criminals to function, such as, web site hosting, payment providers, fulfilment houses, bank accounts, intermediaries etc.

Another cross cutting theme and enabler is serious and organised crime groups, working across regional and national boundaries.

These priority areas provide a focus for regional and local regulatory activity and collaborative working with partner organisations, delivering national outcomes through local action. Local authorities are empowered to use local discretion and autonomy to select the most appropriate ways to meet the regulatory priorities in their locality.

The Service has considered these national priority areas when setting its own key priorities for 2023 to 2024.

6.0 Regional and National Working

North East Trading Standards Association (NETSA)

North East Trading Standards Association is a regional partnership of the twelve north east local authority Trading Standards Services, working to enhance local service provision and to contribute to meeting local, regional and national priorities. North East Trading Standards Association has sub-groups focussed on specialist areas such as product safety and metrology, which report directly to the Executive.

The North East Trading Standards Association Executive provides strategic direction and is made up of the managers from the region's Trading Standards Services and Regional Investigations Team. The Executive's work is supported by a Regional Coordinator funded via the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).

North East Regional Investigations Team

The North East Regional Investigations Team is a small team of enforcement officers responsible for tackling level 2 (regional) and level 3 (national) criminality. Whilst the team is funded via the National Trading Standards Board, governance is provided through the North East Trading Standards Association Executive. Work can be allocated to the team via the North East Trading Standards Association's National Tasking Group or North East Trading Standards Association's Regional Tasking Group (a subgroup of the Executive).

Regional Intelligence Analyst

A Regional Intelligence Analyst, funded by the National Trading Standards Board, works with Local Intelligence Liaison Officers from each Authority to improve intelligence collection and analysis and to develop intelligence sharing with other enforcement agencies including the three regional Police forces, HMRC, NCA and others.

National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) Teams

The National Trading Standards Board oversees a number of directly funded national teams that undertake enforcement action and co-ordinate national enforcement projects in specific areas, including:

  • The National Estate and Letting Agency Team, jointly based at Powys and Bristol Trading Standards, is the UK's lead regulator under the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Tenant Fees Act 2019
  • The National e-Crime Team, based at North Yorkshire Trading Standards, aims to protect consumers and businesses in England and Wales from internet crime and online fraud
  • The National Scams Team, based at Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, has introduced a referral system allowing local authority officers to engage with local victims on a one to one basis. They also gather intelligence on mass marketing scams and scam victims and raise public awareness of the damage caused by such scams

Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS)

CACS is funded by the government to provide first tier telephone advice on consumer issues. Enforcement actions and the more complex consumer problems, including those requiring follow-up casework are referred onto our specialist officers to deal with at a local level. A referral protocol exists to help ensure the efficiency of the referral process and all cases are referred to local officers via a secure web portal. Officers regularly provide feedback to CACS on any service issues that are identified.

7.0 Service Structure and Profile

The Trading Standards Service structure is outlined below.

Trading Standards Manager

Trading Standards Officer (x3 FTE)

Trading Standards Enforcement Officer (x2 FTE)

Trading Standards Adviser

Trainee Trading Standards Officer (Apprentice)

For the financial year 2023 to 2024, the budget for the Trading Standards Service is £402,032. This includes a contribution to the running of the Tees Valley Measurement Centre. A summary is provided below:

Trading Standards Service Budget2021 to 2022 (£)2022 to 2023 (£)2023 to 2024 (£)
Trading Standards395,330416,662419,032
Tees Valley Measurement45,00045,00045,000
Gross Budget440,330461,662464,032
Income(62,000)(62,000)(62,000)
Net Budget378,330399,662402,032

 

8.0 Service Context

Looking at the level of work undertaken, how it is carried out and assessing customer satisfaction levels can be used to indicate if service provision is being targeted appropriately. Some headline figures include:

Service demands

Nature of contact202020212022
Advice centre complaints and enquiries223261350
Citizens advice consumer service143116101429
Criminal complaints, enquiries, investigations and scam interventions478636572

The Citizens Advice Consumer Service gives first tier telephone advice on consumer issues. The more complex problems and those requiring follow up casework are referred onto our specialist Trading Standards Adviser.

Most complained about subject areas

Top three complained about goods and services (2022)% of total
Home maintenance, repairs and improvements22
Second-hand motor vehicles13
Tobacco related products (including vapes)13

 

Top three criminal complaints (2022)% of total
Fraudulent and unfair trading practices50
Product safety concerns17
Counterfeit and illicit products17

 

Top three requests for advice from business (2022)% of total
Fair trading issues34
Food standards including allergens, labelling and composition20
Product safety requirements16

 

Customer satisfaction levels 

Satisfaction levels remain exceptionally high for those using the Trading Standards Advice Centre.

YearSatisfaction index
2020/21 %97.6
201/22 %98.9
2022/23 %95.2

 

Redress levels

This is the amount of money that the Service has obtained in redress for local consumers and businesses.

YearRedress Obtained
2020 £193,004
2021 £133,079
2022 £300,355

 

9.0 Challenges

Trading Standards has to face the challenge of operating effectively in light of an evolving regulatory landscape and growing demands for service. Some of the main challenges are summarised below:

Food Standards Delivery Model

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is working to review the current food standards delivery model and introduce a new model that addresses the perceived shortcomings in the current system and supports Local Authorities in effectively targeting their resources for food standards controls. It is currently expected that Local Authories will start to transition to the new model from October 2023.

Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill

In April 2023, the Government published its long-awaited Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill which sets out the path ahead for consumer protection legislation. The Bill creates a number of new consumer protection rules and regimes that will affect Trading Standards, including a replacement for current unfair trading legislation and new rules around subscription traps and fake reviews. The new legislation could be in force in Autumn 2023.

Training Needs and Qualification Framework

There is a lack of qualified Trading Standards Officers both regionally and nationally. This is reflected in the fact that the Service was unable to fill a vacant Trading Standards Officers post, advertised on two separate occasions. This has resulted in the adoption of a 'grow your own' approach, with an apprentice now in post. In addition, the service is looking to train up both unqualified Enforcement Officers and currently each has completed stage 1 of the qualification framework. Whilst adding pressures in the short to medium term, this process is seen as vital to help future-proof service provision.

Scams Awareness

An ageing population means that there are more residents vulnerable to rogue traders and mass marketing scams. To raise awareness of these issues, the service has signed a partnership agreement with the National Scams Team to identify and support victims in Stockton-on-Tees and will continue to introduce No Cold Calling Zones in suitable locations throughout the Borough.

Financial Investigations

The service no longer has its own in-house Accredited Financial Investigator (AFI). However, in certain cases, it is important that action is taken to restrain and/or confiscate the assets of offenders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. As a result, available Accredited Financial Investigators from other local authorities and regulatory partners will be commissioned to undertake such work, as and when it is needed.

Brexit

Uncertainties following Brexit still remain. Whilst the UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020 and an agreement was struck in December 2020, elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol have had to be renegotiated, which in turn will affect the rules governing the movement of goods and services to and from the EU.

Additional uncertainties also exist with regard to the status of retained EU laws, which were due to be scrapped by the end of 2023. This would have affected a significant raft of consumer protection legislation, particularly in the field of product safety and food standards. Whilst, this process has now been delayed, the future of many important pieces of consumer protection legislation remains unclear.

10.0 Key Priority Areas

The service planning process helps to identify the key areas of work that support national, regional and local objectives and priorities. For 2023 to 2024, five key service priorities have been identified. Related project work and targets against these key priorities are detailed at Appendix 1.

The key service priorities are:

1. Ensuring a safe, fair and competitive trading environment

The service aims to combat those traders who operate illegally, putting consumers at risk and placing reputable businesses at a trading disadvantage. To do this, the effective use of all available intelligence and related information will continue to play an essential role in highlighting emerging issues and targeting resources at the areas that will have the greatest impact.

2. Supporting reputable businesses

The majority of businesses want to comply with the law and the aim of the service is to provide support and advice which is accessible, clear and easy to understand, whilst at the same time cracking down on rogue traders who are looking to flout the law. This will help reputable businesses to flourish and will, in turn, help promote and sustain economic growth within the Borough.

3. Contributing to public health and wellbeing

The work of the service contributes to a healthy, safe and vibrant community. This can be evidenced in a number of areas, including the work carried out involving product safety, age restricted products, tobacco and alcohol controls, food labelling, allergens, composition and nutrition checks and animal feed hygiene controls.

4. Protecting the vulnerable

The service is committed to tackling rogue traders, especially those who target older or vulnerable residents in their own homes. This is often done through direct enforcement action, but in addition over 130 'No Cold Calling Zones' have been established around the Borough.

A partnership agreement has also been signed with the National Scams Team which will help officers in identifying, advising and educating those local vulnerable consumers who are being targeted by scam mail and other mass marketing scams.

5. Providing an effective and efficient service

The service continues to look at ways in which to develop, modernise and improve service provision. Given the financial challenges facing the Authority it is important that the Service is cost effective and offers value for money and gives priority to the areas that are most important to its residents, businesses and partners.

11.0 Contact us

Citizens Advice Consumer Service 

Can be contacted for consumer advice.

The opening hours for the Service are: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Telephone: 0808 223 1133

Visit the Citizens Advice Consumer Service website for further information.

Trading Standards Advice Service 

This service operates a telephone appointment system from Monday to Friday.

Morning appointments: 10am to 12pm

Afternoon appointments: 2pm to 4pm

Telephone: 01642 526560

Email: trading.standards@stockton.gov.uk

Visit our Trading Standards page for further information.

Trading Standards Enforcement Section

Located at 16 Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1TX. Please note, this building is not open to the general public.

Telephone: 01642 526560

Email: trading.standards@stockton.gov.uk

Visit our Trading Standards page for further information.

Appendix 1 - Key actions and activities 2022 to 2023

Ensuring a safe, fair and competitive trading environment

Objective - To work closely with partners and other agencies where appropriate to coordinate, streamline and improve regulatory activity

ActionsTargetsTimescale
To work closely with the other responsible Authorities under the Licensing ActAttend monthly meetings and continue with joint working arrangementsMonthly
Contribute to local and regional intelligence sharing groupsAttend regular meetings and continue with joint working arrangementsBi-monthly
Develop further links with Police, HMRC and other regulatory partnersPlan and carry out a targeted joint enforcement exerciseMarch 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that weighing and measuring equipment in use for trade is operating within permitted tolerances

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Deliver a risk based legal metrology intervention programmeUndertake 100 metrology enforcement actionsMarch 2024

 

Objective - To work closely with regional regulatory partners on areas of shared concern

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Contribute to regional projects as and when required

Contribute to a Regional Lettings Enforcement Project as part of a project funded by the National Estate & Letting Agency Team

March 2024

 Contribute to the ongoing work of the Regional Food Allergens Working GroupMarch 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that food products are safe and accurately described

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Carry out a risk based inspection programme, for planned interventions at local food premisesUndertake 150 official controls at local food premisesMarch 2024

 

Objective  - To ensure that designated animal feed establishments are appropriately registered and do not present a risk to animals or the human food chain

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Participate in FSA regional feed hygiene inspection and sampling programmeUndertake agreed inspection and sampling programmeMarch 2024

 

Supporting Reputable Businesses

Objective - To ensure that traders selling goods and services online are complying with distance selling and e-commerce rules

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Participate in national website compliance projectUndertake project and any identified follow up work in line with national protocolsSeptember 2023

 

Objective - To receive, record and disseminate intelligence on rogue traders in accordance with national protocols

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Integrate the requirements of the national intelligence model into local working practices

Monitor the use of the IDB intelligence database, to ensure Service is complying with national intelligence requirements

Ongoing

 

Objective - To ensure that local businesses are complying with new rules aimed at reducing obesity levels

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Assess levels of compliance with restrictions on multibuy deals for food high in fat, sugar or salt at specified retailersCarry out compliance checks and provide follow-up advice and guidance as appropriateMarch 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that food sold at catering establishments within the Borough is safe and accurately described

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Undertake project based work looking at particular identified products / trade sectors

Undertake allergens sampling project with follow up advice and guidance as required

Takeaway and restaurant sampling project looking at product description

March 2024

March 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that Trading Standards enforcement work is targeted effectively at businesses who are causing significant detriment to consumers and reputable businesses

ActionTargetsTimescale
Collate information on identified traders to ensure that intervention work is carried out when appropriate

Monitor complaints and instigate an intervention for those businesses with an unacceptable level of complaints

Complete a local intelligence data submission for the Regional Tactical Assessment

Liaise with, and task, the North East Regional Enforcement Team where appropriate, concerning unfair trading practices that have an adverse effect across the region

Ongoing

Quarterly

When required

 

Contributing to Public Health and Wellbeing

Objective - To ensure that local catering establishments are aware of their legal responsibilities with respect to food allergens

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Assess levels of compliance with allergen labelling requirements, especially for food that is prepacked for direct sale (PPDS)

Carry out compliance checks on PPDS foods and provide follow-up advice and guidance as appropriate

March 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that vaping products on sale within the Borough are safe and comply with legal requirements

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Assess the safety and compliance of vaping products on sale within the Borough

Carry out compliance checks on vaping products, with follow-up enforcement action as necessary

Provide information to School's Safeguarding Forum on requirements regarding the use and sale of vapes by children

March 2024

December 2023

 

Objective - To tackle the sale of counterfeit and illicit tobacco in order to disrupt organised criminal activity and assist in efforts to reduce smoking prevalence

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Use an intelligence led approach to disrupt the sale and distribution of counterfeit and illicit tobacco

Participate in Operation CeCe alongside HMRC and other regional TS partners

Undertake enforcement action against identified targets, utilising all enforcement options available

March 2024

March 2024

 

Objective - To reduce underage sales of alcohol, cigarettes, vapes and other age restricted products and ensure that all effective enforcement options are considered

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Undertake a programme of targeted test purchasing exercises of age restricted products with a young volunteerCarry out at least four intelligence led underage test purchase exercisesQuartley

 

Objective - To ensure that transport hauliers are complying with environmental weight restrictions in designated areas

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Check compliance with environmental weight restrictions in designated areas

Establish an online reporting tool so that residents can directly report concerns

Carry out a programme of compliance checks in designated areas

Carry out a joint exercise with Cleveland Police Road Traffic Unit

September 2023

March 2024

March 2024

 

Protecting the Vulnerable

Objective - To disrupt criminals who target the elderly and vulnerable in their own homes

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Work with other agencies including Police, HMRC and VOSA to target these offendersParticipate in organised days of action, such as National Rogue Trader Day and Operation Mermaid as well as in other initiatives such as the Banking Protocol

When required

 

Objective - To identify and support vulnerable consumers targeted by junk mail and other mass marketing scams

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Continue participation in referral arrangements with the National Scams Team (NST) to identify and support victims in Stockton-on-TeesIdentify, visit and support victims and submit monthly return to NST

Monthly

 

Objective - To raise awareness of doorstep crime amongst local residents

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Introduce further No Cold Calling Zones in suitable locationsConsider all requests for No Cold Calling Zones and action as appropriate

When required

 

Objective - To support vulnerable consumers suffering with dementia who are being targeted by nuisance telephone calls

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Participate in NTS campaigns to help protect dementia sufferers using available call blocking devicesLiaise with Adult Safeguarding as appropriate to allocate and provide any available devices to the most vulnerable

March 2024

 

Objective - To raise awareness of current consumer protection issues and increase the profile of the Service

ActionsTargetsTimescale
Attend and/or organise consumer events as and when required

Contribute to the work of Stockton's Home Safety Association

Attend events and provide information on doorstep crime, scams and other consumer protection issues, as required

March 2024

When required

 

Objective - To raise awareness of fraud issues and related scams

ActionsTargetsTimescale
To publicise messages around scams awareness and fraud prevention whenever possible

Continue sharing and disseminating key anti-fraud messages via social media channels, Stockton News, digital inclusion projects and other appropriate means

Participate in the local Multi-Agency Approach to Fraud (MAAF) initiative

Ongoing

March 2024

 

Providing an Effective and Efficient Service

Objective - To ensure that the Trading Standards Advice Service continues to provide high quality advice and information

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Review the operation of the Advice Service particularly with regard to opening hours and method of operation

Carry out a satisfaction survey of Advice Centre customers

Carry out a review of the operation of the Trading Standards Advice Service

A minimum satisfaction index of 90%

September 2023

March 2024

 

Objective - To inform stakeholders with regard to service priorities and related performance

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Produce report summarising performance in 2022/23

Produce and circulate an annual performance report for 2022/23

September 2023

 

Objective - To increase the number of qualified Trading Standards Officers, using a 'grow your own' methodology, to help future-proof service delivery

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Completion of stage 1 of the Professional Competency Framework by the Trainee / Apprentice

 

Commencement of stage 2 of the Professional Competency Framework by both existing Enforcement Officers

Undertake and pass stage 1 Trading Standards law paper

Successful completion of the Regulatory Compliance Officer apprenticeship

Commence work on both the weights and measures and the food standards portfolios

Undertake North East Weights & Measures Training Programme

July 2023

March 2024

June 2023

March 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that the Service's regulatory processes comply with the requirements of the new Food Standards Delivery Model

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Review the Service's regulatory processes in light of the requirements of the new Food Standards Delivery Model

Carry out review and implement necessary changes to comply with the new Food Standards Delivery Model

March 2024

 

Objective - To ensure that officers have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their functions effectively

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Implement training programme

An average of 20 hours of training per officer per year, to include Food/Feed officers for competency requirements

March 2024

 

Objective - To recover, where appropriate, the financial benefit that an offender has obtained from criminal conduct

ActionsTargetsTimescale

Carry out financial investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, when appropriate

Carry out financial investigations when required and assist external regulatory partners as appropriate

March 2024