Trading Standards merger approved by Cabinet
Posted on: 8 March 2017
The proposal to extend Devon and Somerset’s shared service to include the unitary authority, would give all three councils ‘greater clout’ at a time of significant financial pressure, regulatory change and increasing demand.
It would be the first time three English Trading Standards services have merged into a single shared service.
The proposal has already been approved by Torbay Council’s elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver in the policy development and decision group on 18 January 2017. The proposal will be considered shortly by Somerset County Council.
A new shared service would cover the majority of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area, creating a consistent approach for businesses across Devon, Somerset and Torbay.
The larger single service would benefit from further economies of scale, leading to an increased capacity for tackling major investigations, greater resilience in dealing with emergencies and allowing for wider specialisation in the support and advice it can offer business.
Devon County Council’s decision follows the success of the Devon and Somerset shared service, formed in 2013.
It is proposed that five of Torbay’s Trading Standards officers would transfer to Devon County Council, the hosting authority, at a date to be determined.
The contract would be for approximately six years, bringing it into line with the current Somerset contract. It is not anticipated that any staff will have to relocate and no redundancies are proposed as a direct result of this merger.
The joint service would maintain its current offices in both Devon and Somerset and will also retain a presence in Torbay in order to be close to its customers, to ensure it can respond quickly, to minimise travel costs and to minimise disruption to staff.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards said:
“This proposal is a win-win for businesses, residents and all three councils. The delivery of certain trading standards functions has always benefited from working on a larger scale.
“This larger shared service gives Trading Standards officers the resources and flexibility to deal with complex or emergency situations and allows for the range of specialist expertise needed to cover the broad range of functions within its remit and having the necessary ‘clout’ to tackle major organisations.”
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader with responsibility for Trading Standards, said:
“By joining forces with Torbay we can deliver a stronger, more resilient service, better able to meet future challenges and demands. “We will be able to better handle major incidents such as animal health disease outbreaks, deliver more effective interventions against increasingly sophisticated criminal activity and improve our service to businesses.”
Councillor Terry Manning, Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Environment with responsibility for Trading Standards said:
“A new shared service will enable Torbay to further improve trading standards provision. With increasing pressure on budgets we must make sure we work hard to get the best value from our spending and find more efficient and cost effective ways of providing services.”
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