The Principles of Good
Enforcement: Policy and Procedures
This document sets out what business and others being
regulated can expect from enforcement officers. It commits us
to good enforcement policies and procedures. It may be supplemented
by additional statements of enforcement policy.
The primary function of central and local government
enforcement work is to protect the public, the environment and
groups such as consumers and workers. At the same time, carrying
out enforcement functions in an equitable, practical and consistent
manner helps to promote a thriving national and local economy.
We are committed to these aims and to maintaining a fair and safe
The effectiveness of legislation in protecting consumers
or sectors in society depends crucially on the compliance of those
regulated. We recognise that most businesses want to comply with
the law. We will, therefore, take care to help business and others
meet their legal obligations without unnecessary expense, while
taking firm action, including prosecution where appropriate, against
those who flout the law or act irresponsibly. All citizens will
reap the benefits of this policy through better information, choice,
We have therefore adopted the central and local government
Concordat on Good Enforcement. Included in the term "enforcement"
are advisory visits and assisting with compliance as well as licensing
and formal enforcement action. By adopting the concordat we commit
ourselves to the following policies and procedures, which contribute
to best value, and will provide information to show that we are
Principles of Good Enforcement:
In consultation with business and other relevant
interested parties, including technical experts where appropriate,
we will draw up clear standards setting out the level of service
and performance the public and business people can expect to receive.
We will publish these standards and our annual performance against
them. The standards will be made available to businesses and others
who are regulated.
We will provide information and advice in plain language
on the rules that we apply and will disseminate this as widely
as possible. We will be open about how we set about our work,
including any charges that we set, consulting business, voluntary
organisations, charities, consumers and workforce representatives.
We will discuss general issues, specific compliance failures or
problems with anyone experiencing difficulties.
We believe that prevention is better than cure and
that our role therefore involves actively working with business,
especially small and medium sized businesses, to advise on and
assist with compliance. We will provide a courteous and efficient
service and our staff will identify themselves by name. We will
provide a contact point and telephone number for further dealings
with us and we will encourage business to seek advice /information
from us. Applications for approval of establishments, licenses,
registrations, etc, will be dealt with efficiently and promptly.
We will ensure that, wherever practicable, our enforcement services
are effectively co-ordinated to minimise unnecessary overlaps
and time delays.
We will provide well publicised, effective and timely
complaints procedures easily accessible to business, the public,
employees and consumer groups. In cases where disputes cannot
be resolved, any right of complaint or appeal will be explained,
with details of the process and the likely time-scales involved.
We will minimise the costs of compliance for business
by ensuring that any action we require is proportionate to the
risks. As far as the law allows, we will take account of the circumstances
of the case and the attitude of the operator when considering
We will take particular care to work with small businesses
and voluntary and community organisations so that they can meet
their legal obligations without unnecessary expense, where practicable.
We will carry out our duties in a fair, equitable
and consistent manner. While inspectors are expected to exercise
judgement in individual cases, we will have arrangements in place
to promote consistency, including effective arrangements for liaison
with other authorities and enforcement bodies through schemes
such as those operated by the Local Authorities Co-Ordinating
Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) and the Local Authority
National Type Approval Confederation (LANTAC).
- Principles of Good Enforcement: Procedures
Advice from an officer will be put clearly and simply
and will be confirmed in writing, on request, explaining why any
remedial work is necessary and over what time-scale, and making
sure that legal requirements are clearly distinguished from best
Before formal enforcement action is taken, officers
will provide an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of the
case and, if possible, resolve points of difference, unless immediate
action is required (for example, in the interests of health and
safety or environmental protection or to prevent evidence being
Where immediate action is considered necessary, an
explanation of why such action was required will be given at the
time and confirmed in writing in most cases within 5 working days
and, in all cases, within 10 working days.
Where there are rights of appeal against formal action,
advice on the appeal mechanism will be clearly set out in writing
at the time the action is taken (whenever possible this advice
will be issued with the enforcement notice).