1. Purpose and scope of the policy
This overarching policy sets out the general principles that the Council will follow in relation to the investigation, enforcement and prosecution of its regulatory functions. In particular it sets out what individuals, businesses and the community as a whole can expect from the Council’s regulatory services and its officers.
The overarching policy will be augmented, where appropriate, by service area specific strategies or procedures (listed in Section 8). In the absence of any service area specific policy or procedure the general principles set out in this overarching policy will be followed by any service area carrying out a regulatory function.
The primary function of the Council’s regulatory and enforcement work is to protect the public, public funds, the environment and groups such as individual consumers / residents & tenants, workers / businesses and the community. At the same time, carrying out such activity in an equitable, practical and consistent manner helps to maintain a level playing field for local businesses, individuals and our other service users. Good regulation and enforcement will help to promote a thriving local economy and protect the environment for the benefit of all.
This policy has been developed with due regard to the ‘Principles of Good Enforcement’ set out in the following guidance documents:
Central and Local Government Enforcement Concordat, March 1998
The Regulators’ Code issued under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006
and the Code for Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985.
In certain circumstances the Council may conclude that a provision contained in one or more of the above-mentioned documents is either not relevant or is outweighed by another provision or relevant factor. We will ensure that any decision to depart from policy guidelines is properly reasoned and based on material evidence.
For the purposes of this policy the following definitions are given to the terms ‘regulatory’, ‘enforcement’ and ‘officer’:
‘Regulatory’ encompasses the Council’s numerous powers and duties enabling the behaviour of individuals, business and/or the community to be controlled in the public interest. Examples of these can be found listed in Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution.
‘Enforcement’ includes any action carried out in the exercise of, or against the background of, statutory powers and duties of regulation. This is not limited to formal enforcement action such as prosecution in the criminal Courts or the giving of Statutory Notices. It also includes, among other things, the inspection of premises for the purpose of checking compliance with regulations and conditions, the imposition of conditions on any licence, consent or similar formal permission, the issue of fixed penalty notices, the giving of cautions and the making of applications to the Courts for Orders to control the conduct of individuals and/or organisations
- ‘Officer’ means any person within the employ of the Council carrying out investigative or enforcement roles within any service with a regulatory function and includes any officer within the legal department who advises on and / or has conduct of enforcement matters on behalf of the Council
All enforcement activities, including investigation and formal actions, will always be conducted in compliance with the Council’s statutory obligations. Council enforcement/investigating officers will act within the scope of their delegated authority (as approved by the relevant committee/Council). The Council’s constitution is regularly updated to reflect any changes. Due regard will be given to the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act 1996, the Human Rights Act 1998, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, and any other legislation relevant to specific service areas and legislation designed to tackle discrimination and promote equality.
All officers will have regard to the principles contained in this policy when making enforcement decisions. Regard will also be had to any approved statutory, governmental or other national guidance, and to any internal quality procedures.