East Devon District Council

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Policy Environmental Health Enforcement Policy

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1. Introduction

1.1. It is the aim of Environmental Health & Health Equalities Service to protect the public and the environment, promote high standards of food hygiene, food quality, health, safety and welfare and enhance the quality of life for all residents, workers and visitors to the District. Much of this will be achieved through education, by providing advice and by regulating the activities of others. Whilst securing compliance with legal regulatory requirements, using enforcement powers, including prosecution, is an important part of achieving this aim, it will be undertaken in an equitable, practical and consistent manner.

 1.2    The regulatory services delivered are extensive.  They include food safety, pollution and noise control, health and safety, infectious disease control, housing, drainage, water supplies, pest control and general nuisances, animal welfare and dog control.

 1.3    Environmental Health & Health Equalities staff work with Central Government and other Regulators on matters such as food safety, air pollution, waste management, contaminated land and health and safety to ensure coherent regulation.  They may also work with voluntary or community groups and non-governmental organisations in order to achieve common goals.

 1.4    It is recognised that fair and effective enforcement is essential to protect the health, safety and interests of the residents, visitors and businesses of the East Devon district. Even in a relatively minor case a decision about enforcement action has serious implications for all involved; the general public, businesses, victims, witnesses and defendants. The Environmental Health & Health Equalities Service applies this generic policy so that it can make fair and consistent decisions about enforcement across the full range of functions administered by the service.

 1.5    The Service regards prevention as better than cure. It offers information and advice to those it regulates and seeks to secure co-operation avoiding bureaucracy, ensuring efficient compliance with legislation whilst, at the same time minimising the burden on businesses, individuals, organisations and the Council itself. It encourages individuals and businesses to put safety first and to integrate good working practices into normal working methods.

 1.6    This enforcement policy seeks to promote an efficient and effective approach to regulatory inspection and enforcement, to improve regulatory outcomes but without imposing unnecessary burdens. This principle is in accordance with the Regulator’s Compliance Code. In certain instances we may conclude that a provision in the Code is either not relevant or is outweighed by another provision. We will ensure that any decision to depart from the code will be properly reasoned, based on material evidence and documented. This Policy will be used in conjunction with the more detailed guidance notes issued in respect of various specific functions of the Service. The implementation and effectiveness of the Policy as well as adherence to its requirements will be monitored and reported on through the Council’s service performance & risk management system.

 1.7      Certain areas of regulation and enforcement, such as the issue of fixed penalty notices for dog fouling or litter infringements, require an immediate and prescribed response. These activities are, accordingly, not covered by this policy and operate under separate procedural arrangements.

When this policy has been published and will be reviewed

Policy published 1 March 2008 (due for review by 1 April 2017)