Environmental Health, Consumer and Bereavement Services
Tameside Council's Environmental Health, Consumer and Bereavement Services carries out a wide range of legal duties under various Acts and regulations. These are applied by carrying out programmed risk inspections of business premises, responding to complaints and offering advice and applies to the following services:-
- Environmental Health including Food and Health and Safety
- Licensing including Taxis and Public Entertainment
- Trading Standards and Consumer Services
- Pest Control and Dog Warden Services
- Cleansing Services
- Environmental Protection including Noise, Land & Air Pollution
- Bereavement Services
- Environmental Operations
The Division's aim is to protect the public, the environment businesses, consumers and workers. It is committed to these objectives in its approach to enforcement action which is intended to:-
- Ensure that we enforce the law in a fair, equitable and consistent manner
- Assist business and others in meeting their legal obligations without unnecessary expense
- Focus on prevention rather than cure
- Take firm action against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly
Principles of Enforcement
The Service has formally adopted the central and local government Concordat on Good Enforcement. This means that we will be open, helpful and fair and careful to ensure that any action we require is proportionate to the risks. This approach is intended to provide better information to businesses and the community and, by doing so, lend support to our efforts to deliver best value services. In doing this we will follow wherever possible the guidelines laid down by LACORS (Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services) in the Home Authority Principle.
Levels of Enforcement Action
We believe that the first step in enforcement is to help prevent contravention of the law by raising awareness and promoting good practice. Methods of achieving this include training courses, special promotions, the issuing of press releases, the production of leaflets and other forms of written guidance and opportunities presented by day to day contact with businesses and other customers. We will also consult and share information with all other interested bodies or agencies where there is a shared or complimentary enforcement role.
We will use our best efforts to resolve any situations where the law may have been broken without issuing formal notices, or referring the matter to the courts. This will be our first option when the circumstances indicate that a minor offence may have been committed and we are confident that appropriate corrective action will be taken. We will confirm the situation in writing in a clear manner and explain why any recommended remedial work is necessary and over what time scale it should be completed. When we write to you, we will make sure that legal requirements are clearly distinguished from recommendations.
Many of the various pieces of legislation that we enforce provide for the service of formal notices on individuals, businesses and other organisations requiring them to meet specific legal requirements. Where a formal notice is served, the method of appealing against the notice and the time scale for doing so will be provided in writing at the same time. The notice will explain what is wrong, what is required to put things right and what the likely consequences are if the notice is not complied with.
In most situations before formal action is taken, we will provide an opportunity to discuss matters and hopefully resolve points of difference. However, this may not be possible where immediate action is considered necessary, e.g. in the interests of health and safety, or to prevent an imminent risk to health, or to protect the environment.
The use of a formal caution offers an alternative to prosecution and will be considered during any decision to prosecute. Before issuing a caution, the following conditions must be satisfied:
- there must be evidence of guilt sufficient to give a realistic prospect of conviction if the case were to be taken to prosecution
- the offender must understand the significance of the formal caution and consent to it
- the offender must admit the alleged offence by signing a formal caution form
A formal caution is a serious matter, which will influence any future decision should the company or individual offend again. It can be referred to in any subsequent court proceedings, but this will not apply if the caution was issued more than 3 years before. Where the offer of a formal caution is refused, a prosecution will generally be pursued.
Where the circumstances warrant it and the alternative actions mentioned previously in this policy are considered inappropriate, then prosecution may result. Any decision to prosecute will take into account the criteria set down in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and Attorney Generals Guidelines. Copies of the Code for Crown Prosecutors are available from HMSO Stationery Office and Dillons Bookshops.
We will consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to prosecute:
- The seriousness and effect of the offence
- The foreseeability of the offence, or the circumstances leading to it
- The intent of the offender
- The history of offending
- The attitude of the offender
- The deterrent effect of a prosecution, on the offender and others
- Whether there is enough evidence to prove the offence
What you can expect from us
- We will be objective to ensure that our decisions are not influenced by the gender, ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs, or sexual preferences of any alleged offender
- We will enter into discussion and offer advice to anyone to try to ensure that they do not unnecessarily expose themselves to the possibility of formal action through a lack of understanding, or information
- We will be consistent in our approach by following the criteria and guidance set down in relevant legislation, codes of practice and the written procedures and work instructions incorporated in our ISO 9001:2000 accredited Quality Assurance System
- We will ensure that before deciding to offer a formal caution, or take a prosecution, the case will be subject to independent review by a senior manager
- We will provide a courteous and efficient service and our staff will identify themselves by name when they visit you, or speak to you on the telephone
How to complain if you are unhappy with our service
If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, please let us know. We are committed to providing quality services and your suggestions and criticisms about any aspect of our service will help us to do this. We will deal with any complaint you have in strict confidence.
What we will do
Wherever possible we will attempt to resolve your complaint informally at a local level immediately. If we cannot do this, we aim to respond in writing to you within 5 working days of receiving your complaint. We will keep you regularly updated of progress until your complaint is resolved.
If you are still not happy
If you are still unhappy with the outcome, please tell us and we will make sure your complaint is brought to the attention of the Chief Executive who will arrange for the case to be reviewed. Alternatively, you can discuss your complaint with your local Ward Councillor, or Member of Parliament. Your nearest Customer Services Unit will give you information on how to contact your Ward Councillor, or see local press for details of times and places when they are available to meet the public.
The Local Government Ombudsman
If you think that you have been unfairly treated by us, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman, who is not part of Tameside M.B.C., to investigate. They can be contacted at the following address:
The Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH
01904 380 200
How to contact us