This Enforcement Policy sets out how South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council ('the Councils') deal with non-compliance with the wide-ranging legislation. As a Local Authority we have a duty to enforce a wide range of legislation. This Policy is available on our website and copies can be obtained from our offices (details of which are given at the end of this guide).
This Policy complies with the requirements of the Regulators' Code, introduced by Government in April 2014. All local authority regulators and many other public enforcement bodies must have regard to this. This Enforcement Policy is a living document. It will evolve in the light of feedback from businesses, emerging best practice, and Government Guidance.
The Councils are committed to good enforcement practice as set out in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. We aim to exercise our regulatory activities in a way which is:
- Proportionate: Our activities will reflect the level of risk to the public and enforcement action taken will relate to the seriousness of the offence.
- Accountable: Our activities will be open to public scrutiny, with clear and accessible policies, and fair and efficient complaints procedures.
- Consistent: Our advice to those we regulate will be robust and reliable and we will respect advice provided by others. Where circumstances are similar, we will endeavour to act in similar ways to other local authorities.
- Transparent: We will ensure that those we regulate are able to understand what is expected of them and what they can anticipate in return.
- Targeted: We will focus our resources on higher risk enterprises and activities, reflecting local need and national priorities.
In drawing up and developing our enforcement policy we have had regard to:
- The Regulators' Code 2014 (as set out by Department for Business Innovation and Skills). In certain circumstances it may be appropriate to deviate from the Code, but any such cases will be reasoned and documented.
- Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, decisions need to have regard to the right to a fair trial and the right to respect for private and family life, home, and correspondence.
- Data Protection Act 1998: Details the provisions to be followed where there is a need for the Council to share information about enforcement with other agencies.
- Code for Crown Prosecutors (as set out by the Crown Prosecution Service). This is a public document that sets out the general principles to follow when decisions are made in respect of prosecuting offenders. The Code sets out two tests that must be satisfied; commonly referred to as the 'Evidential Test' and the 'Public Interest Test'.
- Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Fines on Summary Conviction) Regulations 2015. Includes changes to some fines and wording of notices.
- Revised Home Office Code of Practice on PACE part B. Covers powers of entry and provision of Notice of Powers and Rights when entering land.
The Councils are fully committed to the Devon and Somerset Better Business for All (BBfA) Regulatory Services Partnership. This is endorsed by the Better Regulatory Delivery Office (BRDO), part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The purpose is to build a local partnership between businesses and regulators across Devon and Somerset to promote economic prosperity, whilst maintaining public protection.
This document will ensure that the Regulator will work in accordance with the BBfA principles. In doing so, the Councils will create an environment and culture which will support our local businesses by making the activity that is being regulated easy to access, simple and clear to understand, whilst ensuring public protection.
The Councils will listen to business needs and act in an open and transparent way to help shape the way support is provided. This will be done following business consultations and throughout service use.
Better Business for All is business-focused, using business-led improvements to create better regulation, support business growth, and create a level playing field for businesses. In order to achieve this, the Policy will be implemented in a consistent manner with competent enforcement staff. The staff are working with the right attitudes and behaviours for the benefit of our Communities.
We are committed to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens, and to assessing whether similar social, environmental and economic outcomes could be achieved by a less burdensome means. We will adopt a proportionate approach to those we regulate based on relevant factors, for example, business size and capacity.
We will review our approach to regulatory activities from time to time, in order to remove any unnecessary burdens. We will also monitor our approach to ensure compliance with our stated policy.
We are committed to equality of opportunity, promoting diversity, and eliminating discrimination. Enforcement decisions will be fair and objective and not be influenced by protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. This includes:
- Ethnicity or national origin;
- Religious beliefs;
- Political views;
- Sexual orientation;
Of the suspect, victim, witness or offender. Decisions will not be influenced by improper or undue pressure from any source. A copy of our Equality and Diversity Strategy is available on our website or can be obtained from our offices.