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Warwick District Council: Enforcement Policy Version 3: 31st October 2018.




Contents:

1. Introduction

2. What is this policy for?

3. When does this policy apply?

4. Our approach to dealing with non-compliance

5. Conduct of investigations

6. Decisions on enforcement action

7. Review of this policy

8. Comments and complaints


1. Introduction


1.1 This policy was developed following a review of Warwick District Council’s (‘the Council’) existing service-specific enforcement policies with a view to producing a single policy for all services, compliant with the Regulators’ Code. It should be read in conjunction with the relevant service standards as published through the council’s website. (Including but not limited to Statutory Service Plans, Employee Code of Conduct)

Some service areas of the council have powers, enforcement actions or considerations specific to their areas of work and therefore they have additional appendix documents to this policy.

· Appendix A – Health and Community Protection, Regulatory Section

· Appendix B - Development Services, Planning Enforcement


Business support organisations including Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the South Warwickshire Landlords Steering Group have been consulted in regards to this policy.

The policy sets out Warwick District Council’s approach to dealing with non-compliance and a commitment to good enforcement practice informed by the principles of good regulation.


The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, Part 2, requires the Council to have regard to the Principles of Good Regulation when exercising a specified regulatory function. For local authorities, the specified functions include those carried out by our environmental health, licensing, waste, and private sector housing services.


The Council will exercise its 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, and

· Targeted – we will focus our resources on higher risk enterprises and activities, reflecting local need and national priorities.



Regulators’ Code

The Regulators’ Code came into statutory force in April 2014 and provides a clear framework for transparent, open and accountable regulatory delivery. A copy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulators-code

The Council has had regard to the Regulators’ Code in the preparation of this policy. 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.


Human Rights Act 1998

The Council is a public authority for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998. We therefore apply the principles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This Policy and all associated enforcement decisions take account of the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998. In particular, due regard is had to the right to a fair trial and the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.


Date Protection Act 2018, General Data Protection Regulations (EU) 2016/679, Emerging Date Protection Bill

Where there is a need for the Council to share enforcement information with other agencies, we will follow the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations and any superseding legislation


The Code for Crown Prosecutors

When deciding whether to prosecute the Council has regard to the provisions of The Code for Crown Prosecutors as issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document that sets out the general principles to follow when decisions are made in respect of prosecuting cases. The Code sets out two tests that must be satisfied commonly referred to as the ‘Evidential Test’ and the ‘Public Interest Test’:

Evidential Test - is there sufficient evidence against the defendant?

When deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the Council will consider what evidence can be used in court and the strength of that evidence. We must be satisfied there is enough evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" against each alleged offender.

Public Interest Test - is it in the public interest for the case to be brought to court?

The Council will balance factors for and against prosecution carefully and fairly, considering each case on its merits. The public interest factors that we will take into account are detailed under the enforcement options available to us in Section 6.1.


Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (‘the RES Act’)

The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008, as amended, established the Primary Authority scheme. We will comply with the requirements of the Act when we are considering taking enforcement action against any business or organisation that has a Primary Authority, and will have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State in relation to Primary Authority.


1.2 The Council is committed to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens, and to assessing whether similar social, environmental and economic outcomes could be achieved by less burdensome means.


1.3 This Enforcement Policy can be downloaded from our website www.warwickdc.gov.uk or copies can be obtained in person from the Council’s main offices – Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa CV32 5HZ.


1.4 The Council’s accessibility statement requires us to maintain and update our website as necessary in plain English in terms of the W3C guidelines. We will ensure that our publications and press statements are accessible to all communities and we aim to provide information in accessible formats on request. The Council also has membership of Language Line to provide language support where required.


1.5 This version of the policy was approved by Warwick District Council on on 31st October 2018 and was issued on 9th November 2018. Replacing all previous versions of the Enforcement Policy and its appendices.



1.6 In addition to the Council’s Enforcement Policy, the council provides the following guidance on the Council’s website. www.warwickdc.gov.uk . How we communicate

· Corporate and Service Area approaches to communication

· Service Areas approaches to the provision of advice

· Service Areas approaches to interventions

· Fees and Charges

· How to comment, compliment or complain


2. What is this policy for?


2.1 This policy explains to anyone affected by the Council’s regulatory activities what to expect in respect to its approach to dealing with non-compliance.


2.2 Authorised officers will act in accordance with the policy. All services are subject to internal audit to ensure actions are appropriate to the policy and performance data will be published on the Council’s website through the relevant appropriate mechanisms. i.e. committee reports.


3. When does this policy apply?


3.1 This policy applies to the following regulatory services which are the responsibility of Warwick District Council

· Anti-Social Behaviour

· Dog Control and Fouling

· Environmental Protection

· Food Safety

· Health and Safety

· Licensing

· Planning Enforcement

· Private Sector Housing

· Public Health

· Waste


Service-specific policies which sit under this generic policy can be found on the council’s website www.warwickdc.gov.uk.


4. Our approach to dealing with non-compliance