Norfolk Trading Standards look back at a successful year as Cabinet set to approve new service plan
25 May 2023
Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards service are looking back at a successful year as Cabinet are asked to approve the new annual service plan.
Trading Standards have a vast remit from monitoring and enforcing avian influenza prevention zones, to tackling the rise in dangerous and illegal vape sales. In 2022-23 Trading Standards responded to the unprecedented number of avian influenza outbreaks in Norfolk. Since 1 August 2022 there have been 65 outbreaks in Norfolk, which represented over 20% of all outbreaks in England. A large-scale operation was carried out to keep residents informed, including 185 officer days on foot patrols, working with partners and volunteers, and sending almost 30,000 letters to those living in protection zones.
Scammers were also targeted by Trading Standards, with 15 new No Cold Calling Zones being set up, meaning that over 14,500 properties in Norfolk are now protected from rogue and unscrupulous traders cold-calling homes. This, alongside the work of the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, helps to protect residents of the county from unwanted sales calls.
Partnership working proved a useful and successful way of tackling illegal tobacco and vapes in Norfolk, seizing 59,400 illegal cigarettes, 9.35kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco and over 2,800 illegal vapes. This area remains a key focus, both nationally and locally, and Trading Standards will continue to use an evidence-driven approach to tackle the issue. One key source of information remains the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, where members of the public are encouraged to report suspected underage sales or illegal products on 0808 223 1133.
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “Our Trading Standards officers work hard to ensure that consumers and businesses are kept safe. Their advice and regulatory enforcement is invaluable, ensuring that there is a level playing field for all businesses to operate on by tackling unfair, fraudulent, and illegal practices. Last year was a busy year for the team, and I’m proud of what they have achieved. The results speak for themselves, such as 97% of the most detrimental traders being brought into compliance within 3 months.”
Looking ahead to 2023-24, Trading Standards will continue to be an innovative organisation, working collaboratively with partners, using an evidence-based approach to develop the best outcomes for the service. The key areas of focus for the coming year are:
- Responding to business and consumer vulnerabilities arising from the cost-of-living crisis
- Environmental protection: ensuring businesses are supported to comply with new green laws and the service operates in a manner to support the council’s net-zero ambitions
- Investment in our workforce to develop a resilient service
- Greater integration with the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to realise improved services for businesses and communities and inhouse efficiencies
Development of our commercial services to increase our income, primarily through our calibration and chargeable business advice functions to reduce our reliance on grant funding
Norfolk County Council’s cabinet will be considering the Trading Standards Annual Service Plan for 2023-24, at their meeting on Monday 5th June. Read the report and watch the meeting, live or afterwards.