Enforcement Policy

The Council's Enforcement Policy sets out how we deal with enforcing the laws that we have a duty to enforce as a Local Authority.

Our approach to dealing with non-compliance

Where a breach of legislation, Government Guidance, or Council Policy is identified, by far the most common outcome is for advice to be given to the business or individual concerned. This may be at a very early stage or after some further investigation. However we are committed to dealing firmly with those that deliberately or persistently fail to comply with the law or policy.


We will provide general information, advice, and guidance to make it easier for businesses and member of the public to understand and meet their legal obligations. This will be provided promptly in clear, concise, and accessible language using a range of appropriate formats and media. Information will cover legal requirements relating to our regulatory and enforcement activities, as well as changes to legal requirements. Where there are significant changes, we will look at the best ways of informing businesses and the public of the changes.

We will provide targeted and practical advice by telephone and, where practicable and reasonable, promote self-service via our website. Where appropriate, we will provide this advice by personal visit. We will try to maximise the accessibility and effectiveness of advice to ensure efficient use of resources. We will involve businesses and member of the public in developing both the content and style of regulatory or enforcement guidance to ensure that it meets their needs.

Businesses and individuals can confidently request advice from us on non-compliance without directly triggering enforcement action where they show a willingness to resolve the non-compliance. We encourage those we regulate/enforce against to contact us for advice.

Our staff are committed to explaining clearly the non-compliance, any advice being given, and actions required or decisions taken with reasons for these. There will be an opportunity for dialogue in relation to this. If formal action is likely to be considered as an option, that dialogue may need to be by way of a formal recorded interview as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 requires. This is a legal process but it is used to provide fairness and clarity to anyone who is at risk of prosecution.

Delegated Powers

The Council delegates the powers it has to enforce various pieces of legislation. This means that individual Council 'enforcement' officers with the appropriate levels of competence have specific authority to act. Officers with enforcement powers carry identification and confirmation of their authorisation.

Investigations are overseen by team managers and qualified senior officers, in line with the adopted Scheme of Delegation.

Sharing Information and/or Intelligence

We will refer matters to other authorities or enforcement bodies where we believe they are the most appropriate to deal with a matter. We will also accept referrals from others where we are the most appropriate enforcement body to deal with something effectively. We are committed to liaising with these bodies to target our resources and rationalise our approach. Where we refer matters to another body, we will advise the business or member of the public accordingly.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of any enforcement, we will share intelligence relating to regulatory matters both within the Councils and more widely with:

  • Government agencies
  • Police
  • Fire authorities
  • Local authorities
  • Other statutory bodies

Conflict of Interest

In the event of a possible conflict of interest we will involve another local authority (if appropriate). For example, where a key enforcement decision involves parts of the Council of its staff. This will ensure an impartial decision is made.


In the event of a business or individual being prosecuted and sentenced as a result of enforcement action, the Council will usually issue a media release. This may also appear on the Council's website.

Risk Assessment

We will ensure that our resources are targeted where they will be most effective. We will ensure that intelligence and risk assessment inform all aspects of our approach to regulatory or enforcement activity, including (where relevant):

  • Data collection and other information requirements;
  • Inspection programmes;
  • Advice and support programmes;
  • Enforcement activity and sanctions.

Where appropriate and relevant to the non-compliance, we will use the appropriate Government risk assessment scheme to inform any inspection programme or intervention. Where these do not exist, we will consult and involve businesses and other interested parties in designing any risk methodologies that we create and publish the details. In the absence of other factors when determining risk, we will consider:

  • Compliance history and potential future risks;
  • The existence of effective management systems;
  • Evidence of recognised external accreditation;
  • Management competence and willingness to comply;
  • Use of complaints/investigation filters.

We will also use intelligence to direct inspection based projects, targeting activities or businesses or individuals where there are known issues. However, complaints may also trigger a visit if that is the most appropriate response.