Neighbourhood, Environmental and Communities Cabinet Member – Minutes – 2 July 2008

40 (1) FOOD SERVICE PLAN 2008/09 – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking approval for the Authority’s Food Service Plan for 2008/2009.

Each Food Authority was required to prepare a Service Plan setting out its proposed activities for the administrative year. The Food Service Plan 2008/2009 detailed how the available resources would be deployed to deliver the broad range of activities required by the Food Standards Agency.

The Rogers Review of national enforcement priorities for local authority regulatory services had recommended the national enforcement priorities of ‘hygiene of food businesses’, ‘animal and public health’ and ‘fair trading’. The council was carrying out a consultation exercise to secure the views of stakeholders on local priorities.

In 2005 the Hampton Review identified ways in which the administrative burden of regulation on business could be reduced while ensuring that regulatory outcomes were maintained. As part of the solution the government created the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) to implement the key Hampton recommendations to help promote better targeting of resources and to deliver more consistency for business. As LBRO became established its work would impact on future service delivery.

As in previous years resources would be deployed to secure high levels of compliance at the highest risk premises.

Resolved – (a) That the Food Service Plan 2008/2009 be approved, and (b) that further reports on the implications of the national priorities, local priorities and impact of the Local Better Regulation Office be submitted as required.

41 (2) ILLEGAL MONEY LENDING ENFORCEMENT – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking approval for Birmingham City Council’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to investigate illegal money lenders operating within the North Lincolnshire area.

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 governed the UK’s consumer credit industry. It regulated who could engage in credit transactions and laid down rules regarding advertising, form and content of agreements and the procedures to be followed if customers defaulted etc. All those engaged in the industry had to be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading.

Complaints about illegal money lending were rare. Government decided to find out the extent of the problem and how best to bring loan sharks to justice. Two pilot schemes were set up, one in Birmingham, the other in Glasgow. The initial pilots exceeded Government’s expectations and funding was provided to extend the initiative into other areas of the country. In 2007, the Birmingham IMLT began operating in West Yorkshire and Sheffield. Further funding had now been made available and the IMLT is in a position to extend its role to cover all of the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

To operate in North Lincolnshire, officers of the IMLT would have to be authorised under the Consumer Credit Act in exactly the same way as the Council’s Trading Standards staff. Additionally, a protocol would need to be drawn up covering the necessary conditions and consents.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal for the Birmingham City Council’s IMLT to investigate and institute proceedings against illegal money lenders operating within North Lincolnshire be approved, and (b) that the Service Director for Neighbourhood and Environment, in accordance with delegated powers, authorise members of the IMLT to enforce the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act and agrees and approves any necessary protocols.

42 (3) PLASTIC AND CARDBOARD RECYCLING SCHEME PROGRESS – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report to provide an update of progress made in the operation of the ‘burgundy bin’ scheme for the kerbside recovery of plastic and cardboard.

The ‘burgundy bin’ scheme commenced on 5 September 2007. Currently 68000 households had access to the scheme. A contract for the reception, transport and reprocessing of the collected materials was awarded to Community Waste Limited. The contract was due for renewal on 1 April 2009.

In the 42 weeks since the scheme commenced, a total of 2,480 tonnes of mixed plastic and cardboard had been collected. Performance of the scheme to date suggested that in a full year over 3,000 tonnes of material would be recovered for recycling. In terms of the plastic this equated to over 12 kilograms/household/year, which made the scheme amongst the most productive when compared with other similar recovery schemes. The 1,897 tonnes of plastic and cardboard recovered in the period 5 September 2007 to 31 March 2008 contributed significantly to the overall increase in recycling performance. In 2007/08 43.3% of all household waste was recycled/composted compared with a figure of 38.4% in the previous year.

The introduction of the burgundy bin scheme had also had a positive impact on the operation of the kerbside box recycling scheme, which recovered over 11% more material in 2007/08 than in 2006/07. Complaints made regarding the frequency of collection of residual waste had also significantly reduced. Minor amendments had been made to the scheme since commencement. These included the option to have a larger (240 litre) capacity burgundy bin in exchange for a smaller residual (green) waste bin.

Resolved – (a) That the apparent success of the burgundy bin scheme be acknowledged and local residents be applauded for their support, (b) that options for extending the scope of the scheme to receive all polymer types be explored during the forthcoming procurement exercise, and (c) that further consultation with those residents in ‘hard to reach’ areas be undertaken to determine a practical solution for plastics and other materials recycling.

43 (4) CONSUMER PROTECTION FROM UNFAIR TRADING REGULATIONS 2008 – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report to inform the Cabinet Member of the introduction of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (the CPRs) which came into force on 26 May 2008.

The CPRs implemented the European Union Directives concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices and aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees. The same rules should then be in force across all member states.

The UK government’s approach was to introduce a new set of all-encompassing regulations rather than amend existing legislation. Consequently, some well-known pieces of legislation would either disappear completely or be left purely for administrative purposes.

The main casualty would be the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (TDA), this was consumer legislation prohibiting false and misleading descriptions and statements about goods and services. However, over the years the changing market place and new highly detrimental trading practices had reduced the effectiveness of the TDA.

Penalties, statutory defences and powers of officers were broadly similar to those contained in previous legislation. The maximum penalty at the crown court would be an unlimited fine or up to two years imprisonment or both.

CPRs applied only to consumers. Parallel legislation, namely the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations, would protect traders from misleading indications made by other traders.

Resolved – (a) That the Cabinet Member note the content of the report, and (b) that the Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment ensure that appropriate delegations are in place.

44 (5) LEADING THE WAY TO ACTIVE LIVES – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report to update the Cabinet Member on progress with a joint project in North and North East Lincolnshire to increase levels of physical activity and encourage healthier eating through the training and support of Community Health Educators.

The Big Lottery Fund made available £165 million to 20 regional schemes in the country aimed at improving health and well being. The local Strategic Health Authority submitted a bid and was successful in receiving £7.2 million for the Yorkshire and Humber area. Within this funding, North and North East Lincolnshire were to run a project called “Leading the Way to Healthier Lives”. The project would run for three years from July 2008.

In January 2008, approval was given for the post of Active Lives Co-ordinator (minute 28 refers). This post was due to be advertised in June 2008 and the project would then commence in July or August.

There was an additional post for a part time Clerical Assistant who would support the project for which approval was being sought. This post was to be based in Church Square House and line managed by the Active Lives Co-ordinator. The post would be for a fixed term of 3 years.

Resolved – (a) That the Cabinet Member support the appointment of a part time Clerical Assistant (16 hours per week) for a period of 3 years as per Option 1 of the report and (b) that the staffing implications be referred to the Corporate Services Cabinet Member for approval.

The following item contains exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

45 (6) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT RESTRUCTURE – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking approval for a restructure of administrative support for Neighbourhood Services and Waste Management.

When Neighbourhood and Environmental Services was created in 2003, administration was centralised. Since then management of administrative support for the Catering and Cleaning division had moved to a buildings based model. With the move towards buildings based administration, it had necessitated some movement with existing staffing arrangements within Cottage Beck Road, Scunthorpe. Administrative support was provided for Streetscene and Landscapes’ Area Teams and Waste Management, together with duties associated with the general running of the offices and depot.

Commercial waste administration was currently undertaken within the Streetscene and Landscapes’ refuse collection unit. The impending introduction of commercial waste recycling services had prompted the transfer of this function to the Waste Management Division.

A VFM study was undertaken into processes within the Administrative structure at the Cottage Beck Road site. The study suggested several adjustments that could be made allowing new technology and better processes to be implemented. This would allow a keener focus on front line service provision.

In addition, following the creation of the Neighbourhood Response Team as part of the new Communities and Environment division, there was a need to formalise the administrative arrangements originally funded by the Crosby Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder.

Further detailed information was set out in the report and its appendices.

Resolved – (a) That the Cabinet Member supports the changes to administrative/technical support as set out in the report and its appendices, and (b) that the staffing implications be referred to the Corporate Services Cabinet Member for approval.

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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.