Compliance and Enforcement Service - Performance in 2018/19
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 4th December, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 51.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 51.
Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods)
This report provides Members with an update on demand for and performance of the Compliance and Enforcement service during 2018/19. As requested by the Committee the report also provides information on the activities undertaken around enforcement in relation to commercial waste enforcement, unlicensed drinking establishments, shisha businesses and management of waste associated with licensed HMOs.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) that provided an update on demand for and performance of the Compliance and Enforcement service during 2018/19. As requested by the Committee, the report also provides information on the activities undertaken around enforcement in relation to commercial waste enforcement, unlicensed drinking establishments, shisha businesses and management of waste associated with licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Providing a description of the various teams that made up the Compliance and Enforcement services;
· Information on the demand for services and comparative data;
· Various case studies to demonstrate enforcement activity;
· Describing proactive and project work across the city;
· Information on formal enforcement action including data on successful prosecutions by type of activity; and
· The approach to HMO Licensing and waste.
The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety informed the Committee that there was a correction to a figure presented in paragraph 2.7 of the report. She advised that the figure of 3389 should be corrected to 3627.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Members welcomed the report and paid tribute to all of the staff delivering this important service on behalf of residents, in particular the Out Of Hours service;
· Acknowledging the proactive way in which the service deals with issues, and the importance of this in the context of budget reductions;
· Welcoming the inclusion of case studies, however requesting that where appropriate more detail be included in future reports and requesting that Members should be made aware of successes in advance of them being used as examples in reports;
· What could be done to assist those residents wishing to report illegal drinking establishments, noting that it was not always obvious as to which responsible authority would be responsible to address such issues;
· In regard to housing compliance, what legislation was used by officers to remedy housing issues that tenants experienced;
· What was the approach to using informal action rather than formal enforcement action;
· What action could be taken to address ambient noise, noting that the introduction of temporary 5G masts had resulted in an increase in incidents of this;
· How many notices had been served on builders, utilities companies and those contractors employed by the Council who operated outside of their permitted hours; and
· Further information was sought on the reported prosecutions of HMOs.
The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety acknowledged the positive comments from the Committee and stated that this would be relayed to the staff.
In response to the question regarding how members of the public could report issues associated with illegal drinking establishments, the Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety stated that the most important thing was to inform the service, as residents were the most important source of information when dealing with this type of issue. She added that if a complaint or information was received and the LOOH team was not able to resolve the issue they would liaise with relevant partners to coordinate an appropriate response.
She noted the comment from a Member regarding the automated message when ringing the Out of Hours Team and stated that this was a corporate message and she would speak to colleagues in the Communications Team to enquire if this could be refined and also the options to promote this service using social media. She further welcomed the offers of assistance from Members to review the information available to residents in regard to reporting information.
The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety noted the comment from a Member regarding not receiving information on enforcement activity in his ward. She stated that all Members should receive information on this type of activity via their regular ward reports. She stated that she would look into this issue to ensure this was communicated in a timely manner.
In response to the enquiry regarding the approach to using informal action, the Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety stated that this would be used to resolve issues where ever possible, however if this did not resolve an issue it would be escalated to formal enforcement action. In response to the specific enquires from Members regarding HMO prosecutions; ambient noise and the numbers of notices served on builders, utilities companies and those contractors employed by the Council who operated outside of their permitted hours, she stated that this information would be provided to the Committee following the meeting.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration informed the Committee that the most appropriate legislation would be used to ensure disrepair issues experienced by tenants were resolved as quickly as possible. She encouraged Members to contact her if they had specific concerns where they believed this had not been the case.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods commented on the examples provided of seizures of tobacco. He stated that whilst some may appear to be relatively small quantities it was important to recognise that this activity was illegal and harmed communities and this criminal activity would not be tolerated.
To note the report.
[Councillor Appleby declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest as her partner is employed by Biffa.]