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The aim of the service is to provide a fair and safe trading environment in order to protect consumers and to allow legitimate businesses to compete on equal terms. The team works to achieve this by providing an advice service to consumers and businesses mixed with an enforcement programme to make sure businesses follow the law.
Medway Council is a Unitary Authority in the South East of England serving approximately 250,000 people. Medway's service delivery is based on two core values and five priorities. These are listed below, together with how the trading standards service team fits into them:-
Medway Council has two core values:
These core values underpin all the council's work and its delivery of services to the people of Medway.
The council has five strategic priorities:
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In 2007/2008, the target was to visit 90 per cent of all high risk premises and 25 per cent of all medium risk premises. The team achieved 90 per cent visits for the high risk premises and 26 per cent for the medium risk premises.
Medway Trading Standards has four main priorities. These are in line with national guidelines and aim to:.
The Service aims to achieve its objectives by conducting a mixture of activities. It aims to respond to enquiry's from the public and look at trading practices which may be against the interests of consumers and legitimate businesses.
In assessing activity to be carried out for the benefit of Medway residents and businesses, the service will consider these aims. It will also refer to local priorities and the Councils Core Values.
In all areas of work, the team continues to ensure the economic well-being and safety of the community that we serve.
What We Cost
In 2007/2008, the net cost of the service at Medway was 711,122. That is equivalent to 2.84 per head of population in Medway each year.
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Tel: (01634) 333170
The aim of the trading standards team is to provide a fair and safe trading environment in order to protect consumers and to allow legitimate businesses to compete on equal terms.
The team adopts a business mix of the application of proactive work by targeting specific areas of the trading environment with enforcement campaigns to raise levels of compliance with Consumer Protection laws and a reactive response to consumer and trade enquiry's with the provision of civil legal advice and in some cases, an investigation into the facts of the complaint for law enforcement purposes.
The puts together a business plan each year that is based on information from our customers, partner organisations and changes in the law. These provide an indication of which areas of enforcement work need to be given a higher priority. Based on this risk assessment, the team will carry out inspections into particular types of business activity. Examples would be inspection of premises storing fireworks and test purchasing to see how well businesses comply with age restricted sales legislation.
In parallel with this we will also carry out campaigns which programe in activity to run for the whole financial year. Examples of this type of work would be inspection of petroleum storage and testing weigh bridges. Investigations into consumer complaints can often trigger visits to traders to see if they are obeying the law and these visits happen throughout the year.
Complaints and Enquiries
Weights and Measures
Trading standards officers are responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Weights and Measures Act 1985. Under that Act they are responsible for testing weighing and measuring equipment which is used for trade purposes.
Many appliances, such as petrol pumps, have to be tested by trading standards before they are put into use and are then tested on a regular basis to ensure that consumers get the quantity that they pay for.
The Act also controls the quantity of goods sold, including the traditional offence relating to giving short measure in a Pub.
Animal Health and Welfare
standards team is responsible for farm animal health
and welfare. We monitor and
advise livestock keepers on farm movement records and animal identification
to ensure the correct traceability of livestock.
The trading standards service is also responsible for the enforcement of a wide variety of legislation that controls the safety of the products you buy from businesses. This legislation operates to ensure that the products you buy satisfy the essential safety requirements.
We routinely visit local retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to make sure that the goods which are exposed for sale in Medway are safe.
We also provide advice to Medway businesses on how to comply with the controls that exist on product safety and ensure that the goods they produce are safe before they are placed in the supply chain.
Finally, we investigate complaints from members of the public who think they may have been sold unsafe goods in the Medway area and encourage consumers to report any concerns they have to our consumer advice line.
Where unsafe products are found to have been marketed, we will conduct an investigation into the incident that could result in a criminal prosecution against the person responsible.
Consumer Credit and Prices
The trading standards team enforces the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This act ensures that credit is provided by people who hold a consumer credit licence. The act controls the information required to be included in credit agreements and other documents relating to it. Credit advertisements are required to contain certain information to ensure consumer get the full picture and are not misled. The act also controls Pawn Brokers.
The trading standards team enforces legislation that requires all goods offered for sale are clearly marked with a price and that the price is not misleading.
Descriptions of Goods
Whenever you buy goods from a retailer, the goods should be 'as described'. This means that any descriptive indication about the goods should be accurate. The indication could be on the packaging of the product, on display material, or be given verbally by the retailer. If the goods are not as described, this can give rise to both a civil or criminal breach of the law.
Examples of false descriptions in the car trade could relate to the odometer reading, previous history or condition of the vehicle. Other examples could be cutlery described as stainless steel, when they are not made of stainless steel, and describing a carpet as pure wool when it contains a mixture of fibres.
Medway trading standards team is responsible for the safe storage and licensing of sites storing petrol. Every premise that stores over 20 litres of petrol for either personal or commercial use, must be licensed and comply with the rules for the safe storage of petrol.
We inspect petrol filing stations and private properties, do-it-yourself stores and some car re-spray paint workshops to inspect their storage facilities. Petrol stations are regularly inspected to ensure that retailers keep accurate records of how much petrol they are taking in deliveries, and how much they are selling. These records are an important part of checking that there are no leaks in any of the storage tanks.
If you are storing more than 20 litres of petrol on your premises, then please contact our licensing team on (01634) 333184. If you have any other queries relating to the storage of petroleum, then please contact the trading standards team on (01634) 333170.
The trading standards team carries out visits to premises that store and sell explosives. These can be anything from fireworks, through to the explosive devices used to trigger air bags in cars and black powder for use in historical re-enactment displays and ceremonial cannons. Any premise that holds any form of explosive, needs to be registered with Medway Council.
The licensing conditions vary for each type and quantity of explosive that is kept, so if you are unsure of how you should be storing your explosives and what licence you require, contact one of our trading standards officers on (01634) 333170. If you know what licence you need, then contact our licensing team direct on (01634) 333184.
Retailers of some types of poisons have to be registered with the Council. These can include types of oven cleaner, kettle de-scalers, agricultural sprays and other compounds for use in that industry. There are set storage requirements to ensure these products are kept in a safe manner and do not contaminate other products.
For registration please contact our licensing team on (01634) 333184. For further information, please contact the trading standards team on (01634) 333170.
Medway Trading Standards Team enforces the sale of age restricted products to underage people.
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Trading Standards Team
Medway Council, Trading Standards Team, Copyright Medway 2012
Copyright Medway 2012