Councillors recently received the annual update report from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards and were impressed with the volume of work being delivered by the newly-merged shared service.
Peterborough City Council’s Trading Standards Service merged with Cambridgeshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service back in April and the team is overseen by Peterborough City Council’s Head of Regulatory Services, Peter Gell.
The merger of the services has proved incredibly successful, with financial savings being realised and performance objectives being met across both authorities, with a greater shared ‘pool’ of officers to tackle issues in both areas.
Amongst the work being carried out were a number of interventions which help to keep residents safe on a daily basis, and tackling rogue traders in Cambridgeshire continues to be a priority for the service. Rogue traders deliberately prey on the vulnerable, and once a victim has been scammed, they invariably visit them time and time again, trying to illicit further money from them.
Over the last year rogue trader prosecutions and interventions by the service has resulted in consumers getting their money back across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to a current total of £56,670 . This includes a £10,000 sum as the result of a court compensation order following prosecution, and others examples included officers attending incidents on doorsteps to stop consumers handing over their cash.
The Trading Standards team also make phone calls to businesses on behalf of consumers to get their money back in extenuating circumstances.
Cllr Ian Bates Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee, said: “The report was very comprehensive, and shows the enormous amount of work that is being done through the shared service.
“Cross-border projects taking place to deal with issues affecting both local authority areas include tackling fraud, stopping the sale of counterfeit and unsafe products, and ensuring public safety
“I’d like to give a big thanks to the staff of the Trading Standards service, who are protecting vulnerable people and making the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a great and safe place to live.”
Peter Gell, Peterborough City Council's Head of Regulatory Services, said: “I am delighted that the work carried out by our shared Trading Standards team is making such a positive difference across the area.
“The team is dedicated to protecting members of the public and will always look to take appropriate action whenever breaches in the law are brought to our attention."
The Service continues to be recognised nationally for Excellence, as demonstrated in its award for “Best service team of the year” at the prestigious Association for Public Service Excellence Awards earlier this month in the category for ‘Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Regulatory Services’.
The award recognised the impact the service was having, locally, regionally and nationally, and it recognised the success of the merger in bringing about much needed resilience and efficiency at a time of austerity and significant population growth.
For more information about everything Trading Standards can assist with, please visit the council website.