The joint Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service has now welcomed Torbay to the mix.
This will be the first time three English Trading Standards services have merged into a single shared service. The plan gives all three councils ‘greater clout’ at a time of significant financial pressure, regulatory change and increasing demand.
Devon County Council’s Cabinet and Torbay Council’s elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, have already approved the merger. This week, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, David Hall, added his stamp of approval to the plans.
A new shared service would cover the majority of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area, creating a consistent approach for businesses across Devon, Somerset and Torbay. This decision follows the success of the Devon and Somerset shared service which was formed in 2013.
The larger single service will benefit from further economies of scale, more capacity for tackling major investigations, greater resilience in dealing with emergencies and allow for wider specialisation in the support and advice it can offer business.
It will maintain its current offices in both Devon and Somerset and will retain a presence in Torbay.
Cllr Hall said: “By joining forces with Torbay we can deliver a stronger, more resilient service, better able to meet future challenges and demands.
“We will be able to better handle major incidents such as animal health disease outbreaks, deliver more effective interventions against increasingly sophisticated criminal activity and improve our service to businesses.”
Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “This proposal is a win-win for businesses, residents and all three councils. The delivery of certain trading standards functions has always benefited from working on a larger scale.
“This larger shared service gives Trading Standards officers the resources and flexibility to deal with complex or emergency situations and allows for the range of specialist expertise needed to cover the broad range of functions within its remit and having the necessary ‘clout’ to tackle major organisations.”
Cllr Terry Manning, Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Environment with responsibility for Trading Standards said: “A new shared service will enable Torbay to further improve trading standards provision. With increasing pressure on budgets we must make sure we work hard to get the best value from our spending and find more efficient and cost effective ways of providing services.”