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TSOs can do what they like

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 15-Jul-09 03:18:29 PM

Not a very good sub-heading, I know, but basically right all the same…

In a written answer to Lib Dem MP, Mark Oaten, who asked Housing Minister, John Healey, if he would “assess [the] performance” of Trading Standards in enforcing HIP duties, Healey replied:

It is for individual trading standards offices to decide on how to exercise their enforcement duties, including those that apply to home information packs, in the light of local priorities.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 14 July 2009 – Hansard

Eh?! What question are you answering, Mr Healey?

“In light of local priorities.” In other words: subject to a TSO’s budget elasticity, as last year’s public relations disaster with Birmingham’s TSO revealed.

Loss of market-share prompts action

In a nutshell, when Birmingham’s Local Land Charges Dept was hit by a ‘drop in searches and a decline in overall market share,’ last year, it nudged its local Trading Standards Office (TSO) to investigate why ‘numerous’ Home Information Packs in the area cited, “no information available” on searches, ‘when clearly it was’, wrote Nigel Hemmings, Local Land Charges Manager, in his report, Birmingham Trading Standards Investigation: Case Study (pdf).

Birmingham TSO told Hemmings it was “willing to carry out an investigation but would have to wait for a budget, which was expected in April 2008”.

So, you know, perhaps I’m overly cynical, but let’s stitch this together:

  • Mr Healey tells us: ‘in light of local priorities’;
  • Birmingham LA loses market-share so, annoyed, it taps-up its local TSO;
  • TSO make it a priority, but only when it could afford to.

Draw your own conclusions.

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Posts: 1
Trading Standards
Reply #1 on : Wed July 22, 2009, 13:46:27
A while ago I had a conversion with Simon Barnes of CLG (who now seems to have disappeared)about Trading Standards and their lack of performance. He assured me that CLG had provided a "ring fenced budget to TS purely for HIP, EPC enforcement" He was unable to say if any of the budget had been spent by anyone.

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