The purpose of our enforcement policy is to protect consumers and legitimate businesses in West Sussex. It outlines how we deal with infringements of legislation and how these are dealt with by Trading Standards.
- When minor infringements are detected by officers, suggested corrective action and a timescale to comply will be provided in writing.
- Officers will distinguish between legal requirements and good practice advice.
- A person will be informed as soon as practicable when an investigation is pertinent to their business. This may be delayed in appropriate circumstances if the disclosure would undermine or otherwise prejudice the investigation.
- Investigations into alleged breaches of Trading Standards law will be progressed within a reasonable time.
- Before deciding to take any formal action, officers will provide an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of the case and, if possible, resolve points of difference, unless immediate action is required (for example, in the interests of safety or to prevent evidence from being destroyed).
- Where immediate action is necessary, an explanation of why such action is required will be given at the time and confirmed in writing, in most cases within 5 working days and in all cases within 10 working days.
- Reports recommending formal criminal or civil law action will be given due consideration by a Trading Standards senior manager who will consider all relevant criteria before determining the appropriate enforcement outcome.
- Where a right of appeal against a formal action exists, other than through the courts, advice on the appeal process will be clearly set out in writing at the time the action is taken.
Our aim is to support and encourage businesses to comply with the law, however there will be circumstances where it may be necessary to consider formal action in order to deal with non-compliance, for example, where we identify unfair or unsafe trading practices.
Each breach of legislation will not automatically be the subject of prosecution or civil law action, but will be carefully considered on its own merits and appropriate action taken from a wide range of enforcement options.