Newcastle Open for Business: Public Safety and Regulation

Open for Business

This page explains what you can expect of the City Council's enforcement teams located within the Public Safety and Regulation division. Whether you run a business, are an employee or a member of the public, we are committed to providing you with an efficient, courteous and helpful service and this page tells you how we aim to do that and what standards we will meet. For information about a complaint you may have, please go to section 10.4, or to provide feedback about our service, please go to section 10.5

This policy statement contains information on the following:

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Areas we regulate
3.0 Primary Authority Partnership
4.0 How we deliver our services
5.0 Working with you
6.0 Helping you to get it right
7.0 Inspections and other compliance visits
8.0 Responding to non-compliance
9.0 Request for our services
10.0 Our team

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Commitment to Principles of Good Enforcement

This document sets out what business and others can expect from the City Council's enforcement teams as located within the Public Safety and Regulation division. It commits the City Council to good enforcement policies and procedures. It is supplemented where necessary by other documents, such as Business Service plans, which set out in greater detail the specific policies, procedures and standards of service, which apply to particular regulatory services. The Services covered by this policy and contact details are set out in Appendix A. 

1.2 Why Do We Have a Written Enforcement Policy?

The primary function of local government regulatory activity is to protect the public, the environment and groups such as consumers, residents and tenants, workers and businesses. However, it is important that these enforcement functions are carried out in an equitable, practical and consistent manner, and that those subject to regulation and those on whose behalf enforcement is carried out are aware of the Council's policy on enforcement.

1.3 A Policy Consistent with Best Practice and Statutory Requirement

This Policy helps to promote efficient and effective approaches to regulatory inspection and enforcement, which improve regulatory outcomes without imposing unnecessary burdens on business and others subject to regulation. This Policy has been developed with due regard to the Principles of Good Enforcement set out in the following guiding documents: The Regulators' Compliance Code is a statutory code of practice to ensure the City Council has a risk-based, proportionate, targeted and flexible approach to regulatory inspection and enforcement so we do not impose an unnecessary burden on those we regulate.

1.4 Principles of Good Regulation

Newcastle City Council is committed to better, smarter regulation. We follow the five principles of good regulation:-

  • proportionality
  • accountability
  • consistency
  • transparency
  • targeting

These principles are integral to our Enforcement Policy Statement.  To ensure our approach to regulatory activities is transparent we publish our service standards each year and set out what we expect of those we regulate. Our enforcement policy, explains how we respond to non-compliance. Published service standards help us to be transparent and accountable about our activities. 

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2.0 Areas We Regulate

2.1 Services

The Council's Public Safety and Regulation division is responsible for a range of services including food safety, health and safety, alcohol, gambling and taxi licensing, trading standards and animal health. If you would like to comment about the service that you have received from the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Services please complete our quick survey.

We deliver services in a number of areas:-

Environmental Protection Taxi Licensing Food Safety
Health and Safety Alcohol Licensing Housing
Building Control Trading Standards Environmental Crime
Resilience Planning Animal Welfare Parking Control

Animal Welfare

The Council's Animal Health service can provide a wide range of information on animal welfare issues including the dog warden service, disease prevention and the enforcement of animal health and welfare legislation. Please see our pages on Animal health for more information.

Food Safety

All food businesses in the City are visited on a regular programmed basis by the food safety service - restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, corner shops, warehouses and manufacturers. After each inspection premises are given a star rating which is displayed on the website Scores on the Doors. See our pages on food safety for all information on how we ensure businesses comply with legislative requirements, and this also includes information on food safety training.

Health and Safety

The Council's Environmental Health service is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety matters in a range of non-industrial premises such as shops, offices and restaurants.  Our Health and Safety pages include information about inspections and enforcement.

Housing

The Council's Environmental Health service is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety matters in homes. Find advice on affordable warmth, disrepair, empty homes, fire safety, HMOs and public health issues in our pages on Housing.

Environmental Protection

Complaints of noise are dealt with by the Environment and Safety Team.  Find out about our services and read our advice about dealing with noise problems at Noise and Nuisance.

Trading Standards

Our Trading Standards service seeks to make Newcastle a Safer and Fairer City by inspiring and supporting communities to take the lead themselves against unfair and rogue trading, and by encouraging people to get involved and work together in continue to build consumer confidence in Newcastle. 

Building Control

The Building Control Service deal with building regulations, skip, scaffold / hoarding licences, reports of dangerous structures, demolition notices, projection over highway licences, street naming and numbering and safety at sports grounds. Please see the pages Building Control for further information.

Resilience Planning

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places statutory duties on the City Council in its capacity as a Category 1 Responder. Responders work together to ensure that an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare and/or the environment. Resilience Planning also support businesses in thinking about planning business continuity during and after incidents.

Alcohol Licensing

Any business or person who sells or supplies alcohol needs to apply for a licence. The City Council is the licensing authority for it's own area, and considers all applications for licences in terms of the objectives laid out in the City Council's Licensing policy. The Licensing authority also monitors and inspects compliance with licence conditions and deals with complaints regarding licensed premises.

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles have an important role in the local transport infrastructure. Newcastle licensed taxis are divided into two sections of the trade, Hackney Carriage and Private Hire. The licensing of Hackney Carriage vehicles, Private Hire vehicles, their drivers and operators is carried out by the City Council's  Taxi and Private Hire Licensing team.

Parking Control

Newcastle Parking Services operate a network of car parks in the city centre, administer the blue badge parking scheme, and offer a range of parking permits. Please see our pages on Parking for further information.

Environmental Crime

We licence and regulate processes and activities that discharge to the air, investigate fly-tipping offences, cable burning and open fires, take enforcement action against littering, fly-posting and dog fouling, ensure that domestic and trade waste is properly presented, provide a dog warden service and identify and remediate contaminated land. It is possible to report fly-tipping online.

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3.0 Primary Authority Partnership

Primary Authority Partnerships allow businesses to be involved in their own regulation.

It provides businesses, trade associations, and similar bodies the opportunity to form a legally binding agreement with a single local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice that other councils must take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance. 

The Local Authority Partner can block any proposed enforcement action in circumstances where the partner business/association is operating in accordance with with any published Primary Authority advice. These agreements can cover a range of regulatory activities undertaken by Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Fire Authorities. 

Applicable activities covered by Newcastle City Council include health and safety, food safety, pollution prevention and control, housing health and safety rating system, amongst others.

Benefits

The benefits to business include; reduced duplication at inspections, targeting of resources to areas of greatest risk, and improved consistency of regulation. It also recognises good practice and the commitment of businesses that are striving to improve compliance.

For local authorities, it presents an opportunity to work constructively with businesses to improve compliance across local authority boundaries, and permits targeting of resources to areas of greatest risk, both locally and nationally. 

Costs

The business, trade association or similar body can decide what level of support is required, and the resourcing of partnerships is a matter for parties concerned. A primary authority can recover its costs. 

Further Information

For further information please visit the Primary Authority Register, email pa@brdo.bis.gsi.gov.uk or call 0121 345 1200. Also see the Better Regulation Delivery Office for information and a register of partnerships.

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4.0 How we deliver our services

4.1 Our Aims

Public Safety and Regulation make a fundamental contribution to the maintenance and improvement of public health, quality of life, and wellbeing. Our aims are to:-

  • Protect the public, businesses and the environment from harm
  • Support the local economy to grow, prosper and create jobs

We determine our activities by assessing the needs of local people and our business community, and considering the risks that require addressing. We do this through our community engagement processes as Let's Talk Newcastle and through using data and other information available to us and our partners. In this way we ensure our resources are targeted appropriately, in the light of these local needs and of national priorities.

4.2 Work Programme

Details of our current work programme are available in our service plan. We are are committed to being transparent in all our activities. We measure what is important and we publish a range of information about our performance data so that you can see how we are doing in our service plan. We carry out all our activities in a way that supports those we regulate to comply, and grow:-

  • We ensure that information, guidance and advice is available to help you to meet legal requirements. See Helping you to get it right
  • We carry out inspections and other activities to check compliance with legal requirements, and we target these checks where we believe they are most needed. See Inspections and other compliance visits
  • We deal proportionately with breaches of the law as set out in our Enforcement Policy, including taking firm enforcement action when necessary. See Responding to non-compliance
  • We provide a range of services to businesses, including; pest control, licences, registrations, issue of certificates. See Requests for our service.
  • Our services will be delivered in accordance with the requirements of the Regulators' Code

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5.0 Working with you

In all your dealings with us you can expect, and will receive, an efficient and professional service. Our officers will:-

  • Be courteous and polite
  • Always identify themselves by name in dealings with you, and provide you with contact details
  • Seek to gain an understanding of how your business operates
  • Provide details of how to discuss any concerns you may have
  • Agree timescales, expectations and preferred methods of communication with you
  • Ensure that you are kept informed of progress on any outstanding issues.

We recognise that your business will receive advice and inspections from other organisations, and we will do our best to work with them to ensure that you receive the best service.

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6.0 Helping you to get it right

6.1 Supporting Business

We want to work with you to help your business to be compliant and successful and it is important to us that you feel able to come to us for advice when you need it. We won't take enforcement action just because you tell us that you have a problem.

We will make information and guidance on meeting legal requirements available. Where you need advice that is tailored to your particular needs and circumstances we will:-

  • Discuss with you what is required to achieve compliance
  • Provide advice that supports compliance and that can be relied on
  • Provide clear advice that can be easily understood and implemented
  • Distinguish legal requirements from suggested good practice
  • Ensure that any verbal advice you receive is confirmed in writing if requested
  • Acknowledge good practice and compliance.

6.2  We are open to work with businesses - however and whenever

Businesses may not have the opportunity to contact their council during a busy working day and we will endeavour to make sure councils' services and support are easy to understand and access at any time. We will:-

  • Ensure environmental health, licensing and trading standards services are a core part of the council offer to businesses and this is reflected in all material made available to businesses.
  • Provide comprehensive and simple online information about what support is available, including online licence applications, online payments, easy to access contact details for advice and links to other sources of support.
  • Ensuring information about licence fees is easily available.
  • Ensure businesses can find information on how to contact Public Safety and Regulation services out of hours.
  • We will ensure you have a named point of contact, when you deal with our service.
  • We will work with businesses to identify if there is a local need for support and guidance in response to new legislation or emerging local trends. We will work across our council to ensure our databases and mailing lists are up to date.
  • We are willing to engage with Businesses to support them in a Primary Authority or Home Authority relationship to help businesses reduce the burden of regulation and have assured advice. These kind of relationships help ensure businesses are treated fairly and consistently across the country by fellow regulators.
  • We take pride in supporting our business community and we can be approached for advice without fear of penalty.

6.3 Charges

Sometimes there is a charge for the services and advice we give. We aim to ensure our costs are transparent and you can find a full list of our fees and charges in the attached document.

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7.0 Inspections and other compliance visits

We monitor and support compliance in a number of different ways including through inspections, sampling visits, test purchases, advisory visits and complaint investigations. These visits will always be based on an assessment of risk – we won’t visit without a reason.

We will give you notice that we intend to visit unless we have specific reason to believe that an unannounced visit is more appropriate.

Our vision is to move away from traditional inspections because responsible businesses will be ready and able to approach local regulators for advice as and when it is needed. However, we recognise that where inspections continue to play a part in our work and act as a key interface with businesses, it is vital that we get this right.

Our Inspection Plans:-

  • Focus inspections on high risk business activity and businesses that break the law or give rise to complaints.
  • Visits are arranged at the most appropriate time to inspect based on the need and nature of the business.
  • We will notify you of our intention to visit where it does not undermine the aim of the visit or the ability to protect consumers. This can help you plan additional staff cover.
  • We will make the aim of the visit clear, explaining what to expect and why, and stress that we can give you advice.
  • We will leave you a feedback forms after our inspections and make them available online.
  • When possible we will try and arrange joint visits across council services or with other regulatory partners.
  • We will have regard to Primary Authority inspection plans to ensure visits are focused on risk.
  • Opportunity will be afforded to you to raise queries about wider council services and ensure these are owned until the business receives a response.
  • We will provide a written summary of the items covered during the inspection.

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8.0 Responding to non-compliance

Where we identify any failure to meet legal obligations, we will respond proportionately, taking account of the circumstances, in line with our Enforcement Policy (pdf, 94kb).

We deal proportionately with breaches of the law as set out in our Enforcement Policy, including taking firm enforcement action when necessary

Where we require you to take action to remedy any failings we will:

  • Explain the nature of the non-compliance
  • Discuss what is required to achieve compliance, taking into account your circumstances
  • Clearly explain any advice, actions required or decisions that we have taken
  • Agree timescales that are acceptable to both you and us, in relation to any actions required
  • Provide in writing details of how to appeal against any advice provided, actions required or decisions taken, including any statutory rights to appeal
  • Explain what will happen next
  • Keep in touch with you, where required, until the matter is resolved

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9.0 Requests for our services

We clearly explain the services that we offer, including details of any fees and charges that apply. In responding to requests for our services, including requests for advice and complaints about breaches of the law, we will:-

  • Acknowledge your request within 3 working days
  • Tell you when you can expect a substantive response
  • Seek to fully understand the nature of your request
  • Explain what we may or may not be able to do, so that you know what to expect
  • Keep you informed of progress throughout our involvement
  • Inform you of the outcome as appropriate

A detailed breakdown of our response times and expected resolution times will be made available, however, please be aware that our officers will exercise their judgment to determine whether a more prompt response is required.

How to contact us

You can contact us by calling 0191 2787878, emailing psr@newcastle.gov.uk or visiting our website at www.newcastle.gov.uk. You can also write to us at 'Public Safety and Regulation', Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Or in person at the Civic Centre between 08.00 and 16.30, from Monday to Friday.

We will seek to work with you in the most appropriate way to meet your individual needs. We can make information available in different formats, and have access to translation and interpretation services. 

If you contact us we will ask you for your name and contact details to enable us to keep in touch with you as the matter progresses. We treat all contact with the service in confidence unless you have given us permission to share your details with others as part of the matter we are dealing with on your behalf or there is an operational reason why we need to do so. We will respond to anonymous complaints and enquiries where we judge it appropriate to do so.

Personal data will be managed in accordance with Newcastle City Council's Data Protection Policy.

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10.0 Our Team

We have a dedicated team of officers who have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience to deliver the services provided. We have arrangements in place to ensure the ongoing professional competency of all officers.

Where specialist knowledge is required in an area outside of our expertise we have arrangements in place, with both neighbouring authorities and other regulatory organisations, to call on additional resources as necessary.

10.1 Our Management

Assistant Director Public Safety and Regulation Stephen Savage stephen.p.savage@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116110
Service Manager for Environment and Public Protection Ed Foster edwin.t.foster@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116132
Commercial Team Manager David Ellerington david.c.ellerington@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116119
Licensing Team Manager Jonathan Bryce jonathan.bryce@newcastle.gov.uk 01912777816
Environmental Protection Team Manager Roy Harris roy.harris@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116131
Public Protection and Neighbourhoods Team Manager Paula Davis paula.davis@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116715
Head of Parking Control Craig Mordue craig.mordue@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116161
Head of Building Control David Ewles david.n.ewles@newcastle.gov.uk 01912116180
Head of Resilience Planning Helen Hinds helen.hinds@newcastle.gov.uk 01912777151

10.2 Working with others

We work closely with other council services such as Planning and Economic Development and our aim is to provide a streamlined service to you.

We are part of a much wider regulatory system in the North East. We have good working relationships with other regulators such as Police, Environment Agency, Health and safety Executive and other local authorities, this enables us to deliver a more joined up and consistent service. This includes sharing information and data on compliance and risk, where the law allows, to help target regulatory resources.

Our officers are familiar with the work of our partners and can signpost you to the advice and guidance you need.

10.3 Having your say

Complaints and Appeals; where we take enforcement action, there is often a statutory right to appeal. We will always tell you about this at the appropriate time.

We are always willing to discuss with you the reasons why we have acted in a particular way, or asked you to act in a particular way. We manage complaints about our service, or about the conduct of our officers, through Newcastle City Council's Corporate Complaints Policy. We aim to provide high-quality services for all members of the public. We accept that things can sometimes go wrong and we need to know when you are not happy with our service.

When you tell us what you are not happy with, we can try to put things right. In future, we can try to get it right first time. We will treat your complaint seriously and deal with your complaint positively.

We are committed to putting you first and providing quality customer service. This includes dealing with any complaint you may have.

  • We will deal with your complaint quickly and fairly.
  • We will tell you what is happening with your complaint and we will do everything we can to help you.
  • We will do our best to treat the information you give us in confidence.
  • We will explain our decision.
  • We will use complaints to review and improve the way we provide services.
  • If you make a complaint, it will not affect your rights to receive or use a council service.

10.4 How do I make a complaint?

You can complain in person, by phone, by letter or complaint form, by email or online form, as follows, please complete our on-line form, email complaints@newcastle.gov.uk, telephone 0191 278 7878 and ask for "Complaints" from 8am to 6pm or for customers with hearing difficulties, please use our minicom number 0191 211 4944. You can also visit any of our council offices in person at Customer Service Centres from 8.30am to 4.30pm, or libraries to make a complaint. You may also fill in a complaints form, or write to Complaints at Newcastle, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

10.5 Feedback
 
We value input from you to help us ensure our service is meeting your needs. We would like to hear from you whether your experience of us has been good or in need of improvement. This helps us to ensure we keep doing the right things and make changes where we need to. You can give feedback to us through our survey, or you can provide feedback to us by contacting us directly on  0191 2787878, email psr@newcastle.gov.uk or visit www.newcastle.gov.uk. Alternatively please write to Public Safety and Regulation, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Or please visit in person at the Civic Centre between 08.00 and 16.30, from Monday to Friday.

Any feedback that we receive will be acknowledged, considered and responded to.

10.6 Developing our services for you

We provide businesses with advice and networking opportunities to help them grow and create thriving communities. 

One to one support is also available to help businesses to identify public and private sector tender opportunities, as well as intensive workshops and 1 to 1 support to get businesses tender ready.

For more information on how to access our free advice and support, please contact Business to Business, Spectrum 6, Spectrum Business Park, Seaham, SR7 7TT or email paul@btob.co.uk, telephone 0191 426 6333.

We have specialist officers based in local areas across the city, providing advice and information to business and helping them to access support available through Enterprising Newcastle and other support initiatives. Your local contacts for the East is Ed Banks - edward.banks@newcastle.gov.uk, and the West is Geraldine Cunningham - geraldine.cunningham@newcastle.gov.uk.

For further information on the contents of this webpage contact Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Phone: (0191) 2116102
Email: psr@newcastle.gov.uk

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Page last updated: 
26 August 2017
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