Public Safety and Regulation - Enforcement and Prosecution Policy

Public Safety and Regulation - Enforcement and Prosecution Policy

The Public Safety and Regulation Division delivers a wide range of statutory functions and regulatory activity to protect the health of residents, promote economic growth and fair trading, and safeguard the environment. To do so it licenses certain activities, carries out risk-based inspections, responds to complaints and investigates breaches of the law.

The service areas covered by this policy include environmental health (including food safety, pollution control and housing standards), licensing (of taxis, street trading, alcohol, etc.) and trading standards (including animal welfare, product safety and consumer protection).

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 requires us to publish an Enforcement and Prosecution Policy.


The purpose of enforcement

We take enforcement action to ensure steps are taken to deal with risks, promote and sustain compliance with the law, and make sure that those who break the law are held to account. We believe in firm, but fair, enforcement of the law, and it is our policy that all enforcement action should be proportionate to the risks and to the seriousness of any breach of the law.

Fair and effective enforcement protects the environment from harm and safeguards the health, safety, wellbeing and the interests of residents, visitors, workers and businesses, while creating a fair trading environment for business.


The principles of enforcement

In carrying out regulatory activities, Public Safety and Regulation will have regard to Principles of Good Regulation (as defined in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006). These are:

  • proportionality in the application of the law and in securing compliance
  • accountability for the enforcement action taken
  • consistency of approach
  • transparency about how the Authority operates and what those who are regulated can expect from the Authority, and
  • targeting of enforcement action

The Division's Enforcement and Prosecution Policy can be viewed here:

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy


This version of the policy was approved by the Cabinet Member for an Efficient Council on 17 October 2022.

The purpose of the policy is to be transparent and to communicate how we will deal with offending and non-compliance with legal requirements. It helps promote a transparent, proportionate and effective approach to regulatory inspection and enforcement, and improve regulatory outcomes, without imposing unnecessary burdens.

The policy supplements national guidance, for example the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the Statutory Code of Practice for Regulators and Guidance on Simple Cautions published by the Ministry of Justice, as well as other codes of practice issued by HM Government departments and agencies. All actions and interventions are taken in accordance with legislation and relevant guidance or directions. 


Function-specific policies 

Supplementary policies cover the specific regulatory functions of food safety, health and safety, and the use of civil penalties for private sector housing enforcement. We are required to follow the policy of the Health & Safety Executive when enforcing health and safety law in workplaces allocated to us.


Code for Crown Prosecutors and Crown Prosecution Service guidelines

We follow the principles set down in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Where issues of public interest, alternative disposals or fitness to plead are to be considered, we will refer to the relevant Crown Prosecution Service prosecution guidelines.



We are committed to dealing with complaints fairly and impartially and the Council operates a three stage complaints procedure. You cannot normally complain about the law or its application or about the Council's policies. You can complain about Council policy if you feel that, compared to others, you have been unfairly treated.   

When we enforce the law, the justice system provides the statutory route by which to challenge an allegation of an offence, present your mitigation or appeal against the actions of the Council, such as the requirements in a works or abatement notice, or the refusal to grant a licence. Internal complaint procedures and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman cannot be used instead of the appropriate appeal route (Local Government Act 1974, section 26). Any right of appeal will be explained to you in writing.


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