The Public Protection services of a council include environmental health, trading standards, pollution control, pest control, weights and measures, building control, advice services, licensing, food safety, health and safety and animal health.
They have agreed to focus on a set of National Priorities for Wales, namely protecting individuals from harm and promoting health improvement, ensuring the safety and quality of the food chain to minimise risk to human and animal health, promoting a fair and just trading environment for citizens and business and improving the local environment to positively influence quality of life and promote sustainability.
Public Protection services are on the front line in protecting the public from many diseases, preventing or responding to outbreaks of Legionella and e-coli for example. Whilst unfortunately some outbreaks occur, much successful preventative work is undertaken daily and often goes unseen and unnoticed.
Animal disease outbreaks, such as foot and mouth, avian influenza and even rabies see regulatory services officers called into action to coordinate and enforce emergency control plans to ensure that animal health and legitimate businesses are protected.
The provision of alcohol licenses, the safety of taxi and private hire vehicles and their drivers, weights and measures accuracy, gambling premises, the monitoring of air quality and contaminated land, all fall within the remit of Regulatory Services – to name but a few.
Consumer advice is now provided by the citizens advice consumer service.
Criminal matters which require further investigation are referred to the relevant local authority’s trading standards services.
Unregulated, illegal money lending (operated by ‘loan sharks’ who charge between 500% and 11,000,000 % interest on loans) is also an issue of concern and an all-Wales unit has been set up to combat this problem. The unit will also provide appropriate support to victims and communities affected, working with other agencies to provide money advice and financial assistance.
Links: Food Standards Agency in Wales l Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Cymru-Wales l the Money Advice Service - Local sharks l Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO) and National Trading Standards l Chartered Trading Standards Institute l Wales Heads of Trading Standards l Regulating Our Future - Developing the Food Standard Agency's New Approach to Regulating Food Businesses
For more information contact: Simon Wilkinson