This Strategic Plan – 2017-2021 details the governance and structure of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service and outlines the vision, aims, objectives and priorities that drive our work. The Service is commissioned jointly by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Councils and the Plan demonstrates clearly how the Service contributes to the corporate priorities of all three authorities.
The Strategic Plan is reviewed and refreshed annually but sets out our general objectives over a three year period. You can also read our Annual Operational Plan 2018/19 which provides further detail on how we will achieve those objectives and sets out clear operational targets.
To show how we performed against our earlier targets, we produce an Annual Performance Report. The current version details our performance over the financial year 2017/18.
In order to ensure we are dealing with the issues that cause the most concern and harm to consumers and businesses we follow the National Trading Standards Board Intelligence Operating Model, which helps us identify, prioritise and direct resources to those areas of greatest local importance.
After completing a strategic assessment, we produce a control strategy which details our priority areas and how we plan to tackle them. Our 2018/19 Control Strategy can be viewed here.
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act – policy
Occasionally, some of our activities will require the use of techniques which can be regarded as covert surveillance, for example, the investigation of criminal allegations. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 provides the statutory framework for the operation of covert surveillance and the use of covert human intelligence sources (CHIS).
We are only allowed to use RIPA if the activity is absolutely necessary for the prevention and detection of crime, not for any other purpose.
The activity, and the intrusion that comes with it, has to be proportionate to the issues under investigation. Any activity must be authorised by a ‘designated person’ or ‘authorising officer’. In addition, approval of the authorisation must be obtained from a Magistrates Court before it can take place, and our activities are inspected by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office.
The Devon County Council policy on RIPA is available here and it details the officers able to authorise RIPA activities.