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About us

Service plans, governance and policies

The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service Strategic Plan outlines the visions, aims, objectives and priorities that drive our work. The Service is commissioned jointly by Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Councils and the Plan demonstrates how the Service contributes to the corporate priorities of all four authorities. You can also view our governance arrangements and organisational structure.

To ensure we are dealing with the issues that currently 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 national, regional and 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 Control Strategy for 2023-24 identified the following areas as priorities: 

  • Scams.
  • Doorstep crime and rogue traders.
  • Animal health and welfare including disease control.
  • Illicit tobacco and vapes.
  • Food allergens and standards.

The cross-cutting issue identified was the cost-of-living crisis.

We then produce an Annual Operational Plan setting out how we will achieve those objectives, including clearly set out operational targets under each of our strategic objectives. A summary of planned activities for 2023-24 is outlined below.

Economic growth is supported by ensuring a fair, responsible and competitive trading environment

  • Provision of enhanced rural business support through intelligence-led inspections with a focus on animal disease control.
  • Tackling most-complained-about traders.
  • Carrying out interventions with businesses that are classed as high priority.
  • Further development of our paid-for business services including bespoke business advice.
  • Improving engagement, rapport and regulatory awareness in the business community and integrating the economic development offer within the Business Support and Innovation Team with the wider Service.
  • Responding to high-priority complaints as per our control strategy and threat assessment matrix.

Protecting consumers, especially the most vulnerable

  • Raising awareness of scams and supporting victims, through social media, talks and events to educate consumers and businesses. Promotion of Friends Against Scams and partnership working.
  • Taking measures against doorstep criminals and rogue traders that prevents or disrupts their activities including appropriate enforcement action.
  • Ensuring appropriate safety measures are in place at regulated sports grounds, petroleum sites and explosives stores.
  • Market surveillance and sampling that is intelligence-led in the areas of product safety, food and feed, focusing primarily on those imported, manufactured and produced in the Service area.

To help people live healthier lives by preventing harm and promoting individual health

  • Supporting the rural community and farming through partnership working and business engagement including Future Farming Resilience.
  • Provision of regulatory support, partnership working and improving compliance in the local lettings sector.
  • Ensuring Food Standards are adhered to, particularly in relation to those contributing to health improvement and public safety.
  • Ensuring compliance with age-restricted products laws focusing on the sale of vapes and tobacco to children.
  • Disrupting the supply and sale of Illicit tobacco and vapes and taking part in a regional project aimed at carrying out intelligence-led interventions to reduce its availability in the Service area.

The Control Strategy and Annual Operational Plan are available in full on request.

In addition to the overall service-wide plans, we are statutorily required to produce service plans for the areas of agricultural feed and food standards.

To show how we performed in the previous financial year, we produce an Annual Performance Report.