Trading Standards service compliance and enforcement policy


This policy sets out what businesses, individuals and communities can expect from our enforcement officers. It should be read with our prosecution and enforcement sanctions policy.

Our policy takes into account the statutory duties, obligations and principles set out in:

  • the Regulators Code (made under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006)
  • The Enforcement Concordat 
  • The Human Rights Act 1998

As a service we aim to conduct our enforcement activities in a manner that is consistent, fair, transparent, accountable, proportionate and targeted.

The purpose of our enforcement policy

Securing compliance with legislation is one of the mechanisms by which the Trading Standards Service achieves its overall objectives to:

  • Objective 1: Develop our use of intelligence to scan and test the market place and tackle those organised criminal networks and unscrupulous businesses who deliberately, repeatedly or recklessly engage in fraudulent trading practices that harm the interests of consumers and legitimate businesses. Whilst rogue trading can occur in any trade sector we have identified the following that specifically impact our local communities:
    • doorstep crime and scams
    • cybercrime
    • illicit tobacco
    • product safety
    • second-hand car sales
    • intellectual property, and
    • food fraud
  • Objective 2: To support economic growth by helping businesses to comply with their legal responsibilities and enhancing public protection through delivery of our chargeable business advice services and through increasing the number of our business partnerships.
  • Objective 3: To engage with the public, communities, businesses and partners to increase resilience and safeguard the vulnerable against scams, rogue trading and unfair business practices.

To do this we enforce a wide range of business and consumer protection legislation relating to:

  • quality
  • quantity
  • safety
  • description
  • commercial animal welfare
  •  prices of goods and services 

We undertake our duties in a variety of ways including:

  • inspection
  • sampling
  • test purchasing
  • testing
  • investigation 
  • legal proceedings
  • informing, advising and educating businesses and consumers

This policy adopts principles developed in conjunction with Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM) to help us to promote an efficient and effective approach to regulatory enforcement. This helps to improve regulatory outcomes without imposing unnecessary burdens on legitimate businesses. TSEM is a partnership of local authority Trading Standards Services covering the East Midlands Region:

  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • Derby City Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Nottingham City Council

The effectiveness of legislation protecting businesses and consumers is largely dependent upon the compliance of those it intends to regulate. The service recognises that most businesses want to comply with the law. We will endeavour to help them and others to meet their legal obligations.

In circumstances where we may share an enforcement responsibility with another agency for example The Competition and Markets Authority, The Food Standards Agency, Environmental Health and the Police, we will endeavour to coordinate with these agencies to minimise any unnecessary overlap or time delay and to maximise our effectiveness.

Our enforcement principles


We will endeavour to prioritise and direct our regulatory resources effectively. To achieve this we will develop and use comprehensive, intelligence led risk assessments to focus our resources to issues of most need. We aim to ensure that the majority of our formal enforcement activities are focussed on those who are criminally intent, flout the law or act irresponsibly.


We will endeavour to ensure that when we take enforcement action it is proportionate to the circumstances surrounding the breach of legislation and that the sanctions we apply are meaningful. Where we serve a notice we will inform the recipient of any process of appeal.


We will be accountable for the efficiency and effectiveness of our activities whilst remaining independent in the decisions we take.

Fairness and consistency

We endeavour to treat all consumers and businesses fairly. No decision, response, or action by the service will be affected by the race, politics, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical capability or religious beliefs of any suspected offender, complainant, witness or officer of this service.

We will endeavour to ensure that our enforcement practices are consistent.  We will adopt a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar ends.

When undertaking enforcement activity we will give due regard to the provisions of:

  • the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
  • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • the Code of Practice on Powers of Entry issued under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.  

In particular we will respect a person’s right to a fair trial, right to respect for private and family life and the protection of property.

We support the Primary Authority Partnerships Scheme developed to promote good enforcement practice and reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses.

Openness and transparency

We are committed to the open provision of information and advice in a format that is accessible, easily understood and implemented. We will ensure that there is a clear distinction between those actions necessary to comply with the law and those which we recommend as best practice but are not compulsory.

Our prosecution policy explains how we make our decisions in respect of any potential legal proceedings.

The enforcement options available to us

There are a variety of sanctions available to us where there is a breach of legislation. They include:

  • indirect action - including referral to another local authority or enforcement agency for information and, or action
  • verbal or written warning - where relatively minor noncompliance is identified and further action is not deemed appropriate. The warning will contain suggestions for corrective action differentiating between what is required and what is "best practice". It will also set a time frame
  • Statutory Notice - notice prescribed in law. Only to be issued in accordance with specific statutory provisions
  • Fixed Penalty Notice - may be issued in the case of minor infringements when our officers are working with other agencies who have the power to issue them
  • forfeiture – may be sought in conjunction with a prosecution or separately where legislations permit
  • taking possession of animals – when a veterinary surgeon certifies that "protected animals", as designated under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, are suffering unnecessarily or are likely to suffer if there is no change in their circumstances we may take them into our possession. We may apply for Orders to recover the costs involved including transportation, accommodation, feeding, veterinary treatment and disposal
  • undertaking - may be sought to correct or prevent further noncompliance on a voluntary basis or a statutory basis through the Civil Courts
  • enforcement Orders - may be used to deal with criminal or civil breaches of law in accordance with the Enterprise Act 2002 and are sought through the Civil Courts
  • licence reviews – may be sought where the holder's fitness to hold the licence is brought into question
  • simple cautions - may be used to deal with criminal breaches where Court action is deemed inappropriate having regard to the guidance contained in The Code for Crown Prosecutors. A copy of the code is available from the Home Office website.
    • prosecution - may be used to deal with criminal breaches where deemed appropriate having regard to:
      • our prosecution and enforcement sanctions policy
      • The Code for Crown Prosecutors

In appropriate circumstances, sometimes working in partnership with other agencies, we may seek alternative penalties or sanctions. These alternatives may include:

  • recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2001
  • disqualification of company directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
  • victim compensation

Comment on this policy

You can make comments about the content of this policy or the manner of its application.

These comments will assist us in the continual monitoring and review of this policy. This is important to help ensure that the policy remains up to date and reflects the views of our community and changes in legislation. Please contact us should you require any further information on how we carry out our work, if we can be of further assistance to you or if you have a complaint about the provision of our service.

If you remain dissatisfied or feel that you cannot talk to us, you may wish to make a complaint

How to contact us

  • online reporting form
  • telephone: via Citizens Advice on 0808 2231133.  Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, closed on bank holidays and public holidays