A ground-breaking new partnership has been launched to strengthen the ongoing proactive and enforcement work that protects residents and communities, while also supporting businesses.
For the first time, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil Councils have joined forces across their Trading Standards provisions,meaning the two authorities can work together, as and when is needed, for the benefit of residents across both areas.
This means all Trading Standards officers from both county boroughs now share resources and can operate/work/enforce across both county boroughs, creating a more joined-up and resilient service for those who rely upon it.
Leaders from both authorities have signed up to the collaborative agreement, which will see the shared delivery of essential Trading Standards services, which include:
Metrology – weights and measures
Food and agricultural standards (food labelling)
Fair trading (high-profile action against rogue traders and cowboy builders)
Product safety (checking standards and descriptions of goods offered for sale, from dangerous, fake vodka to counterfeit designer clothes.
Consumer Advice (helping consumers with their disputes with businesses, money advice etc)
Successful operations have already taken place as a result of the collaboration, including:
Identify the level of understanding staff at food premises have of egg allergies and the duty they have towards protecting those with the potentially-fatal allergy. Officers posing as customers made it clear to staff at a range of eateries in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf that they had egg allergies, before requesting made-to-order rolls, sandwiches and baguettes. Each product made was tested for the presence of egg. Twenty samples were taken in RCT and six were taken in Merthyr. Advice was issued to a total of six premises as the products contained egg and, where appropriate, visits and further training will take place.
Protection of consumers and businesses that work hard to operate legally from those who use illegal technical software in servicing garages. This rare but dangerous practice endangers the public who may well have services or MOTs that are not to usual standards as a result of illegal software. It also harms those firms that work hard to purchase the correct and legal software they need to be using. Thirty two premises were visited in the intelligence-led operation, which took place across both county boroughs and was supported by software provider French Solutions Ltd. Ten businesses were found to have counterfeit software and all had it removed. All have since been revisited to ensure they had not re-installed the software.
Cllr Paul Cannon, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Community Safety, said: “Our Trading Standards team is a key asset and works hard to protect consumers and legal businesses. It also supports the wider effort to maintain safer communities with its work to deal with those who can have an impact on the quality of life of residents – including premises that sell alcohol or fireworks to the underage, pubs that don’t enforce responsible alcohol consumption, rogue traders, dodgy car dealers and “pirates” who sell counterfeit goods.
“This work has continued effectively across the county borough for years and our colleagues in Merthyr have operated in the same way. By coming together, we can add resilience and it means all officers can share resources and operate across two county boroughs, which has to be good news for those we are here to protect.”
Cllr Chris Barry Cabinet Member for Merthyr Tydfil Customer Services said ‘’In these economically challenging times residents and businesses can be reassured that both Councils will endeavour to continually improve services despite reduced funding and this initiative is a great example of that’’.