1. About this policy
1.1. This policy specifies how we will decide whether a service, facility or activity that is supplied to a business will be subject to charge or provided at no cost. The policy also specifies what those charges will be.
1.2. Trading Standards will never charge for visits or inspections carried out as part of our intelligence led, risk based enforcement activities.
1.3. Trading Standards offers 1 hour of free advice on Trading Standards matters to all Essex businesses. We also offer businesses access to the full range of Trading Standards knowledge and expertise on a charged for consultancy basis.
1.4. Responsible businesses should feel confident to approach Trading Standards, as a regulator, for advice and guidance. If, as a result of your approach to us, a problem with goods or services comes to our attention that must be corrected, we will help you to deal with that problem according to the risk posed. The primary objective of the service is to help business to achieve compliance and economic prosperity. We genuinely believe that the majority of businesses want to comply with the law and we will support them to do this. We reserve the right to take more formal action against those businesses that deliberately break the law or continue to be noncompliant after provision of appropriate advice and guidance.
1.5. Where a business commissions Trading Standards to provide charged for services, all work commissioned will be set out in writing and the cost/charges and method of payment agreed prior to any work commencing.
2. Activities not subject to a charge
2.1. All new and existing businesses are entitled to 1 hour of initial general advice on Trading Standards legislation for free. This does not include detailed examination and assessment of products or services marketed by a business but does include giving the business the wherewithal to do this for themselves. This hour will include the signposting of businesses to alternative sources of advice and self help.
2.2. We may from time to time provide updates to business giving advice on significant changes to the law or giving basic guidance on new legislation at no charge.
2.3. There will be no charge for the examination of production processes, procedures and records (including informal and formal analysis) as a result of intelligence led, risk based inspections, investigations or projects instigated by Trading Standards.
3. Activities subject to charge
3.1. Business advice
3.1.1. Trading Standards will provide advice, guidance and consultancy services to those businesses that have already received 1 hour of free general advice (outlined in 2.1 above) including:
Detailed advice covering all Trading Standards matters that may impact on a business (including a review of all products/services for compliance with Trading Standards legislation)
Assessment of and report on product labelling for compliance with relevant legislation (food labels, credit adverts, safety labels, etc.)
Formal or informal analysis of goods and report
Testing of goods (specific gravity checks, quantity checks, product safety checks etc.).
Assessing new or revised terms and conditions for compliance
Assessment of brochures, leaflets or websites intended to promote or market a business.
Delivery of training and talks to businesses.
Consultancy services provided to other organisations at the request of that organisation.
Site visits and inspections at the request of or with agreement of the business.
Costs incurred by Trading Standards as a result of instigating a product safety recall if a business refuses to take action itself.
Policing of special events to eliminate illegal trading at the request of or with the agreement of the event organisers
3.1.2. Businesses can access additional Trading Standards advice and guidance via a number of tailored packages ranging from ‘pay as you go’ support through to Primary Authority Agreements and bespoke business support packages. To access these services a business must first register with Trading Standards by completing a registration form (Appendix 1) and agree to the terms and conditions of the scheme (Appendix 2). For further information on the options available see Appendix 3.
3.1.3. The business advice service remains free of charge to Essex businesses approved under the Buy With Confidence approved trader scheme and Essex based registered charities.
3.1.4. There will be no additional charge made for any time taken to translate business advice into different languages or provide business advice in different formats where that is deemed appropriate.
4. Response times
4.1. All requests for business advice will be acknowledged or responded to within 1 working day of receipt. If the enquiry is complex or is likely to take time to respond to we will discuss and agree a timescale with the business and provide a written quotation for the work.
5. Fees and charging arrangements
5.1. A schedule of all fees and charges is available in Appendix 4
6.1. This policy (including fees and charges) will be reviewed on a yearly basis.