Agenda and minutes

Trading Standards Joint Advisory Board - Wednesday 1 November 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Rita Magdani, Senior Democratic & Electoral Services Officer  Tel: 07707 138582 E-mail:

No. Item


Election of Chair


RESOLVED:  That Councillor Anjana Patel (London Borough of Harrow) be elected as Chair for the meeting.


Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members


None received.


Declarations of interest


No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.


Minutes of previous meeting


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 14 June  2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Matters arising




Deputations (if any)


No requests for deputations had been submitted for the meeting.


Trading Standards Mid-Year Report


Anu Prashar (Senior Regulatory Service Manager, Brent Council) presented a report detailing the Trading Standards Brent and Harrow Mid-Year Report 2023/24 which had been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Consortium Agreement and detailed the work of the Trading Standards Service.


In considering the report the Joint Advisory Board noted:


  • The Trading Standards Service operated on a joint consortium basis between the London Borough of Brent and the London Borough of Harrow, with Brent being the host authority.


  • The Service conducted both local authorities’ statutory duties relating to the legislation enforced by a Weights and Measures Authority. As part of the contractual agreement between the two boroughs, an annual report was presented to the Trading Standards Joint Advisory Board.


  • This year the Service had produced a mid-year report to provide Members with information about what the Service had been doing without having to wait until the publication of the annual report.


  • The report for the mid-way review only covered work conducted between 1 April to 30 September 2023. Any future work or pending outcome would be reported in the Annual report.


  • The Service had received 2,039 service requests during this period from various sources including consumers, businesses, other local authorities, the ports, and enforcement bodies such as the Police. Of these, 539 were further analysed by the Brent Team and 352 by the Harrow team and 1,148 were notifications of action being undertaken.


  • The majority of complaints related to used car dealers, and t has been high on residents list of complaints.


The Service, paid for by businesses, had delivered 65 hours of tailored advice to businesses in connection with the statutory Primary Authority Scheme. This was related to physical and online compliance on clothing, electricals, and homeware covering trademarks, product safety, and fair trading. A Primary Authority business had also been advised on underage sales matters, with specific guidance on appropriate systems in place to ensure age restricted products were not available to children.


  • Due to the cost-of-living crisis officers were working to ensure that consumers were not taken advantage of and that businesses had a fair playing field. As part of that officers had gone around the borough, testing scales, checking prices on the high streets, and tested over 70 weighing across both boroughs where 17 have so far been found to be non-compliant by being either unstamped or out of tolerance at the higher end. Of these4 had been taken out of service, 4 had been verified and the remaining were in the process of being verified which required officers to revisit the businesses again to ensure they were compliant. Thus far, any of the scales that had been not within the permitted tolerance are in fact to the benefit of the customer in that they are weighing less than the actual weight. In relation to Weights & Measures visits 26 businesses were visited in Brent and 13 in Harrow. During visits, officers had inspected and provided advice on specific products not priced and the need  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Trading Standards Service Request Analysis


The Board received a report, presented by Samuel Abdullahi (Team Leader Regulatory Service Brent Council) which provided Members with an analysis of service requests received by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service which would assist identification of where the Service’s resources should be deployed to achieve the biggest impact.


Joint Advisory Board Members consider the report and make recommendations or comments where appropriate.


The aim of this analysis and report is to help evaluate where the Service’s demands come from, to assist in identifying any trends, to better understand why/how our customers are contacting us and to assists with identifying where the Service’s resources should be deployed to achieve the biggest impact relating to the types of complaints/service requests it receives.  To achieve this, the analysis looks at the following:


1.              Identify the main source of service requests along with the types of products/services we have received complaints about and identify any pattern.


2.              Identify the hotspot within the Boroughs where the Service can concentrate its enforcement actions to achieve the biggest impact.


The data used for the analysis was obtained from the services complaints/service requests database between 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2023.


Complaints and service requests received from various sources have been recorded in the database.


A total of 6,911 service requests were received between 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2023. Like most other Trading Standards authorities nationally, we collaborate with the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service who function as the public’s first point of contact when they want help and advice with a consumer issue or to escalate a criminal breach to their local trading standards.


6,054 of our service requests were received via Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS).


Service requests are split into two categories:


·                 4,155 were classified as NOTIFICATIONS (this is used to indicate the transfer of cases from CACS for information purposes only where there is no commitment for Trading Standards to contact the enquirer as the help and advice has been provided by CACS ) Some Trading Standards Service have requested that they do not wish to receive notifications from CACS but in Brent and Harrow, we have these sent to us to help with our monitoring of businesses and wider intelligence gathering purposes.


·                 1,899 were classified as REFERRAL (this is used to indicate transfer of cases for further consideration by Trading Standards). We will individually consider, and risk assess all referrals received from CACS. CACS gives the service no obligation to contact the complainant in the first instant unless we need further evidence, as while the matter may concern an alleged criminal breach, the matter could be determined to be a minor issue or something which has been determined as a low priority.


The remaining requests were received directly to the service’s own email address (559), via the national Intelligence Database (102), by letter (19), telephone (14) and the remaining 162 were received via other methods such as an officer generated complaint.


The top main source of complaints received are from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Sale of Fireworks


The Board received a report which provided an update on work conducted by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service and the Brent Licensing team on market surveillance and enforcement activities in relation to the storage and sale of fireworks.


The Board received a report, presented by Anu Prashar (Senior Regulatory Service Manager, Brent Council)


In considering the report the Joint Advisory Board noted:


In Brent it is the licensing team and in Harrow, it is the Trading Standards team that has been delegated the authority to conduct market surveillance and enforcement activities in relation to the storage and sale of fireworks.


Fireworks sold at retail level are classified as HT (hazard type) 4, the lowest hazard classification. HT4 fireworks most be stored in a fire-resistant cabinet or container, in a dry area away from the risk of ignition.


Each year around 20 in Brent and 35 in Harrow premises are licensed to store fireworks and are able to sell them for limited periods around Bonfire Night and the New Year. A small number of premises have an additional license to sell fireworks all year round. Three premises in Brent and four in Harrow are licensed for year-round sale of fireworks. Enforced the legal provisions requiring that fireworks sold in the boroughs are manufactured to the relevant standard and that they are not sold to minors (under 18s).


Eight premises in Brent have a five-year licence and one has a two-year licence. In Harrow seven have a five-year licence and two have a two-year licence.


Premises that obtain a licence permits them to sell fireworks only during prescribed periods between:


·                 15 October to 10 November

·                 26 to 31 December

·                 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.


Licensing permits name individuals who can store explosives in the form of fireworks. Pre-Licence checks ensure the named individual is a fit and proper person to store fireworks and that areas for storage are clearly defined and fit for purpose.


Officers conduct inspections of all our licenced premises on all new applicants and high-risk premises. Retail outlets are inspected during the period immediately before 5 November, traditionally the busiest period of sales. In addition, officers will respond to intelligence received regarding sales during any of the other permitted sales periods.


Retail inspections provide assurance that fireworks are safely displayed, only sold during permitted periods and to ensure compliance with age related sales safeguards. Inspections also ensure the type of fireworks and how they are stored in addition to point-of-sale display comply with license conditions.


Currently Brent officers have rejected two applicants wishing to store and sell fireworks due to insufficient knowledge of the storage requirements.


Officers also monitor social media channels for any evidence of unlicensed storage or sale of fireworks.


The register of licenced premises is a public document and can be supplied on demand.


Under the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015, there are restrictions on the sale of fireworks as follows:



Date of Future Meetings


The date of the next meeting:


Wednesday 20 March 2024 at 6:00 pm to be hosted by the London Borough of Brent.


Any other urgent business


There were no other matters or urgent business.