Enforcement Policy Summary
Procedures for the enforcement of public health regulations.
What is meant by 'Enforcement'?
In the context of this information, the term 'enforcement' is used
to describe two of the functions which the council may carry out.
- making sure that the various laws relating to environmental
- taking appropriate action against businesses or individuals,
when those laws are being broken or ignored
What is covered by the Laws?
A very wide range of all issues, all of which are designed to
protect people, the environment or both.
Examples range from inspecting food premises or kennels to
public entertainment licensing and from ensuring the safety of
those at work to prevent nuisance from noise, dust and smoke.
What action can be taken for breaches?
Again, there is quite a variety, ranging from a warning letter
right through to prosecution, with several stages in between - it
depends upon the nature of the offence and the powers given to the
Council by the relevant legislation.
The actions which may be taken are described in more detail in
the section of this leaflet entitled 'What are the Enforcement
How is Enforcement carried out?
Malvern Hills District Council is committed to carrying out its
enforcement duties in accordance with guidelines issued by the
Government in its publication entitled 'The Enforcement Concordat',
which the Council has formally adopted.
What does the Concordat say?
The Concordat obliges the Council to pay proper regard to a number
of specified elements which include:
Our procedures state that the advice given by our officers will be
clear and, if requested, be in writing. Distinction will always be
made between what must be done in order to comply and what is
The standards which the Service sets out to achieve in its
enforcement policy will be published and made available to
businesses and the public.
We will be clear, fair and open in our dealings, including
providing details of any financial costs which may be involved in
complying with the legislation.
Our officers will be helpful at all times. Businesses and
individuals will be actively encouraged to seek advice and
information about the Council's enforcement role.
Where enforcement options exist, the one that is selected will be
proportional to the risk to health and safety of any person or the
harm to the environment.
As far as possible, we will be consistent in our enforcement
actions, after taking account of the risks, the attitude of those
involved and any history of compliance, whether positive or
- Complaints Procedure
A procedure will be followed ensuring that who wish to complain
about enforcement standards will receive a proper hearing of their
What are the Enforcement Options?
When circumstances indicate that the law may have been broken,
there may be options open to the Council as to the actions
The following describes these actions, but not all of them will
be available in all circumstances. Anyone who is in doubt as to the
actions open to the Council can contact our office for advice.
This is reserved for more serious or repeated offences. In some
cases, prosecution action can be taken straight away while in
others it can only be taken if a Formal Notice has been served and
the conditions ignored or breached.
- Formal Caution
This is a course of action which may be offered as an alternative
to prosecution. The offender admits guilt and, if further offences
are committed, the Caution may be taken into consideration by a
Court if prosecution action is then taken.
- Formal Notice
A Notice may be served requiring specified actions to be taken,
usually within a time limit. In most cases, there is the right of
Appeal against a Notice. Subject to any Appeal decision, it is an
offence to fail to comply with a Notice.
- Works In Default
In some cases, if the business or individual fails to carry out the
required works, the Council may do the work itself and raise a
reasonable charge for doing so. Works in Default may include the
confiscation of equipment causing noise or other nuisance, after a
Notice had been served and ignored. If the Council has undertaken
the works, they may still decide to take a prosecution.
If a Licence or Authorisation is needed to operate a business, this
may be revoked or varied if the conditions are breached. There is
usually a right of Appeal.
- Written Warning
Minor breaches may be dealt with by no more than a warning, which
will be retained on file for future reference.
Before Prosecuting .......
The decision to prosecute is not taken lightly and involves a
number of stages, following a detailed procedure.
Firstly, the Investigating Officer will assemble the evidence
and examine the results in the light of two tests, these being:
- the Evidential Test - the strength of the
evidence will be tested. Prosecution will not take place unless
there is a reasonable prospect of success.
- the Public Interest Test - a large number of
factors will be weighted to determine whether or not prosecution
would be in the public interest.
These factors include the number of people affected by the
offence, the degree of damage, risk or harm, the attitude and
history of the offender, the likelihood of the offence being
repeated, whether there may have been malice or harassment, and
If the case passes both tests, the Investigating Officer must
satisfy the Head of Environmental Health that prosecution is the
There will also be closer and regular liaison with the Council's
Legal Services during the preparation of the case. At each of these
stages, the alternatives to prosecution will be discussed.
Even when the decision to prosecute has been made, it is kept
under review and may be changed right up to the hearing.
No, the decision to prosecute is not taken lightly!
Who can we go to for more advice?
Any of our Environmental Health staff will be happy to help you. If
they cannot give the advice you need themselves, they will put you
in touch with a colleague who can.
Click here for the more detailed Enforcement