Plans to merge Gwent's trading standards
3:34pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
A PLAN to pool Gwent’s trading standards departments into a single service will go before Newport council’s cabinet next week.
Senior councillors in the city council’s Labour administration will consider whether to begin work that could see the council’s trading standards staff moved to Caerphilly County Borough Council.
If the project goes ahead Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly and Newport’s trading standards would be run from the single service.
According to a report to cabinet the Welsh Government has approved a bid to fund the project - £396,584 in the first year, £100,000 in the second, and £60,000 in the third.
The cabinet will decide whether to take part in a project team to look at the proposal – with any final agreement being subject to a further business case.
The report says that there are concerns about the future of trading standards services were retained within individual local authorities, with the prospect of further cuts to council budgets potentially threatening their viability.
Caerphilly is proposed as where the service would be based – with all staff moving to the council, although it is expected there would still be a Newport base for officers working in the locality.
If all five authorities agreed to start the project, a new Gwent-wide service could be operational by the end of 2014/15.
Cllr Gail Giles, city council cabinet member for licensing, said in the report that she supported “the need for Newport to be part of the project team to ensure we are appropriately represented throughout the project.”
She added: “Nonetheless, there are many financial, operational and human resource implications arising from this proposal and it is key therefore that the council sees efficiencies arising from this new service and a detailed business case is presented to cabinet for consideration in due course.”
Around 75 people currently work in trading standards departments around Gwent advising on consumer law, investigating complaints and prosecuting traders where appropriate.
The cabinet meeting takes place on Monday.
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