Service Base Line/Initial Challenge
Description of Current Service – Baseline
Who provides the service?
The Service is provided by Stockton Council and forms part of the Community Protection
Division of the Development and Neighbourhood Services Directorate.
History how service was formed and why it exists
The Environmental Health Unit carries out the traditional enforcement functions previously part
of the Environmental Services Department.
After Stockton Council became a Unitary Authority in 1996, the Environmental Health function
was split into two elements the Enforcement role predominantly carrying out the Council’s
enforcement statutory functions and the Development arm involved in more project based
environmental work. The service was restructured in 2002, when the Development team was
relocated in Planning and Regeneration whilst the Enforcement team joined with other
enforcement services in the Community Protection Division. This Enforcement team became
the Environmental Health Unit, headed up by the Environmental Health Manager who is an
Environmental Health Officer, reporting to the Head of Community Protection.
The purpose of the service is to protect the health of the public in the Borough through its
statutory and non-statutory responsibilities in the field of Environmental Health and varied
aspects of public health.
Since 2002 its remit has expanded to carry out some public health and health promotion
functions transferred back from Planning and Regeneration. It has also taken on responsibility
for some new areas of work such as Smokefree legislation
How is the service provided?
The Service is predominantly provided by Environmental Health Officers with the support of
technical officers, animal welfare officers, pest control officers and admin support.
The service employs 37 FTE staff.
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 1
Head of Community
Principal EHO Principal EHO Principal EHO Administration
Commercial Environmental Public Health Officer
2.6 x 2x 4.6 x 4.2 x
Environmental Environmental Environmental Admin Support
Health Officers Protection Health Officers
3x 1x 1x 1x
Food Safety / Contaminated Technical Pest Customer
Enf. Officers Land Officer Officer Service Officer
1.6 x 1 x Contaminated 1x
Food & Safety Land Support Animal Health
Advisors Officer Officer
3 x Animal
What influences impact on the service( political social economical, technological)?
The state of the economy obviously influences trading conditions and the current recession
may result in more companies cutting corners to reduce costs, thereby failing to meet their
statutory obligations. This increases the need for maintaining inspection performance and
tends to increase the level of complaint adding to the work of the service.
New legislation to implement political policy can have extensive impact e.g. Enforcement of
Smokefree legislation. Similarly, technological developments will have an impact on the service
e.g. noise mapping, air quality management etc. Finally workload is also affected by and needs
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 2
to be flexible in dealing with major events such as the Foot and Mouth outbreak, Pennington
report on food poisoning outbreaks, Avian flu etc.
How does the service perform?
Monthly Stray Dogs
2005/06 2006/7 2007/8 2008/09
Env Health Service Requests 2005-09
2000 Public Health
1000 Animal Welfare
2005/6 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 3
Env Health Inspections 05-09
CL sites investigated
300 Abbatoir visit
2005/6 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 4
Pest Control w ork 2005-09
2005/6 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9
New Stray dog responsibilities began April 2008
Smokefree responsibilities included in Health and safety complaints from July 2007
Foot and Mouth outbreak 2007 increased abattoir visits
Out of Hours Noise service introduced in August 2008
Performance information for this Service is monitored through the Community Protection
Service Improvement Plan and the Environmental Health Service Delivery Plan and statutory
required service plans for Food safety, Health and Safety, Contaminated Land, Environmental
Protection, Animal Health and Animal Welfare.
All actions in the Service Improvement Plan 2008-09 achieved annual targets.
Sickness levels in 2008-09 are 9.92 days per FTE against a Council average of 10.14 days
and Community Protection target of 14 days.
What does inspection tell us about this service ?
The Environmental Health Service has held ISO 9001:2000 quality assurance accreditation
The Health and Safety Enforcement and Food Safety Enforcement function have been subject
to Peer Review in 2006/07 and 2007/08.
Scrutiny Reviews of Pest Control (Rats and Pigeons) and Animal Welfare ( Dog fouling and
stray dog control) were carried out in 2008. Both supported existing service provision and
made recommendations for improvements in service provision. Actions regarding Pigeon
control have not been fully implemented as required funding of a proposed campaign was not
included in 2009/10 budgets due to financial constraints.
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 5
Cipfa statistics demonstrated that Stockton had the lowest number of EHO’s per head of
population as reported in the Hampton Report in 2005.
“C.15 The local authority with the highest staff/population ratio was Westminster, with 0.24
environmental health officers per 1,000 citizens, whereas Hounslow, Brent and Barking and
Dagenham all had only 0.03 environmental health officers per 1,000 citizens. Stockton-on-
Tees, Christchurch, and Lichfield had the lowest environmental health officers ratio of 0.021
per 1,000 citizens.”
Customer First Stage 2 awarded February 2008
What resources are used?
2009/10 Budget – Environmental Health
Net Expenditure (£1,412,000)
This service area covers Public Health, Pest Control, Animal Welfare, Health and Safety at
Work, Environmental Control, EPA Authorised processes, Contaminated Land, Closed landfill
sites and Food Safety.
2009/10 Budget – Port Health
The service also holds the budget for the Port Health Authority which carries out environmental
health duties in the River Tees port on behalf of the four Tees Valley Local Authorities.
What assets are used to deliver the current service?
All staff are office based at 16 Church Road. The service operates 6 vehicles, used by Pest
Control and Animal Welfare staff. The Environmental control team operates two air quality
monitoring stations at Cowpen and Egglescliffe. We also manage closed landfill sites in the
borough including the Old civic amenity site, Cowpen Bewley leachate plant and landfill sites at
Portrack, Newport, Whitton
Are there any limitations or barriers affecting the delivery of the service?
The service is very much enforcement orientated and therefore is limited by the legislation we
enforce. As such the main cost to the service is salaries. In April 2008 the budget for the
service was re-based to take account of long term effects of effective salaries cutbacks and
reliance on non recurring short term funding.
If the service is outsourced or provided by a third party, how are service standards
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 6
Description of Current Service – Challenge
Could the service be provided through a different mechanism?
Some elements of the Service could be provided in partnership with other neighbouring
authorities. For example we could carry out Animal Health duties for Middlesbrough or
Hartlepool who lack competent staff. We could manage closed landfill sites for Hartlepool for
similar reasons. Operation of joint pest control or noise patrol services with Middlesbrough has
also been considered.
Current discussions underway across the Tees Valley about reviewing the Port Health Service
to identify efficiencies. One option is to take back in house these functions. Alternatively duties
may be passed to a lead authority. Both of these arrangements would be more cost effective
than the current arrangement, which is set up by statute which may prove difficult and/or costly
The recently introduced Out of Hours noise service is based on a partnership between the
Environmental Health Unit and the Neighbourhood Enforcement Service and has been proving
very popular and successful.
A similar partnership but with the private sector has been carried out with regard to kennelling
of stray dogs. This has been essential to deal with the numbers of strays now dealt with and
the lack of alternative kennel facilities.
Customer Baseline – Baseline
Who are the customers what are their needs now?
In principle the services are available to all sections of the community, the legislation covers a
broad range of services.
There are two types of customers, those people who live, work or visit Stockton and who have
cause to complain about contraventions of the legislation we enforce or benefit from the
services we provide. The other customers are the businesses and developers whom we
inspect to check compliance with the law and to whom we offer advice and support as well as
On a different level our customers are the Government and EU who require us to implement
the legislation and guidance they impose. This involves working with a number of other bodies
such as the HSE, Environment Agency, Food Standards Agency, DEFRA etc to implement
How are service users consulted and how do their views shape delivery?
As policies or new legislation are introduced consultation is carried out with the appropriate
service users. Examples include extensive consultation with business through an
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 7
implementation strategy for Smokefree and with the Food trade and other local Authorities
when introducing Scores on the Doors food hygiene star rating system.
How satisfied are the customers?
Customer Satisfaction surveys are carried out for most service users and demonstrates a high
level of satisfaction.
Average score Excellent Good Adequate Inadequate
4 8 12 16
Business users are surveyed as part of the NI 182 - Satisfaction with the Regulation Services
(this is joint and covers all the regulation services). For 2008-09 this was 70% for all Council
regulatory services and was higher for Environmental Health
Question 1 – I felt my business was treated fairly? (Weighted)
Strata 1 Non compliant 69.3% Strata 2 Compliant 81.8%
Question 2 – I felt the contact was helpful? (Weighted)
Strata 1 Non compliant 72.1% Strata 2 Compliant 72.7%
How do you communicate with your users?
The service uses a wide range of methods for contacting its users which is essential given the
broad range of work areas and customers. In the main communication is on a one to one basis
during inspections or investigations. However we also use regular newsletters to the food
trade, an Air quality forum with Industry, a wide range of leaflets, website information, scores
on doors website, daily air quality bulletins and campaigns such as Noise Action week.
How are these services promoted / marketed?
The service regularly issues press releases to advise residents of particular areas of concern
or interesting areas of work that have been carried out. Articles have also been placed in
We also have dedicated hot lines for specific services such as out of hours noise patrol or stray
dog reception services.
What do Viewpoint Surveys/ internal audit reports tell us about the service?
Viewpoint 20 – February 2007 considered use of scores on the doors to publicise results of our
Food hygiene inspections and confirmed public support for this initiative.
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Do you think that the public has a right to know the hygiene score a food business has
received following an inspection?
Yes 96% No 2% I don’t know 2%
Viewpoint 17 – December 2005 –revisited a number of questions first raised in the Viewpoint of
Summer 2003 on awareness of the Environmental Health. The results were remarkably
consistent, which is pleasing in that generally people were satisfied with how we provide our
services. However the percentage of people aware of the diverse services we provide
remained at 59%, which is a little disappointing given efforts to raise profile over recent years.
Internal audits of Animal Welfare/ Pest Control was carried out in Nov 2005, Food/ Health and
Safety in Feb 2006 and Environmental Control in June 2006. All reports found only minor areas
The Health and Safety Enforcement and Food Safety Enforcement function have been subject
to Inter Authority Audit in 2006/07 and 2007/08 respectively through the Tees Valley Liaison
Groups. To date neither area has been selected for audit by either the Health and Safety
Commission or the Food Standards Agency (who have audited all the other four Tees Valley
The Environmental Health Unit as a whole is audited on a 6 monthly basis by Lloyds RQA and
have always demonstrated full compliance since achieving ISO certification in 2002.
Customer – Challenge
Are there customers who could use the service but don’t?
We have not undertaken an unmet demand survey as resources are not currently available to
expand the service. It is evident that the majority of the public are not aware of all the broad
range of areas we cover and a major aim of the service is to raise public awareness.
Are there customers using the service who shouldn’t be?
Not really. All complaints and inspections are prioritised on a risk basis with those of greater
risk receiving a higher level of service. The public have a right to have their complaints
investigated and we have a duty to investigate them.
Who are the customers of the future and what are their needs?
As our customers are such a broad group and potentially everybody, then our customers will
not change in the future. New legislation will result in greater need for our services by specific
groups of our customers, however what these needs are cannot be anticipated and service
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 9
needs to remain flexible and adaptable.
What is likely to impact on demand for these services in the future?
Fluctuations in the state of the economy are more significant than demographic change,
although an ageing population will increase the demand for support from our services. Climate
and lifestyle change is resulting in increased demand for pest control. We have noted a lower
level of tolerance by the public and increased expectation in our service for example in relation
to noise complaints.
What do complaints/ compliments tell you about these services?
The service receives a number of compliments each year from satisfied customers and very
few complaints by comparison. This suggests that the vast majority of service users are
extremely satisfied with the level of service provided as reflected by the high levels of
satisfaction exhibited in the ‘How Satisfied are the Customers’ section.
16 complaints 18 commendations
13 complaints 12 commendations
Aims & Objectives – Baseline
Is the service required by statute?
Yes all bar the Pest Control service and food advisory service both of which support statutory
duties in other areas. Whilst we do not have to provide a service to treat for pests, the
alternative would be to take enforcement action or provide an advisory service to investigate
infestations, which would be far less cost effective than providing a direct treatment service.
The Food advisory service is similar in that it frees Inspecting officer time to their enforcement
duties and allows training specialists to provide advice and generate income.
The service is generally operating at the basic level of service required by statute, except for
some areas such as Noise, where an out of hours service operates that is an above basic level
of service due to public demand. The Animal Welfare Service also operates at an enhanced
level to the basic dog catcher provision.
Main Areas Of Responsibility
The Environmental Health Service involves the provision of the following service areas
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 10
Food Safety (with responsibility for inspection of about 1200 food premises,
investigation of food complaints and food sampling)
Food Advice and Training Service
Occupational Health & Safety (with responsibility for inspection of about 1500 mainly
commercial and retail businesses, and for investigation of accidents and complaints)
Infectious Disease Control
Smokefree legislation enforcement
Environmental Protection (inspection of industrial processes, air pollution monitoring
and complaint investigation)
Noise Pollution (investigation of complaints and monitoring)
Contaminated Land (maintaining a risk-based register of all known potentially
contaminated land sites, of which there are approximately 2,000, and implementing a
programme to assess need for remediation)
Environmental Advice (for example, on the environmental implications of planning or
Public Health nuisance investigation(e.g. filthy and verminous premises, accumulation
of waste, contaminated watercourses, light intrusion, empty buildings
Private drainage complaints
Animal Welfare (enforcement for both domestic animals and wildlife of cruelty, welfare
and also including the control of dog fouling)
Animal Health (enforcement in respect of commercial livestock, control of Infectious
diseases e.g. foot and mouth)
Pest Control Service (including free service for public health pests and charged service
for others e.g. wasps and for commercial premises)
Major Incidents – responsibilities include planning and responding to major incidents
such as food poisoning outbreak, rabies outbreak, foot and mouth, air pollution events
Below is a list of the main legislation that Environmental Health have a responsibility to
Animal Health Act 2002
Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006
Building Act 1984
Clean Air Act 1993
Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005
Control of Pollution Acts 1974 and 1976
Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996
Environment Act 1995
Environmental Protection Act 1990
European Communities Act 1972
Food Act 1984
Food Safety Act 1990
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Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Health Act 2006
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts 1976 and 1982
Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993
Noise Act 1996
Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963
Petroleum (Regulations) Acts 1928 and 1936
Prevention of Damage by Pests Acts 1949
Public Health Acts 1907, 1936-1961
Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984
Sunday Trading Act 1994
Together with numerous European Directives and Environmental Regulations and Orders
Is there a statutory level of service?
There are varying statutory requirements for the broad range of legislation enforced.
For example The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires us to investigate all complaints
received to assess whether there is a statutory nuisance and if established we must take
enforcement action. This in effect gives us a duty to respond to any complaint received in a
reasonable time and manner.
Section 18 of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 allows the HSC to issue guidance on the
level of service required to be provided by Local authorities in Health and safety enforcement.
The Food Standards Agency issue detailed Codes of practice to be followed in dealing with
Food Safety Enforcement duties. How we comply with these service level requirements is
detailed in the Food and Health and Safety Service Plans.
The Service is covered by the following National Indicators that measure the performance of
the service directly.
NI182 Satisfaction of business with local authority regulation services
NI184 Food establishments in the area which are broadly compliant with food hygiene law
NI190 Animal Health compliance
Is the service responsive or proactive or a mixture?
The Service is a mixture of both proactive ( Inspections and monitoring) and reactive(
complaints and requests for advice/information)
Is the service needed?
Yes, it is a statutory function.
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What would happen if the service was not provided either in whole or part?
There would be a risk to the Council in both financial and reputation terms. There is the
possibility that if we did not fulfil our duties in some areas e.g. food hygiene then the relevant
Government body (i.e. Food standards Agency) would come in and Audit the service, name
and shame etc.
How would the service react to new pressures what capacity would be required to deal
with additional / new demands?
This is a service that is very flexible and used to adapting to changes in demand through new
legislation, guidance, policy or incidents. In the main we would seek resource allocation at an
appropriate level to support any new workload albeit this is rarely the case as in regard to the
transfer of duties for dealing with stray dogs the funding of which was grossly underestimated
by Central Government. Increased demand invariably has to be dealt with by improving the
efficiency in how we deal with the service, providing an appropriate level of service or
prioritising which services we provide.
Aims & Objectives – Challenge
Who provides a similar service to this using a different delivery mechanism e.g.
external partnerships, shared services etc?
None known, some small areas carried out in partnership elsewhere mainly with other Local
Authorities. Pest Control or Dog Warden services provided by private sector in other Local
Authorities, but savings unlikely unless level of service reduced.
Relevance/Context – Baseline/Challenge
How does the service fit with the overall aims of the Council?
Stockton Environmental Health Service aims to protect the health of the public in the Borough
through its statutory and non-statutory responsibilities in the field of Environmental Health and
varied aspects of public health. To meet these aims the service has the following aims:
1. to protect employees and the public through regular inspection of workplaces, industrial,
agricultural and commercial premises, at a frequency appropriate to their risk.
2. to respond effectively to complaints from the public regarding non compliance and
promote good practice through the provision of advice and information.
3. to discharge the Council's statutory and other responsibilities in a positive and efficient
4. to ensure that readily accessible advice and assistance is available to both business and
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 13
the public alike.
5. to ensure that statutory guidelines are being met throughout the Borough, through
effective monitoring of the environment and sampling programmes.
6. to ensure that readily accessible advice and assistance is available to all
7. to reduce the occurrence of and prevent workplace accidents and ill health.
8. to control the occurrence and prevent the transmission of food related infectious disease
9. to control the occurrence of infectious disease in livestock and provide effective disease
10. to proactively improve the quality of the environment in the Borough and reduce noise,
air, land and water pollution.
11. to reduce the incidents of pest infestations and public health nuisance.
12. to protect the health and welfare of animals in the Borough.
13. to contribute to the Council's Community Strategy, in particular to the aim of improving
the health of the local community
14. to meet the identified requirements of the various service stakeholders
15. to meet the service standards and the targets set
16. to undertake services in accordance with the Quality System
17. to prepare Contingency Plans to be used in the event of a major incident
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 14
How does the service contribute to key policy areas?
The Sustainable Community Strategy 2008 – 2021 , produced by the local strategic partnership
Stockton Renaissance, a key partnership with representatives from the public, private,
community and voluntary sectors, sets out the key priorities for the Borough of Stockton-on-
Tees. The Strategy sets out a vision of economic renaissance enhanced well being,
achievement and quality of place to be delivered by focusing on five core improvement themes
and three supporting themes. The Environmental Health Service has an important role to play
in meeting these improvement themes:
Areas of Environmental Health Work that Link to an
Core Improvement Theme Improvement Theme
Economic Regeneration and Providing training and advice to food businesses.
Transport Reduction in workplace accidents
Control of pollution
Commitment to the Home Authority principle
Risk based, comprehensive inspection of businesses
Remediation of contaminated land
Environment and Housing Contaminated Land Strategy
Air Quality monitoring and pollution control
Noise monitoring and control
Pollution of watercourses and drainage
Safer Communities Noise complaint resolution
Neighbourly dispute interventions
Public Health investigation
Dangerous animals and dog fouling
Children and Young people Employment of minors
Healthier Communities and Smoke Free enforcement
Adults Infectious Disease Control
Workplace Health Initiatives
Public Health – asbestos, radiation, pollution
Stronger Communities Air Quality monitoring
Environmental advice provision
Protection of Food consumers
Health Education initiatives
Older Adults Noise complaint investigation
Arts, Leisure and Culture Environmental controls on licensing of public entertainment,
late night refreshment and alcohol under the Licensing Act
Safety at public events
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 15
Key Organisational Priorities
The Council Plan forms a business plan for achieving the Council’s contribution to core and
supporting themes within the Sustainable Community Strategy. It sets out the overall vision and
ambitions of the Council, describes progress, and charts the way ahead with a series of specific
objectives and targets.
In addition to focusing on improving front line services and local people’s quality of life it also
sets out key priorities aimed at developing the council and ensuring organisational and
operational effectiveness through effective performance and resource management, people
development and learning and focusing on residents and customers.
The Environmental Health Service works to meet these organisational priorities in a number of
Key Organisational Priority Areas of Environmental Health Work that Link to the
Focus on Residents and Customer First Programme – the Service has stage 2
Customers accreditation and working towards Customer excellence.
Rolling out of the Access to Annual programme of consultation with consumers and
Services Programme and businesses
Customer First Programme – Ongoing satisfaction surveys
Stage 2 Use of the Viewpoint panel
Introduction of out of hours noise service.
People Development and Corporate and professional competency frameworks
Learning Commitment to train staff and update skills and
Improving workforce data and knowledge
employee consultation Positive results from recent staff survey
Improving training and workforce Recruitment and retention policy making Stockton
development Environmental Health, employer of choice during period
of shortage of EHO’s
Performance and Resource ISO 9000 quality management system
Management Strong commitment to the peer review process
Developing an approach to Monthly budget monitoring
modern ways of working, Monitoring performance levels internally and within the
maximising technology, assets corporate performance monitoring framework
and people All CPA indicators above the upper threshold level
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 16
These are designed to target issues which generate high levels of local concern or have the
potential to cause significant harm within the Borough.
Local Objective Areas of Environmental Health Work that Link to this
Respond to residents concerns Complaints investigation
and fears of crime and anti- Intelligence led enforcement
social behaviour Out of Hours Noise Service
Improve the public health of the Links to Smoke Free North East & Stockton Smoke free
Enforcement of smoke free legislation
Healthy Workplace campaigns
Scores on the Doors Initiative
Air Quality Bulletins
Hazard warning and major incident plans
What policies, plans and strategies impact on the service e.g. statutory, policy, function,
Community Protection Service Improvement Plan 2009-12
Environmental Health Service Delivery Plan 2009-10
Food Law Enforcement Plan 2009-10
Health and Safety Enforcement Plan 2009-10
Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy 2009
Environmental Protection Service Plan 2009-10
Animal Health Framework 2009-08-12
Animal Welfare Service Plan 2009-10.
Are there any political judgements / decisions involved in determining the level of
Decision by Council to reduce inspection rates for Health and Safety Inspections to 25% due to
resource allocation pressures.
In 2008 Council supported the introduction of an Out of Hours Noise Complaint Service to be
operated by the Environmental Health department in conjunction with the Council’s
Neighbourhood Enforcement Service
Scrutiny Reviews of Pest Control (Rats and Pigeons) and Animal Welfare ( Dog fouling and
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 17
stray dog control) were carried out in 2008. Both supported existing service provision and made
recommendations for improvements in service provision. Actions regarding Pigeon control have
not been fully implemented as required funding of a proposed campaign was not
included in 2009/10 budgets due to financial constraints.
Financial/Resource Considerations – Baseline
What are the costs of the service?
2009/10 Budget – Environmental Health Expenditure Income Net Expenditure
PUBLIC HEALTH 213,538 8,385 205,153
ANIMAL WELFARE 326,148 12,880 313,268
HEALTH & SAFETY 106,747 2,000 104,747
PEST CONTROL 157,631 48,150 109,481
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL 300,822 7,000 293,822
E.P.A. 66,091 26,000 40,091
FOOD SAFETY ENFORCEMENT 297,571 70,000 227,571
CONTAMINATED LAND 118,255 0 118,255
TOTAL 1,586,803 174,415 1,412,389
Capital and revenue costs
All costs are revenue based
What is the level of 3rd party expenditure?
2009/10 Budget – Port Health
The service holds the budget for the Port Health Authority which carries out environmental
health duties in the River Tees port on behalf of the four Teesside Authorities.
What contracts or other arrangements are in place (spend analysis)?
Animal Welfare – Stray Dog Kennel Contract set up to accommodate increased responsibility for
stray dogs from April 2008. This is a 10 year contract with a private kennels to accommodate
and care for stray dogs for the Council. Contract is £37k per annum
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 18
What is the Council’s commitment to contracts / other arrangements?
Kennels contract as above
Do you have any charging policies?
Yes, EPA Authorised Process Fees are set by statute to recover relevant expenditure for
delivering the service.
Pest control charges are based on public health pest treatments being free for domestic
Provision of Environmental Information for commercial purposes incur a charge based on officer
time in accordance with Environmental Information Regulations.
How have Gershon efficiency savings impacted on the service and how were the service
planning to meet future Gershon efficiency targets?
For the financial year 2008/09 Council agreed to limit the annual increases in the services
Resource Allocation (RA) to 2%, which was below the Gershon inflation guide of 2.5% for that
year. This has forced services to drive down costs to generate the desired efficiencies required
to meet the gap between inflation and the limit on RA.’
This will be and has been an annual task that is undertaken when setting estimates but at this
stage it is difficult to identify specifically how these targets will be achieved in future years due to
the ever changing demands on the services.
How will the current financial climate affect the service?
It is likely to increase demand in certain areas. The state of the economy obviously influences
trading conditions and the current recession may result in more companies cutting corners to
reduce costs, thereby failing to meet their statutory obligations with regard to health and safety,
food hygiene and pollution control. Also, there are increasing levels of deprivation with empty
properties, pest infestations and other public health problems. All of this adds to the work of the
Financial/Resource Considerations – Challenge
How can you demonstrate that the service is cost effective overall?
Comparisons with other authorities, using CIPFA information where possible, show that we are
providing value for money. Ratio of workload compared to FTE officers is more favourable than
most local authorities.
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 19
Do external contracts offer value for money?
External contract for kennel provision compared to in house provision found to be equally cost
effective but avoided possible siting difficulties and security of service provision.
What do we need to change and why?
Ongoing changes to service provision have been carried out as required due to new legislation
and increased demand. Continual improvements in service provision and cost effectiveness of
the service have been pursued over recent years.
Consideration has been given and implemented to partnership working with other Authorities,
other divisions of the Council and the private sector, when appropriate and cost effective.
In 2008 the Environmental Health Unit budget was re-based when a list of potential savings
from cuts in service were rejected. Indeed at the time the service was expanded by the
introduction of an out of hours noise service and new stray dog provision.
There has been no great change in service requirements since, and therefore if savings are to
be made similar areas for reducing service provision require consideration. The updated
position on these options is
OPTION SAVING Effect on Service Delivery
1. Reduce Training Budget – £3k Reduction in staff development and detrimental effect on
No support for long term staff retention/recruitment.
post graduate training
2. Delete Student EHO Post £14k National shortage of EHO’s has not affected recruitment
in Stockton as policy of supporting students has provided
3. Abandon ISO9000 Quality £3k Quality of service reduced. To fall back on Customer First
Management System standard of service. Knock on effect on D&R Technical
support budget as QA audit work no longer required
4. Delete Contaminated Land £10-20k Landfill monitoring duties carried out by other technical
Support Post staff, increasing workload pressures. Contaminated Land
GIS database updates contracted out or carried out by
CLO with consequent slowing of Contaminated Land
5. Withdraw Out of hours £75k Loss of £50k income to NES. Loss of 0.4fte EHO post in
noise service Noise team. Criticism and difficulties in dealing with public
demand as successful service established.
6. Delete one of Food 3.5k Self funding nature of posts makes any saving minimal.
Training Officer posts (£28.5k Capacity to do any future health promotion works
saving reduced. Increased demand on Enforcement officers to
less £25k cover training provision with consequent reduction in food
lost inspection rate 5-10%.
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 20
7. Delete Animal £20k Restrict shift work by officers, carrying out mainly animal
Collection/Enforcement collection duties i.e. reduced dog fouling enforcement.
8. Delete 0.5 fte Licensing £23k Reduced level of service providing consultation advice to
Consultation Officer Post Licensing and Planning sections.
9. Delete Public Health £30k Cease responding to all non statutory requests for service
Officer Post i.e. limit planning consultation work, overgrown gardens,
advisory visits etc.
This is very difficult to achieve in practice as we have a
duty to investigate and so would anticipate a high level
of dissatisfaction from public, members and increased
10 Charge for public health £10k Additional Income made but reduction in requests for
pest (rats, mice fleas etc) treatment received, which would allow more contract
treatments work income. However rat population would increase as
would the level of complaint and need for enforcement
Nb 10 or 11 not both action by the public health team.
11 Delete Pest Control Officer £7k Increased reactive workload for remaining 2 operatives.
post . Reduce Contract (£23k Capacity problems during busy summer period.
Nb 10 or 11 not both lost
12 Delete Food Hygiene £30k Along with loss of overtime and support to training
Officer Post inspection rate anticipated to drop from 100% target to
60% i.e. from an upper quartile to bottom quartile
performance. Audit and criticism by FSA likely, possible
effect on CPA
13 Delete Health and Safety £30k Health and Safety work limited to reactive accident and
Officer Post complaint investigation only. No promotional activity and
inspection rate reduced from 25% to 0%. Criticism likely
that we are not fulfilling our section 18 legal
responsibilities. Could not sustain partnership agreement
What are the main drivers of change?
- Likely financial pressures on local government services, including reductions in
government grants/tax revenues.
- Increasing demand for service
- Legislation changes
- Major environmental incidents
Env Health Initial Baseline Challenge 19/08/09 21