Agenda and minutes

Worcestershire Regulatory Services Board - Thursday 27th June 2024 4.30 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions

Contact: Pauline Ross 

No. Item


Election of Chairman


RESOLVED that Councillor H. J. Jones, Bromsgrove District Council be elected Chairman of the Board for the ensuing municipal year.






Election of Vice-Chairman


RESOLVED that Councillor C. Rogers, Wyre Forest District Council be elected Vice-Chairman of the Board for the ensuing municipal year.





Apologies for absence and notification of substitutes


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor R. Deller, Wychavon District Council and Councillors K. Lawrance, Worcester City Council, Councillor M. Stringfellow, Redditch Borough Council, with Councillors S. Murray, Worcester City Council and D. Munro, Redditch Borough Council attending as substitute Members.


Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 425 KB


It was noted that there was an error in Minute Number 27/23, and that the RESOLVED item should read as follows:-


‘RESOLVED that Councillor K. Taylor, Bromsgrove District Council be elected as Chairman for the meeting’.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the Worcestershire Regulatory Services Board meeting held on 29th February 2024, be amended as detailed in the preamble above, and approved as a correct record.


WRS Revenue Monitoring April - March 2024 and the Annual Return pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:


The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Resources Finance, Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) and Redditch Borough Council (RBC), introduced the report and in doing so drew Members’ attention to the Recommendations as detailed on page 23 of the main agenda pack.


The report covered the period April to March 2024.


Members were informed that the detailed revenue monitoring report, as attached at Appendix 1 to the report; showed a projected outturn deficit 0f £1.2k, this represented 0.03% of the actual budget and was mainly due to the slight extension of agency staff for food law enforcement work following engagement with the Food Standards Agency.


Other items for Members to note were: -  


·       Agency staff costs were being incurred due to backfilling of staff working on other contractual work e.g., food recovery programme, contaminated land and work for other local authorities, these costs were covered by vacant posts and income generation.


·       The bereavements 2023/24 outturn figure to be funded by partners was £44,685 as per below:                                


                     Bromsgrove District Council         £10,187

                    Malvern Hills District Council        £3,007         

                      Redditch Borough Council           £17,203   

                    Worcester City Council                 £13,794

                    Wychavon District Council           £495


·       The pest control 2023/24 outturn figure to be funded by partners was £14,795, as per below: -


Redditch Borough Council           £7,215

Wychavon District Council            £7,580 


·       Appendix 4 to the report, detailed the income received 2023/2024, and included the Worcester City Council, taxi unmet demand surveys.


·       Appendix 5 to the report, included the Pay Award for 2023/24 and the stray dog van total.


Members were informed that for several years, the Board had agreed to reserve a portion of the service’s underspend to enable the service to purchase three replacement Dog Warden vans. However, due to the time elapsed and the fact that the purchase was made directly, there was a small shortfall on this reserve of £3,325 still to be funded. It was therefore requested that this shortfall be funded from the Worcestershire Regulatory Services general reserve, as detailed in the Recommendations on page 23 of the main agenda pack.


In response to questions from Members with regards to the costs of the Technical Officer for Gull Control, Worcester City Council, the Technical Services Manager, WRS; explained that the Technical Officer was employed part time and part of the costs included a Gull Control Strategy for the City Council’s area. Gull control management included an extensive programme of nest, egg, and chick removal in the city centre, supported by deterrent hawking, disturbance tactics and gull proofing measures. This Gull Control Strategy was now a nationally renowned strategy. All work had to be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the licences issued by Natural England, who would only issue such licences where relevant evidence on issues created by these protected species could be provided.


RESOLVED that the Board


1.1           notes the final financial position for the period April – Marrch 2024,


1.2           approves the 2023/24 deficit of £1,198 to be funded from the Worcestershire Regulatory Services general reserves, and


1.3           approves the additional  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/24


Worcestershire Regulatory Services Annual Report 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Additional documents:


The Board considered a report which detailed the Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) Annual Report 2023/2024.


The Head of Regulatory Services drew Members’ attention to the Recommendation, as detailed on page 37 of the main agenda report. Members were informed that under the Shared Services Partnership Service Level Agreement (SLA) the Board was required to receive the annual report at its annual meeting.


The Head of Regulatory Services highlighted that the report covered the performance of the service from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024. The report covered the performance of the service for this period, both in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the highlights of activity, a short summary activity report was included at Appendix 5 to the report.


Last year saw the restoration of more normal levels of activity post pandemic with 2022/3 and 2023/4 establishing what was regarded by many as the new patterns of behaviour and activity that the service would face for the foreseeable future.


The service continued to utilise some of the staff recruited during the pandemic to support work under contract to discharge the planning enforcement pilot and the Homes 4 Ukraine support for Redditch and Bromsgrove, with support from experienced WRS managers.


Despite these additional commitments, performance had remained good in most areas. Food business compliance rates remained high.


As with previous years, complaints against the service are significantly exceeded by compliments.


Non-business customer satisfaction was very slightly up on last year’s figure (59.2%,) at 60.4%. Whilst numbers of nuisance complaints were slightly lower last summer, other pressures in the Community Environmental Health team meant that resources were still spread very thin. Managers would continue to work to address this. Business satisfaction was down slightly at 94.6% but still good, the situation here would continue to be monitored.


The indicators for licensed premises and noise complaints had been in place long enough now to establish good baselines. With post pandemic lockdowns where hospitality premises were closed for long periods, the general tolerance of noise and similar activities from this type of premise had reduced. This appeared to be slightly less prevalent for 2022/3 in our more urban districts, but this year numbers were significantly higher again and, in some cases at the highest seen. However, it must be remembered that only allegations were measured not actual confirmed breaches and that the figures still showed that the vast majority of premises across the County were well run and controlled by their operators.


In contrast to this, last year’s figures for the rate of noise complaints against population, showed low to low average numbers across the county, likely due to the poor weather during much of the year. While the proportion of noise issues relating to businesses was slightly higher than in previous years, domestic noise still represented more than half of complaints and, as illuded to in Activity Data Reports last year, noise from dogs and from audio devices remained key drivers of this. Overall though it still suggested,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/24


Worcestershire Regulatory Services Activity & Performance Data - Q1- 4 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Additional documents:


The Community Environmental Health and Trading Standards Manager, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) presented the Activity and Performance Data for Quarters 1 to 4, 2023/2024. The detail of the report focused on the final quarter of 2023/24, but the actual data allowed comparison with previous quarters and previous years.

The following key points were highlighted: -


Activity Data

Looking at the data, last year, 2022/23 and 2023/24 could probably be seen as the first truly post-pandemic period with figures for activity beginning to be more comparable with each other and those before the pandemic. In several places, the data varied by a handful of percentage points compared with 2022/3 and were significantly different from 2021/22, where there had been a significant burst of activity required, linked to people’s perceptions of coming out of pandemic controls. It was noted that it was probably safe to say that this was now into a new normal of demand levels.


Staff sickness was up very slightly at 3.07 days per FTE, compared to 2.93 days last year.    

Staff satisfaction was at 94%, slightly higher than last year and still an excellent result given the pressures. Two-thirds of staff who responded scored the service as 8/10 or better to work for, which showed that most staff did like working in the environment provided.

Overall income was good and income from non-partner sources was over £500,000, representing over 16% of the budget from 2016/17, which we had used for comparison over the years, and over 13% of current net revenue. 

Various pressures from salaries and inflation had driven up costs in recent years. Therefore, the cost per head of population was up this year at £6.14 per head of population.

RESOLVED that the Activity and Performance Data Quarters 1 to 4, 2023/2024, be noted and that Members use the contents of the report in their own reporting back to their respective partner authority.







Air Quality Update 2024 pdf icon PDF 764 KB


The Head of Regulatory Services took the opportunity to introduce to Members of the Board to the Principal Environmental Health Officer, Technical Pollution, and lead on Air Quality matters, Worcestershire Regulatory Services.


The Principal Environmental Health Officer introduced the report and in doing so informed Board Members that the Air Quality Report 2024, was to provide Members with an update on the local air quality management actions taken by WRS on behalf of the partners since 2023 and future projects.


Members’ attention was drawn to the policy guidance, DEFRA as detailed on page 133 of the main agenda report, which stated that


“Improving air quality is a priority for Government. Poor air quality results in adverse health impacts, as well as wider costs to society for instance to the National Health Service and environmental impacts threatening habitats and biodiversity. The impact of air pollution is not always evenly spread; poor air quality can have a disproportionate impact on certain groups, including those on low incomes. Government is committed to driving improvements to air quality through national measures to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants and by empowering local leaders to act to reduce people’s exposure to air pollution.”


Up until the end of 2023, the assessment of air quality in Worcestershire had been based on:


a)     Palmes-type diffusion tubes for indicative measurement of ambient concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2)


b)     Information and models produced at a national level or held by the Government (e.g. National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory).


c)     Continuous Monitoring with fixed sites in the County – currently at Wyre Forest House and Wychbold.


Across Worcestershire, there were currently 172 diffusion tubes in the locations as detailed at Appendix 1, Map 1, to the report.


In early 2024, a network of real-time Zephyr 'low-cost’ air quality sensors were installed on lampposts across the county, as detailed at Appendix 1, Map 2, to the report.


The purpose of the project was to provide enhanced monitoring data and inform future policy decisions and actions to improve air quality as well as future behaviour change work. The sensors each monitor 9 different parameters in real-time; compounds of Nitrogen Oxide gas pollutants (NO, NO2 and NOx), Small, Fine and Ultra Fine Particulate Matter (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1, respectively) as well as temperature, pressure and humidity.


Appendix 2 to the report contained line graphs showing information from some of the sensors this year so far. All sensors were now fixed to lampposts.


In 2021, significant updates to the enabling legislation for Air Quality (The Environment Act 1995), had resulted in several refreshed Government guidance documents:


·       DEFRA Air Quality Policy (PG22) and Technical Guidance (TG22)

·       Environmental Improvement Plan 2023

·       Air Quality Strategy (2023)


In 2023, new national PM2.5 targets were established, each with an interim target: -


·       10 ?g/m3 annual mean concentration PM2.5 nationwide by 2040, with an interim target of 12 ?g/m3 by January 2028


·       35% reduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9/24


Progress on the Automation Project pdf icon PDF 112 KB


The Licensing and Support Services Manager, Worcestershire Regulatory Services provided Members with an update on the Automation Project.


For the benefit new Board Members, the Licensing and Support Services Manager provided brief details on the agreement to fund the implementation of automation of data entry for customers, in order to make it more efficient, as detailed on page 145 of the main agenda report.


Progress on Forms

There had been extensive testing of the TENs form since the last WRS Board meeting in February 2024 with a number of teams across WRS analysing the form. There had also been two Member sessions arranged so the form could be tested with different stakeholders prior to going live. Frequently asked questions were drafted to assist applicants when completing the form and district council websites were edited to reflect the introduction of the form online.


The below table gave an indication of the number of TENs that were received by WRS per district last year. All of these were received and manually inputted into the Uniform system by the licensing team.


Temporary Event Notices for 2023 (January to December)

















By choosing the TENs form to go live now before the summer it would not only allow officers to see how well it was working at the busiest time, but it would take some pressure off the team to manually input so many forms.  Enabling officers to concentrate their efforts on other important activities.


Progress had also continued on the ‘service request’ form where the task and finish group continued to work up a serious of questions for different scenarios received by all the teams across WRS. It was probably one of our more difficult jobs to scope as it needed to address a very wide range of potential requests relating to the work of all three WRS sections.


In parallel to the wider automation project officers had been working with IDOX to implement the roll out of electronic ID Cards in the taxi trade for both safeguarding and enforcement measures. IT colleagues at Wyre Forest had progressed with work on the dashboard and were now working with SmartTag to ensure that we had the appropriate equipment in place to roll this out. 


RESOLVED that the Progress Report on the Automation Project be noted.





Report on contracted work on Safety at Sports Grounds pdf icon PDF 113 KB


The Head of Regulatory Services took the opportunity to introduce to Members of the Board the Principal Environmental Health Officer, Community Environmental Health, and lead on Health and Safety at Work matters, Worcestershire Regulatory Services.


The Principal Environmental Health Officer introduced the report and in doing so informed Board Members that the discharge of the Safety at Sportsgrounds (SatSGs) function including Safety Advisory Group (SAG) co-ordination which was contracted to WRS under a legal agreement from the County Council’s Public Health directorate in August 2020 following the retirement of the member of the County Council’s Emergency planning team, who had led on this work. The County Council retained its statutory duty in relation to the legislation with WRS acting on its behalf to deliver the function and service.

The service was required to provide an annual review of activities to the County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee carried out by WRS on behalf of the Directorate of Public Health (Emergency Planning) at Worcestershire County Council to discharge statutory duties in relation to Safety at Sports Grounds (SatSGs).

Members should note that the operational detail of this information report was historical in that it reflected the activity presented to Worcestershire County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee at its last annual review meeting of November 2023. The next review was scheduled for this coming autumn. The purpose of this information report was to make District Members aware of this aspect of work being delivered by WRS.

The legislation focused on both “designated stadia” and “regulated stands,” which were defined in the legislation. The "Designated" stadium in Worcestershire as defined by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, was as follows: -

         Sixways Stadium – Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club

The "Regulated Stands" in Worcestershire, that were effectively stadia with stands that provided covered accommodation for 500 or more spectators and were covered by the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (FSO) 2005 were: -

         The Grandstand – Pitchcroft, Worcester Racecourse,  

         Aggborough Stadium –Kidderminster Harriers Football Club

         The Victoria Ground –Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club


Members may be surprised that the Worcestershire County Cricket Ground at New Road and the Worcester Arena did not fall into these categories but their capacities and the nature of the buildings or the individual stands meant that they were not subject to the legislation.

Safety Certificates

In discharging its statutory responsibilities, the County Council must consider applications for, and issue to qualified persons, Safety Certificates for designated sports grounds with the aim of securing reasonable safety and setting maximum capacity at the sports grounds. Where grounds were used for other purposes such as concerts or firework displays, there was provision for “Special Safety Certificates” to be issued where the grounds were used in ways not covered in the same way as in the general certificates.

Where there were concerns about safety, the power  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11/24