The Better Regulation and Enforcement Policy provides guidance to officers, businesses, residents and the general public on the range of options that are available to achieve compliance with all legislation enforced by Shropshire Council.
These options range from taking no action through to prosecution, and include civil and criminal remedies. The policy applies to all officers when undertaking regulatory functions on behalf of the council.
The policy recognises that prevention is better than enforcement; however, it's made clear that under certain circumstances formal enforcement action will be necessary against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly. The policy sets out that effective regulation needs to be proportionate and flexible in order to support and encourage fair competition, economic growth and prosperity, as well as promoting safer communities and public confidence, whilst ensuring the highest level of protection for the public. The policy therefore promotes a positive, proactive and balanced approach to ensure compliance with regulatory matters.
The principles of openness, helpfulness, proportionality, fairness and consistency, together with appropriate complaints policies, underpin the operation of the policy and will help businesses to comply with regulations, local residents to abide by their legal responsibilities and regulators to achieve higher levels of voluntary compliance.
The policy sets out that officers will be professional in their conduct, customer focused, fair and consistent, helpful, use targeted and intelligence-led interventions, take a proportionate response, be open and transparent, provide feedback and protect data and information. Non-compliance will be dealt with through escalated enforcement action beginning with advice, information and assistance unless the circumstances require immediate enforcement action, and these circumstances are set out in the policy. The policy sets out clearly the aims of enforcement action.
Where prosecution is considered, the policy sets out that each case will be considered on its own merits, and regard will be had for the evidential and public interest tests in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
The Private Rented Sector Housing Enforcement Policy sets out enforcement criteria regarding private rented sector housing which supplements the generic approach to enforcement described in the Council’s Better Regulation and Enforcement Policy. It is aimed at the regulation of the private rented sector which includes housing association properties except those owned by Shropshire Council. The supplementary private rented sector housing enforcement activities set out in this policy include the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO), the service of statutory notices as well as the following measures introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, Housing Act 2004 and the Energy Act 2011, which aim to tackle rogue landlords and improve the private rental sector:
- Civil penalties which can be used as an alternative to prosecution
- Banning Orders for the most prolific offenders
- Database of rogue landlords/property agents
- Rent Repayment Orders (RROs)