Enforcement Concordat 

The Enforcement Concordat is a voluntary scheme developed by Central and Local Government. It sets out the principles that Enforcing Authorities should follow to ensure that they deal with the public in an equitable and consistent manner.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has adopted the scheme and therefore all inspecting officers must abide by the principles set out below when dealing with the public.

Principles of Good Enforcement

Standards

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service will have clear fire safety policies and standards setting out the level of service and performance that the public and business community can expect to receive. They will be set in consultation with business and other relevant interested parties and will take cognisance of technical standards and national codes of practice. In addition to this we will also ensure that consideration is given to all proposed fire safety solutions that can be shown to achieve an acceptable standard based upon the risks present in the workplace.

Openness

We will provide information and advice in plain language on the enforcement rules that we apply. We will be open about how we set about our work, including any charges that we set. We will discuss general issues, specific compliance failures or problems with anyone experiencing difficulties.

Helpfulness

This authorities main objective is to reduce the occurrence of fire and any resulting deaths or injuries. To that end we will actively be involved in working with business, to advise and assist with compliance. It is the continuing aim of the Authority to provide a courteous and efficient service. Enforcing Officers will identify themselves by name and in addition provide documentary evidence of identification where appropriate or requested.

Contact points and telephone numbers will be given and ‘clients’ will be actively encouraged to seek further advice from the Service. Applications received by this Authority whether by statutory requirement or consultation from other agencies will be dealt with promptly and efficiently. We will ensure wherever practicable, that our enforcement services are effectively co-ordinated to minimise unnecessary overlaps and time delays.

Complaints

A complaints policy is in place to provide members of the public with a route by which their concerns will be formally investigated. The Brigade will undertake to respond to any complaint made against them, verbally within three working days and in writing within ten working days. Where a delay is foreseen the complainant will be notified of this delay, with the reasons given. Procedures will be publicised and effective to allow easy accessibility to business, the public, employees and consumer groups. All complaints will be dealt with efficiently and with complete impartiality. In cases where a dispute cannot be resolved, any right of complaint or appeal will be explained and details of the process and the likely time scales given.

There can on occasion be confusion over what is a complaint and what is a disagreement. If a “client” does not agree with the content of a fire safety report or notice it would be inappropriate to use the complaints procedure for what is essentially a difference of opinion. There are protocols and appeals procedures for dealing with these situations. However if they are aggrieved with the way in which we have dealt with the matter, such as the failure to abide by the principles of this Concordat, it would be appropriate to use the complaints procedure.

Proportionality

To minimise the cost of compliance for business this Authority will ensure that any action required is proportional to the risk. When considering any action, the circumstances of the case and the attitude of management or individuals concerned will be fully evaluated.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service will take particular care to work with businesses (particularly small businesses) and voluntary and community organisations so that they can meet their legal obligations without unnecessary expense, where practicable.

Consistency

We will carry out duties in a fair, equitable and consistent manner. While inspecting officers are expected to exercise judgement in individual cases, we will have arrangements in place to promote consistency, including effective arrangements for liaison with other authorities and enforcement bodies.

Procedures of Good Enforcement

Enforcement

Inspections, which may give rise to enforcement, are targeted primarily on those whose activities that give rise to the most serious risk or where the hazards are least well controlled.

Advice from an officer will be put clearly and simply and will be confirmed in writing, where appropriate, explaining why any remedial work is necessary and over what time-scale whilst making sure that legal requirements are clearly distinguished from best practice advice.

When an inspecting officer considers it appropriate they may provide the opportunity for the works to be completed within an agreed time frame without the serving of an Enforcement Notice. If formal enforcement action is to be taken, officers will provide an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of the case and if possible, resolve points of difference, unless immediate action is deemed necessary.

Where immediate action is considered necessary, an explanation of why such action is required will be given at the time and confirmed in writing. In most cases, this will be within 5 working days and in all cases within 10 working days. For example, where a fire exit is obstructed, immediate action will be required to make the exit available and the relevant person will be given an explanation as to why this action is required. Written confirmation should then be provided confirming why the situation was not acceptable and if necessary the consequences should there be a re-occurrence.

Where there are rights of appeal against formal action, advice on the appeal mechanism will be clearly set out in writing and will be issued with the enforcement notice.

Prosecution

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service will use discretion when deciding whether to initiate a prosecution. Other approaches to enforcement, which may promote fire safety more effectively, will always be pursued but, where the circumstances warrant it, prosecution or recourse to alternative sanctions will be initiated.

This Authority will consider prosecution when: -

  • The gravity of the offence, taken together with the general record and approach of the offender warrants it, e.g. apparent reckless disregard for standards, repeated breaches, and persistent poor standards or,
  • There is judged to have been potential for considerable harm arising form the breach.
         Contact Details 


South Wales Fire & Rescue Service

Forest View Business Park
LLANTRISANT
CF72 8LX

Tel: 01443 232000
email:
firesafety@southwales-fire.gov.uk

Report a Fire Safety Concern

Have you recently visited a building where you were concerned about the Fire Safety Precautions or management - if so complete the online form to report your concern or contact us:

Phone on 01443 232716 (Normal Working Hours) or 01443 232000 (24 hour number).

Page Last Updated on 11/1/2012
SWFRS