11.1 Question 8c - Enforcement
The 2016 Act enables Ministers to add the enforcement of the offences in this consultation to the duties of a council to enforce within its area. This mirrors the enforcement powers provided to council officers as set out in the 2010 Act.
Enforcement should be the responsibility of a designated officer of a local authority. This work is most likely to fall under the auspices of Trading Standards Officers who already have responsibility for ensuring tobacco control legislation is followed as well as UK wide regulations on the sale, purchase, promotion and marketing of vape products. Enforcement of these proposed regulations would be in addition to ensuring compliance to existing regulations and undertaken in the same manner as current routine work.
Do you support the proposal that officers of local authorities should be responsible for enforcement?
Table A8c (Appendix A) provides the quantitative response to Question 8c:
- Around half of all respondents support the proposal (49.7%) that officers of local authorities should be responsible for enforcement. The level of support among organisation respondents is higher than among individual respondents (94.3% and 47.5% respectively). There is broad support across all organisation sub-groups, including all local government respondents.
- Over one-third of all respondents do not support the proposal (37.2%). Individuals are more likely than organisations to not support the proposal (38.9% and 2.9% respectively).
11.1.1 Respondents who support the proposal
Almost one-fifth of all respondents who support the proposal that officers of local authorities should be responsible for enforcement provide explanation.
Theme 1: Local authorities are best placed to do this
There is agreement across the consultation responses (e.g. including local government, health organisations, the vaping sector, tobacco industry, and other organisations) that Trading Standard officers within local authorities are best placed to be responsible for enforcement of the proposals.
These respondents note that the proposal to align enforcement with Trading Standards who already deal with UK wide vaping regulations as well as tobacco enforcement and other areas (e.g. alcohol) is a logical approach.
The potential benefits of the proposal are identified by these respondents as: consistency of approach to enforcement; local authorities have existing teams, structures, and “good relations with retailers”; and it would be more efficient for existing teams/structures to take on additional roles (e.g. less training).
11.1.2 Respondents who do not support the proposal
Over one-fifth of all respondents who do not support the proposal provide explanation. The main theme to emerge (i.e. resource and capacity constraints of Trading Standards) is captured under the Section 11.1.3.
Theme 1: Working collaboratively
A few individual respondents highlight the importance of Trading Standards working collaboratively with other agencies in relation to enforcement (e.g. the police are mentioned in these consultation responses).
While raised to a lesser extent, a view expressed by a few individual respondents, is that local authorities are not as effective as they could be at enforcement, with some providing testimonials. As such, a few individual respondents are sceptical that local authorities should be responsible for the enforcement of the proposed rules.
11.1.3 Resources and capacity of local authorities
Both organisation respondents in support of the proposal and those who do not support the proposal highlight current resource and capacity constraints of local authorities. For example, health organisations, local government, vaping sector, and tobacco industry highlight that the proposal would only be effective with additional and continued funding to support increased workloads.
With different local authorities dealing with financial pressures in different ways, there is also a concern among some of these respondents that enforcement may not be evenly applied across different geographic areas or Health Boards.
“Agree that officers of local authorities should enforce this legislation but they are currently limited with regards resource for tobacco enforcement. Consideration should be given to allowing other agencies to fulfil this type of enforcement in addition to the current requirements.”
“There is a request that funding allocated to local authorities for this purpose is protected to enable a consistent approach across Scotland.”
National Smoking Cessation Co-ordinators Group
A few respondents suggest that enforcement of the vaping rules may be a much lower priority for Trading Standards (tobacco and alcohol are felt by these respondents to be more important from a public health perspective) and for local authorities more generally. For example, some individuals suggest that a centralised/national/regional approach to enforcement of the rules may be more appropriate, and that this could help ease the resource burden and ensure greater consistency of enforcement across different areas and regions.
“Many local authorities have cut services because they simply can't afford them already and giving them responsibility for this would simply be a further drain on already inadequate resources.”
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