Agenda item

Environmental and Community Protection Q1 Performance Report


EW noted the KPI for High-Risk Food Inspections was at 29% versus 37% at the end of last year. The outstanding 63% were not reflected in the figures. It was explained there was a high number of new premises in the Borough, and officers were still diverted to COVID-19 response. 96% of responses were acknowledged within 3 working days in the department, seeing a tripling of service requests against last year.

EW noted 2 incidents were reported to the HSA in Q1. 10 H&S notices were served in relation to COVID-19 in Q1. Recruitment and retention remained an issue, with 3 vacancies in the team and a member of staff resigning.

EW stated that members were provided with H&S training in Q1. There had been an increase in animal welfare cases in Q1, with a large number of pet owners who had not owned an animal before lockdown, who required training from officers.

EW observed that fly tipping had reduced in Q1 slightly. There were 2 prosecutions relating to recycling and non-payment of fpns. Mr Hardy was ordered to pay £140 and a further prosecution on Mr Baptiste. There was a backlog of pending prosecution cases, with 6 cases outstanding, mostly due to the COVID-19 Nightingale Court arrangements. 1,564 interventions had been carried out in Q1.

JB congratulated the team on fly tipping achievements and invited questions from members.

RB noted point 2.1 regarding food inspections and noted there were originally 59 outstanding. RT asked how many of the 59 related to businesses that were no longer trading. EW stated there were more than 63 in the backlog, due to the previous year’s inspections being outstanding. The number was fluid as businesses opened and closed quickly. RB asked for the figures for the businesses in the town that were low category. JB also asked how many newly registered premises there were in the town.

Gsi noted there had been an increase in fireworks in the community and asked how these could be stopped. EW stated they released advice every year, and normally, they did not stop fireworks but encouraged people to attend organised displays instead.

SW commended the team for their work in extraordinary circumstances and asked for clarification regarding outbreaks at school (point 3.1). EW noted the multidisciplinary incident response teams had been set up. Schools were set up to perform contact tracing. Target hardening related to other businesses in the community, e.g. A corner shop on the route home from school and schools may be encouraged to ask individuals to move on from those areas.

AE asked what the main causes and effects were with regards to recruitment and retention, per paragraph 3.2. EW responded that some roles were temporary and funded by the government relating to COVID-19. These 9 posts did not offer job security, so those members of staff were looking for roles elsewhere. Additionally, there was a shortage of student posts. Dacorum was fortunate to have 2 student posts, so EW hoped that when the advert closed, there would be several applicants. EW explained this would be a longer-term solution to the recruitment problem as it takes 6 years for a student to qualify.

AE followed up by asking what was different about Dacorum compared to other authorities. EW noted there was a shortage of officers across the board, with other local authorities having vacancies in their Environmental Health teams. AE asked if there was a policy to make temporary staff permanent to retain good staff. EW explained the temporary officers had a different skill set to those that were permanent in lower-level roles. The temporary staff did not have the necessary skills to fill the permanent posts.

AE asked what the plan was to replace the Air Quality officer. EW replied there was an advert running and other options, including temporary staff, were being investigated.

JB asked whether there had been any further action on the 2 accidents reported to the HSE. EW stated no. JB asked whether 5.3 referred to residential premises and if they were DBC or private premises. EW stated 1 was private, 1 DBC.

NT followed up on AE’s questions, and asked if posts could be created for part-qualified staff? EW stated there were 2 student officer posts. EW stated there were 2 separate issues. The temporary staff were leaving for better job security, and the qualified staff had 2 training posts, which took 6 years to qualify. There was nobody near to qualification at present; hence the need to resort to advertising EW stated she would look into the suggestion.

There were no other questions. The report was noted by members.


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