Residents in Surrey and Buckinghamshire will be better protected from scams and rip-offs with the launch next month of a joint trading standards service covering both counties.
A merger between Surrey and Buckinghamshire trading standards takes effect from 1 April with the aim of harnessing their collective expertise to give consumers even stronger safeguards and businesses an even better service.
The tie-up will also save taxpayers money over the next four years through smarter working and pooled resources.
Trading standards services in both counties will still maintain their local bases in Aylesbury and Redhill.
The two counties see similar crimes against consumers and their trading standards teams each boast specific strengths which will be shared to better serve the public in both areas.
While Surrey has particular expertise in tackling doorstep crime, protecting vulnerable residents and working with businesses to help them comply with regulations, Buckinghamshire is noted for its food safety and animal welfare work, as well as its success in recruiting volunteers to be the eyes and ears of the service on the ground.
The new joint trading standards service will:
* Serve the public more effectively by sharing expertise and intelligence on combating con artists and rogue traders
* Be better equipped to deal with animal disease outbreaks, major investigations and complex frauds
* Save money and generate additional income through providing specialist business services and also secure external funding
* Better support legitimate businesses
* Have greater regional and national clout and influence on Government policies
The combined service will be overseen by a joint committee comprising members of both Surrey County Council and Buckinghamshire County Council. The first meeting of the joint committee will take place on 1 April in Dorking.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: ‘Our trading standards teams work tirelessly to protect residents from scams, deceptive practices and rogue traders while supporting local businesses.
‘By teaming up with Buckinghamshire they will be able to give their communities even greater protection while ensuring taxpayers’ money goes further.’
Martin Phillips, Buckinghamshire’s County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: ‘This combined service demonstrates how both councils are finding new ways of working to give residents and businesses the very best services at a time when budgets are under such pressure.’