As part of its grant agreement with COSLA, BIS set out objectives for the national team based within COSLA. One objective to be carried out in the transitional year was to undertake a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of the enforcement activities currently undertaken by the Illegal Moneylending Unit and Scambusters/E-Crime, with a view to assessing the impact, fitness and added value of the national programme in preparation for receiving additional enforcement functions from the OFT next year. .
One of the key recommendations that emerged from the critical evaluation was the need for a prevention and outcomes action plan to be developed. It also emphasised the necessity of improving outcomes through prevention, focussing on the most vulnerable communities. The report highlighted how the shift from reaction to prevention could be facilitated by the use of robust intelligence to ensure that resources could be targeted at those most at risk. The focus on prevention also fits with the agreed future framework for community planning. Additionally, the focus on prevention as a means to preventing negative outcomes whilst enhancing early intervention is central to the COSLA vision for local government which seeks to ensure that local communities are able to flourish.
A comprehensive prevention strategy is currently being devised comprising of three main parts:
- Working to help consumers;
- Working to support business; and
- Working with business and other agencies to protect consumers.
The strategy itself will be supported with a more comprehensive prevention policy toolkit that local authorities can utilise as well as a consumer toolkit available to the public that provides them with details on the most common causes of detriment, whilst offering advice on how to avoid them and signposting to where they can get help and advice. A similar package will also be developed for new business that sets out the role of Trading Standards and how they can help the business to grow and flourish.
For further information on the prevention strategy or if you would like to speak with us about how we can work with your own organisation, contact Laura Jamieson on firstname.lastname@example.org