East Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards team has begun providing Primary Authority Partnerships, which offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for tailored advice and support on complying with consumer protection law.
Under the Government-backed scheme, companies work with with one local council on regulatory issues, avoiding the confusion, time and cost involved in dealing with multiple authorities.
Advice offered under the scheme is assured, meaning businesses can rely on the accuracy of the advice given and are better protected against the risk of falling foul of the law or facing enforcement action.
Meanwhile, the council has teamed up with other south east authorities to launch the Business Advice and Support Partnership (BAASP), which works with business to provide advice, support and training on a range of compliance issues.
The move means businesses will be able to get assured advice on Trading Standards, licensing, environmental health and fire safety through a single point of contact.
Cllr Bill Bentley, county council lead member for communities and safety, said: “These days, most businesses trade online, meaning they often have to deal with Trading Standards services around the country.
“The benefit of joining a Primary Authority Partnership is that you only have to deal with one local authority, meaning you can cut red tape, save time and money and get on with growing your business.
“Joining this scheme means businesses can get clear, consistent advice from one source and be confident they’re staying within the law, protecting their customers and themselves.”
The scheme in East Sussex was launched at an event York House Hotel, Eastbourne, attended by around 40 representatives of local businesses, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Lewes and Eastbourne councils’ environmental health and central Government.
One business, the Eastbourne-based Motion Picture Licensing Company, has already signed up to a Primary Authority Partnership while nine other businesses are in the process of doing so.
The scheme is offered at a cost of £1,400 a year, which includes 20 hours of business advice during the course of the year, which could include legal advice, advice on customer care, website compliance or training.
The Business Advice and Support Partnership already includes East Sussex, Kent and Hampshire county councils and Slough Borough Council, while Lewes and Eastbourne councils and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are expected to link in to the partnership soon.
Any businesses interested in entering a Primary Authority Partnership, or in receiving support on regulatory issues, are asked to call 0345 60 80 197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org