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environmentalservices

CIPFA Trading Standards Statistics


January 2005
Introduction

Returns were received from 95% of local authorities in England and Wales, and for the second time data were collected from Scotland, which gave an overall response rate for Great Britain of 93%. In order to reduce the burden of data collection, figures relating to expenditure and staffing will continue to replace that previously required in the Service Delivery Plan in the National Performance Framework, in collaboration with the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI).

In order to allow more meaningful comparisons to be made, class and regional totals have been 'grossed' to take account of missing data and non-response. This has been effected by referring to information returned by authorities to last year's Trading Standards Survey. Where a return has not been received from an authority the total will be derived by attributing the same level of increase among the class average for responders, to the information observed by the authority in the previous year. Where this figure is also missing, then the totals and distribution are scaled to the per capita class average.

It should be noted that the range of functions carried out within Trading Standards departments varies between authorities, with functions such as waste regulation and public analyst being included in this department in some, but by no means all, authorities. There are also certain aspects of the service which may be under the control of other departments or external agencies. For example, animal health, which may be under the control of the Land Agent or Public Health Department. This will distort comparisons between individual authorities. This is particularly the case in terms of actions taken for services in Scotland if making comparisons with England and Wales. A full definition of Trading Standards Services is provided on page 8.

Spending on Trading Standards Services

In 2004-05 local authorities in England and Wales are expecting to spend a total of 184m on the provision of the Trading Standards Service, with income of 18m anticipated from grants, fees and charges for services such as weights and measures testing. In Scotland the estimated spend in 2004-05 is around 24.5m with income of just over 1.4m. Net Expenditure on the Service shows a 5.2% increase over 2003-04 in England and Wales, and 5.3% in Great Britain. Over the same period the RPI was 2.5%.

Table 1 compares net expenditure over the past five years (including capital charges).

Trading Standards Net Expenditure - Five Year Trends
The majority of total expenditure is spent on core functions i.e. metrology; quality; safety; fair trading; additional and procedural legislation and civil legislation. Core functions seen in terms of staff costs and third party payments for sampling testing and analyses account for 74% of gross expenditure across Great Britain. The remaining costs comprise transport and premises related costs support services and capital charges. A full subjective financial breakdown is shown in Summary Tables A and B (pages 6 and 7).

Estimated Net Expenditure per head of population in 2004-05 shows particular variations between classes and regions as Table 2 illustrates:

Net Expenditure per 1,000 Population (2004-05 Estimates, including Capital Charges)
Table 2a continues the trend observed in 2003-04 that net expenditure in Metropolitan Districts is significantly lower than in the rest of Great Britain. Around the English Regions, the highest expenditure occurs across the East Midlands, followed by the West Midlands and the North East. The lowest spending region, Yorkshire and Humberside, spends 1,118 less on the service per 1,000 head of population than the East Midlands.

The higher than average expenditure in Wales and Scotland may reflect the large rural areas and the relatively low population density. The situation is also seen in those English Counties of a similar nature where expenditure per head of population is relatively high. As a regulatory service, Trading Standards obviously depends on a certain level of physical visits and staff time. This is illustrated in Figure 1 below which shows the spread of per capita expenditure across each class of authority.

Distribution of Net Expenditure per 1,000 Population (2004-05 Estimates)
Staff

The Trading Standards Service is particularly labour intensive, 69% of gross costs are employee expenses. A total of 4,500 FTE staff were expected to be employed by services at 1st April 2004, an increase of 0.9% over 2003. There is general concern about the numbers of Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) in Britain which is reflected in figures from responding authorities (i.e. excluding 'grossed' data). They show that the number of qualified TSOs has fallen by 0.3% (4.6 FTEs), only a small decrease but it continues the recent the recent downward trend. Ominously though the number of Trainee Trading Standards Officers has fallen by nearly 29 FTEs to just under 109 FTEs at 1st April 2004.

Table 3 summarises staff changes over the past five years (grossed data).

Staff Numbers - Five Year Trends at 1st April
Businessess by Risk

Table 4 provides details of the proportion of trading businesses in high, medium and low risk categories and compares the average for each class of authority with upper and lower quartiles. Please note that in last year's publication risk assessment was collated by premises not businesses.

Trading Businesses at 1st April 2004
Table 5 puts into context the relationship between the number of Risk Businesses and the resources in place to meet those demands in terms of staff numbers. The ratios are ranked in Figure 2 with Greater London showing the highest number of businesses per staff, and Scotland showing the lowest.

Ratio of Staff to Businessess
Distribution of Risk Businesses to Staff ratio by Class and Region
Table 6 summarises workload throughout 2003-04, including actions taken. These additional factors should be taken into account when observing relative performance or cost efficiency.

Task and Performance Data 2003-04
Implications of FRS17

The full implementation of Financial Reporting Standard FRS17 was brought into being for local authorities by the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom, A Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) from 1 April 2003.

The objective of FRS17 is a fair recognition of assets, liabilities and obligations of current and future retirement benefits. Under the previous arrangements the amount of retirement benefit expenditure recognised was the employer's contribution to the pension fund or, in the case of an unfunded scheme, payments to pensioners for whom the employer had direct responsibility. This meant that the revenue account did not reflect the true economic cost of pension benefits earned by employees in the year. The previous treatment only took into account the cash payments that had been made to the pension fund and to retired employees. The cash costs on their own are not a realistic measure of the cost of providing retirement benefits.

FRS17 is a complex accounting standard but its main principle is relatively simple, that an organisation should account for retirement benefits in the year it takes on responsibility for them, even if the actual payment will be many years into the future. As the pension rights earned by employees are recorded at their present value in the year earned, the increase of a scheme's liabilities during the year, due to pension rights earned in past years being one year nearer to payment, is included as interest costs. In the case of funded pension schemes the expected return on the pension assets is offset against the interest cost.

47 authorities are shown as reporting figures on a FRS17 basis for the 2004-05 Estimates, and these authorities have been highlighted with a '' in the main tables, and are listed below.
  • Camden;
  • Lewisham;
  • Hillingdon;
  • Rochdale;
  • Wigan;
  • Knowsley;
  • Liverpool;
  • St Helens;
  • Barnsley;
  • North Tyneside;
  • Sunderland;
  • Coventry;
  • Bracknell Forest;
  • Darlington;
  • North Somerset;
  • Peterborough;
  • Southampton;
  • Southend-on-Sea;
  • Stockton-on-Tees;
  • Swindon;
  • Torbay;
  • Windsor and Maidenhead;
  • Bedfordshire;
  • Cambridgeshire;
  • Cheshire;
  • Derbyshire;
  • Devon;
  • Dorset;
  • Durham;
  • East Sussex;
  • Hertfordshire;
  • Northamptonshire;
  • Northumberland;
  • Nottinghamshire;
  • Oxfordshire;
  • Cardiff;
  • Powys;
  • Vale of Glamorgan;
  • Wrexham;
  • Aberdeenshire;
  • East Ayrshire;
  • Glasgow;
  • Renfrewshire;
  • South Ayrshire;
  • South Lanarkshire;
  • Stirling;
  • West Lothian.

54 authorities are shown as reporting figures on a FRS17 basis for the 2003-04 Actuals, and these authorities have been highlighted with a '#' in the main tables, and are listed below.
  • Camden;
  • Kensington and Chelsea;
  • Lewisham;
  • Bromley;
  • Havering;
  • Richmond upon Thames;
  • Rochdale;
  • Salford;
  • Wigan;
  • Knowsley;
  • Liverpool;
  • Gateshead;
  • Coventry;
  • Solihull;
  • Walsall;
  • East Riding of Yorkshire;
  • North Somerset;
  • Nottingham;
  • Peterborough;
  • Plymouth;
  • Poole;
  • Southend-on-Sea;
  • Telford and Wrekin;
  • Thurrock;
  • Torbay;
  • Windsor and Maidenhead;
  • York;
  • Cheshire;
  • Derbyshire;
  • Devon;
  • Dorset;
  • Durham;
  • East Sussex;
  • Lancashire;
  • Leicestershire;
  • Lincolnshire;
  • Northamptonshire;
  • Nottinghamshire;
  • Oxfordshire;
  • Worcestershire;
  • Cardiff;
  • Powys;
  • Torfaen;
  • Vale of Glamorgan;
  • Wrexham;
  • Aberdeenshire;
  • Argyll and Bute;
  • Dundee;
  • East Ayrshire;
  • Renfrewshire;
  • South Ayrshire;
  • South Lanarkshire;
  • Stirling;
  • West Lothian.

Impact of FRS17 on Trading Standards Net Expenditure
On average, the difference between figures reported on a FRS17 basis and on a pre FRS17 basis is small, between 1.1% and 1.6%. However care should still be taken if comparing data that has been reported on a different method.

Financial Summary

Trading Standards Estimated Net Expenditure 2004-05
Trading Standards Actual Outturn Net Expenditure 2003-04

January 2005

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