Agenda item

New Animal Welfare licensing - approval of fees and delegations

Report of Phil Adams, Executive Manager for People & Public Protection.

Minutes:

Donna Hall, Licensing and Business Support Manager reminded Members of the briefing session held earlier in the year regarding the New Animal Welfare Regulations. The regulations came into force on 1 October.

 

Mrs Maggie Oxley, a Boarding Kennel owner wished to address the Committee, she referred to the Defra Guidance for dog boarding in kennels. She highlighted page 8 of the guidance stated for businesses to achieve the higher standard a member of staff with a relevant Ofqual qualification must be present at all times during the working day. Her concern was that there was no Level 3 Ofqual qualification available in Norfolk, the closest training establishment was in Huntingdon. She requested the Panel consider recommending the website contain a statement advising why establishments in Breckland were not rated as 5 star, the higher standard, due to unavailability of the required training course.

 

The Chairman queried if the guidance was enforceable. The Licensing and Business Support Manager advised that there needed to be compliant and Officers would refer to and follow the guidance when deciding on whether to grant a licence. There was no scope to amend the conditions as they must be followed, some of the requirements were statutory while others were optional.

 

Josie Hoven, Licensing Officer advised DEFRA had decided there should be a 5 star rating. She explained the differences between this system and the food hygiene “scores on the door”. As a new business, under the Animal Welfare Regulations, due to not having compliance history the initial score could be a maximum of 3 or if outstanding a 4. She agreed the Ofqual regulated level 3 qualification was not widely available, and it had been pointed out to DEFRA but to date there had been no response. She agreed a note on the website was a possibility.

 

The Licensing and Business Support Manager confirmed Officers would adhere to the guidance. Whilst not locally available the qualification was available and there would be the need for staff to travel to undertake the training. She believed the course would become available in more locations across the Country in due course. She stated that some of the businesses were very well run and would want to achieve the higher rating which would be difficult for them.

 

After further discussion and clarification regarding the guidance notes, the higher standard, the Inspection of Licence Conditions form and how the star rating system linked to the term of the licence issued, Officers were requested to feedback at the next meeting in terms of how the star rating system was progressing.

 

Donna Hall, Licensing and Business Support Manager presented the report and powerpoint presentation regarding the new fee structure. She advised Members a good deal of Officer time had been spent calculating the fees to take every aspect into consideration.

 

Councillor Brame wished for confirmation that the fees were cost neutral and not profit making. The Licensing and Business Support Manager confirmed as a Local Authority we were not permitted to make a profit so the fees set were cost recovery only.

 

Councillor Webb queried whether a business could request a pre-inspection visit. The Licensing and Business Support Manager advised they would be supporting all businesses with the new scheme and if a new business approached the team for additional guidance this would be done by consultation through the Council’s consultancy service Environmental Health Training and Consultancy (EHT&C) where a fee would be charged.

 

The Chairman read Members the options available to them. 

 

Resolved that: Option 2.4, Approve both the proposed fees and charges and the proposed delegations of authority, be  approved.

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