In a previous article I wrote about the sorry state of affairs of weights and measures enforcement in the UK.
Here are some responses from the Government.
Firstly Jonathan Reynolds (Labour MP) asked this question
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the number of weighing and measuring equipment inspections conducted by local weights and measures authorities in the latest period for which data is available.
Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative MP) responded
Section 70 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 requires Local Weights and Measures Authorities in Great Britain to report on their Weights and Measures enforcement work over a twelve-month period.
The most recent report for 2021-22 was published on GOV.UK on 31 October 2022 and includes information on staffing levels and numbers of inspections.
Local authorities make resourcing decisions relating to the delivery of their statutory duties and local priorities
You can see this here:
I also asked the Department for Business directly. They referred me to the Office of Product Safety and Standards. Their response was:
Local Authorities make decisions on the focus of their regulatory activities on the basis of local priorities. There will be local variation in enforcement priorities across the country, to correctly address areas of highest need at local authority level. A local authority’s approach to its enforcement work is set out in its Enforcement Policy which is published.
To anyone who works in Trading Standards, these answers will not be a surprise. The Government deflects to local councils because it is local councils who decide what to spend their resources on.
My question to OPSS also queried whether the Government thought the current situation was OK and whether the Government needed to step in. This was not directly answered. I queried why the Government has recently paid Trading Standards to set up ‘vape squads’. After all, vape enforcement is also a matter for local councils and the Government thought it necessary to step in with extra money to encourage extra work in that area. Clearly weights and measures is not as important.
At least we have the Governments views on record and in public for when there is inevitably some issue with weights and measures enforcement in the future.