Councils team up to crackdown on fraudulent traders

Five councils across the country have joined forces with police, the Food Standards Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government to target rogue traders who flout regulations.

The councils are cracking down on businesses which are breaking any number of rules, from food standards breaches to illegal workers. The news comes as new research has found that the ‘joint approach’ from councils including Cheshire, Cornwall, Ealing, Hertfordshire and Manchester, has resulted in fewer rogue businesses being able to slip through the net.

Communities Minister Marcus Jones said: “Rogue businesses cut corners and provide a shoddy service to their customers and staff. What’s more they are costing councils and agencies taxpayers’ hard-earned cash through inspections and violations.

“By sharing data, joint visits and acting as each other’s ‘eyes and ears’ – fewer rogue businesses can slip through the net. I’d encourage all councils to see what more they could do to ensure their legitimate businesses can compete on a level playing field.”

The project was initially launched in October 2014, called the ‘Better business compliance partnership’, and saw five local authorities working to stop rogue traders. The areas developed different approaches based on their local needs, but all found that joint working helped target rescources more effectively.

The government has now committed to sharing the findings of the programme in order to help other councils to learn from the practice.

A second phase of the project is also set to test the effectiveness of data science in helping to tackle a range of non-compliance by businesses in Ealing.