Whether it is the food in our schools and restaurants, safety in our workplaces, the safety of the products we buy in shops or online, or even the quality of the air we all breathe, the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) is working behind the scenes to protect both residents and businesses.
The PPP, which celebrated its second anniversary in January, is a collaboration between us and our neighbouring authorities of West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest. By pooling all of our expertise we can still maintain services while also taking the pressure off public finances – saving for example more than £500,000 across the three authorities this year alone.
The service is run by a special joint committee with councillors from all three councils agreeing priorities and ensuring it delivers for the 450,000 residents and 10,000 businesses in its care.
The service’s current priorities, based on the shared aims of the three councils, includes improving and protecting health, protection of environmental standards and above all protecting the most vulnerable.
Officers from the service are out and about every day investigating incidents of doorstep and financial crime, auditing premises for food standards and farming standards including animal welfare and even the feed farm animals eat. They may be sampling or testing anything from food and electrical goods to private water supplies. They could even be examining building work or looking online for the sale of counterfeit and illegal or smuggled goods.
The three councils licence through the PPP everything from taxis and places that sell alcohol, to kennels, gambling establishments and tattooists. This is more than 5,000 permits and licences issued and policed every year.
Specialist housing officers from the PPP license houses of multiple occupation and check the safety of private rented accommodation, while their trading standards colleagues check deposits are safe.
The PPP also deals with noisy neighbours, pollution control, contaminated land, weights and measures, overloaded vehicles and pests. The list goes on and on.