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Surrey Fire and Rescue enforcement policy

The enforcement policy (pdf) is the procedure that our inspectors follow when deciding what action to take against premises that fail to meet standards.

It ensures that inspectors act in an equitable, practical and consistent manner.

Who will carry out enforcement duties?

Only inspectors (carrying ID and authorisation cards) authorised by the Chief Fire Officer may inspect your property and carry out enforcement duties. The Chief Fire Officer will only allow inspectors to work in different areas of the law when he is happy with their level of qualification, training and experience.

What action can inspectors take?

Inspectors will take into account the following points when deciding what action to take:

  • how serious the offence is
  • the past history of the offender
  • the confidence in management and how willing the offender is to cooperate
  • the consequences of non-compliance
  • how effective the enforcement actions could be
  • duties that are mandatory or discretionary.

In most cases action taken by inspectors will be informal and will be one or more of the following:

  • verbal advice
  • a letter with recommendations
  • a letter listing works which must be carried out in order to comply with the legislation, and other recommendations.

We will serve a statutory notice where:

  • a serious breach of legislation is noted during an inspection
  • there is a risk to safety
  • breaches of legislation exist and the history of the premises suggests that the work will not be completed without the need for formal action.

Failure to comply with a statutory notice will result in prosecution, other than in exceptional circumstances.

People and businesses that receive notices will always be informed in writing of their rights to appeal and these will normally be on the back of the notice. They will also be informed in writing of the consequences of non-compliance.

The decision to prosecute for an infringement will be based on The Code for Crown Prosecutors.

What can you do if you think you have not been treated fairly?

If you do not agree that action required by an inspector is necessary, or you wish to carry out different remedial work, you can discuss the matter informally with either the inspector or their manager. 

If you are unhappy with the action taken or information or advice given by inspectors of the Fire Authority or believe you have not received fair or consistent treatment, you can discuss the matter with the relevant manager.

After your complaint has been investigated, you will receive a written response. If the problem is still not resolved, you should follow the Fire Authority's formal complaints procedure (pdf). This is without prejudice to any formal appeal process.

About the policy

The enforcement policy only applies to legislation enforced by the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

The enforcement policy adopts the principles of the Regulators Code, which sets out how regulators should engage with those they regulate.

Our enforcement procedures are based on the Enforcement Management Model (pdf) used by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The principles of this model are that actions should directly relate to the circumstances. The actions should also be targeted at more serious risks and be transparent to all responsible persons.

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