Bridging the gap between trading standards and fire authorities

Interview with Rob Nowak, Petroleum Explosives Supervisor at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

How the Fireworks Enforcement Liaison Group (FELG) brings trading standards authorities and fire authorities together

Removing boundaries and collaborating

The Fireworks Enforcement Liaison Group’s primary purpose is to disseminate information on legislation of fireworks and explosives for those involved in enforcing trading standards and fire regulations. It creates an important link between the two services.

The group started in December 2015 and uptake has been superb. With over 230 members already across the UK, we can create working documents that can be shared in a place for all to access. We can raise discussion points for all members to join in and contribute to. It’s doing what we hoped it would do and has been very successful.

Being the link between trading standards and the fire authorities, the group benefits both parties. It’s the best of both worlds and has managed to bring authorities together and develop a consistent approach to enforcing regulation. We didn’t always know what trading standards were doing. It was a grey area – no man’s land for many years.

The group provides clarity in the role as enforcement officers, and it has highlighted the interpretation between different local authorities. We can create a consistent approach and guidance based on the history of the legislation.

"It bridges the Gap between fire authorities and local authorities as it provides a space for us all to join and see what's going on."

 

The Firework Enforcement Liaison Group  is suitable for any local authority officer employed  to cover the enforcement and market surveillance of the Fireworks, Explosives and Pyrotechnic Regulations. 

 

Increasing our knowledge base

For members, the group is an important tool. Sharing what we are doing has improved and increased our knowledge base, providing us with a way to tap into knowledge and access relevant documents as soon as they become available.

Members of the group discuss and disseminate best practice, and the FELG committee are able to agree templates and guidance for authorities to use. Through discussions we can come up with solutions to issues where we’ve had inconsistencies in the implementation of explosive regulations. It shows what inconsistencies are out there when meeting the legislation and helps us to build a consistent approach in the UK.

The group supports my work a lot within the fire service and licensing authority, particularly when it comes to new legislation. I can see both sides of the issues from a trading standards point of view and as a licensing authority, and fill in the gaps. It’s an important role in the UK.

"The group brings a wealth of knowledge around the table, builds on your own knowledge and backs up everybody's role."