We have two Primary Authority schemes. One relates to pet shop licensing and health & safety and is with the City of London Corporation while the other is with Cambridgeshire County Council and covers trading standards, product safety, fair trade and metrology (weights & measures).
Pet shop licensing and health & safety
Our Primary Authority scheme with the City of London Corporation is designed to help retailers to get their annual pet shop licence and deal with health & safety issues.
This scheme is exclusive to OATA members and is free to join. It could protect you from unreasonable licensing conditions and shows that you take animal welfare seriously. You do still pay your inspection fee to your local authority for the licence.
All English and Welsh OATA members are automatically signed up to the ‘assured advice’ part of the Primary Authority scheme. This means you can benefit from advice given to us by the City of London Corporation on issues relating to pet shop licences which, provided you follow the advice, your local authority has to take into account if it differs from what they want you to do.
Welsh OATA members
You can also opt in to follow an inspection plan (which follows the CIEH’s Model Conditions for Pet Vending). If you choose to follow this inspection plan it means your local council must inspect the shop according to this plan. That means your local authority shouldn’t be able to come up with strange and outlandish conditions. If they do, tell us and we’ll ask the City of London Corporation to give us ‘assured advice’ which you can then take to your local authority to follow. Unless there’s a very good explanation for the additional conditions, they should be dropped.
Pet shop licences are there to demonstrate animal welfare. By signing up to the inspection plan part of our Primary Authority scheme we believe you will be showing your customers you follow high standards for animal welfare and you’ve volunteered to do this by entering this part of the scheme. Can other establishments in your area say the same?
Trading standards & product safety
We’ve entered into a Primary Authority scheme with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards for trading standards, product safety, fair trade and metrology (weights and measures).
We are now able to offer OATA members support and advice guidance to help avoid and resolve trading problems and to provide legal support if members face local authority challenge.
The main areas of Trading Standards law affecting OATA members will be around Product Safety, Electrical Goods and Fair Trading. So, together with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, we have produced three guides which highlight relevant legislation, the legal risks you might have within your business and the steps you need to consider to avoid or minimise those risks. These guides are available free to OATA members. Log in to our Members’ Area to find them.
If there is a problem the local regulator/authority has to take into account any steps the business has taken to comply with the law, which would include following any assured advice issued by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Benefits to businesses
It’s not compulsory to follow any assured advice given but if you do, the Primary Authority will support you if you are challenged by another regulator. Given the complexity of the regulatory environment, seeking advice through OATA’s scheme can save members’ time and money, provides a good degree of certainty that they are acting lawfully, and gives them an ally if their actions are disputed.