South Staffordshire Council is seeing an improvement in the way they manage scrap metal licences and share information with other councils since the introduction of ECINS Scrap Metal Dealer and Collectors Database.
The Council worked closely with ECINS to design an electronic solution to enable them to manage information about scrap metal licences in one place. John Littleton, South Staffordshire Council’s Enviro-Crime Enforcement Officer was instrumental in the initial trial and subsequent roll out of the solution across the borough.
“It’s saving us a lot of time on inspections as we are able to upload the information straight on to the system via our mobile and tablet devices with no paperwork. It was also very quick to set up – it took just one day for two officers to transfer all of our paper based files onto E-CINS, creating a scrap metal database complete with photographic images and background evidence of dealers’ credentials” said Mr Littleton.
“The ECINS gallery gives us a “red, yellow and green” visual representation of dealers that we need to be kept aware of – Yellow indicates dealers who have been prosecuted, red = dealers who have been prosecuted for a second time and green = those with no current warnings. This is quick and easy to view and enables us to be extra vigilant in our work. The information we upload to E-CINS also allows us to evidence our reasons for refusing licences which can prove beneficial for prosecution purposes’.
Licences must be applied for at each council area a dealer or collector wishes to operate in. Holding the information on ECINS allows other partner agencies to view the data held. “I find it useful to see information from other councils” said Littleton. “We stopped someone recently who had a licence in another council area. We were able to see his information on ECINS, without this we wouldn’t have known who he was.”
There has been no major change in the way that people applying to South Staffordshire Council for licences are managed, except people register via an electronic application form rather than a paper form. The main difference the council has seen since introducing ECINS is that everything is now held in one place and can be shared with partners – the licensing information, a history of the scrap yard checks which are carried out with the police and any license refusals or prosecution information. “All of this information helps us and other agencies, including other councils, the police and the environment agency to assess whether an applicant is reputable or not. Uploading information via our tablets whilst out on site also saves a considerable amount of time. We are now looking at using ECINS to manage private hire vehicles and taxis as a natural progression.’ said Mr Littleton,
Councillor Roger Lees, Cabinet Member for Public Health Protection Services said “As an organisation we are always looking at ways in which we can improve the quality of living for our local residents here in South Staffordshire. For us, this includes looking after the environment in which they live in.
We were delighted to act as a pilot organisation and help design the scrap metal software for ECINS. It’s been a huge benefit to us as an organisation to help us monitor licensees operating within the district.
Being able to share knowledge with other organisations, such as the police and other local authorities has really helped us to crack down on illegal activity, meaning South Staffordshire remains a truly great place to live.”