Signal recently delivered a three day workshop on enforcement skills to staff from New Forest District Council (NFDC).
The course was attended by enforcement officers, historic & listed buildings conservation officers, environmental health officers, and arboricultural officers.
The course was delivered by Paul Noble, Signal’s lead consultant for investigations, enforcement & counter fraud.
Day one looked at the legal framework around enforcement, including discussion on subjects like PACE, SOCPA, RIPA and the Human Rights Act. The session then looked at evidence gathering and handling, the burden of proof and the legal standards that need to be applied. The last part of the day featured a DVD of a planning breach scenario, which delegates would use as the case study for the rest of the course. Following the DVD delegates were asked to conduct witness interviews with personnel highlighted in the DVD. This was the first test of their interviewing skills.
Day two: Following a quick recap of the previous day, delegates started day two with a look at the theory around conducting interviews with suspects under PACE conditions. They then went on to look at how to build a comprehensive case file, explored issues on disclosure and a brief on Freedom of Information and Data Protection, before conducting practical PACE interviews with suspects identified in the video scenario.
Day three saw the council chamber turned into a mock court. Officers from the council’s legal team provided a judge and advocates to put the delegates through their paces. This exercise was a confidence builder to give delegates reassurance in a courtroom scenario. However this didn’t stop some challenging cross examination from the advocates when the need arose.
At the end of the course all delegates said they had got a great deal out of the three days. Those with experience had been given useful refresher learning and those with less experience were given a comprehensive skill set to enable them to be more effective in their role.
The course is available for anyone working in, or looking to work the field of enforcement and course material can be developed to reflect the context of the individual or organisation.
“This was a very relevant, practical and worthwhile 3 days. The course was delivered in an engaging manner with an appropriate mix of presentation, group workshops and role play exercises. It was exactly what officers within my planning enforcement team needed to gain or build on skills and confidence on undertaking their work in this field and will undoubtedly be applied in practice. I would like to thank everyone involved and would wholeheartedly recommend it to others.”
Mrs Judith Garrity, Principal Planning Officer (Enforcement), New Forest District Council.