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Trading Standards Under Age Test Purchasing Volunteering Service

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) Environmental Health & Trading Standards (EHTS)

We are committed to protecting your personal data and ensuring that it is processed fairly and lawfully. Information provided to us will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and subsequent legislation. For the purposes of Data Protection, Dudley MBC is the Data Controller.

Who we are and what we do

We are the Trading Standards team, part of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards service. We are part of the Health and Wellbeing Service delivered within the People Directorate.

Trading Standards’ role is to enforce various consumer protection legislation with the purpose of protecting residents, ensuring fair trading amongst businesses and preventing and detecting crime. We enforce various legislation prohibiting the sale of certain consumer products to children, for example alcohol, tobacco, e- cigarettes, knives and fireworks. To enable us to check if retailers are complying with the law we use under age volunteers, aged 14 to 16, to make test purchases of age restricted products. Prior to recruitment of a volunteer, an officer will visit the volunteer and the parent/guardian to explain about what test purchasing involves and discuss safeguarding measures that are in place. Written consent from the parent/guardian is required.

What type of personal information do we collect and how do we collect it?

We request the following details from the volunteer’s parent/guardian:

  • The volunteer’s name
  • The volunteers date of birth
  • The volunteer’s address
  • The parent/guardian’s name (and address if different to the volunteer)
  • The parent/guardian’s telephone number
  • The parent/guardian’s email address

We collect information in the following ways:

  • Paper forms
  • Online forms and emails
  • Telephone conversations
  • Face to face meetings

On each occasion that we engage a volunteer in a test purchase exercise, we take a photograph of the volunteer standing next to a height chart. This provides a visual record of the volunteer, including their height and attire. Should there be no sales made to the volunteer during the test purchase exercise, the photograph is deleted and not retained. If a sale is made to a volunteer, the photograph is retained for evidential purposes. The volunteer in the photograph is never identified and is referred to by their initials only. In any subsequent proceedings, for example a licensing review hearing, an interview under caution or a court hearing, should the age of the volunteer be disputed, the photograph would be shown to the licensing committee members and/or the licence holder/defendant and/or their representative as required; however it would not be retained by them but retained by the trading standards officer.

On each occasion that we engage a volunteer in a test purchase exercise, we record using a video recorder the volunteer answering the following questions:

  • What is the date?
  • What is the time?
  • Where are you?
  • What are your initials?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your date of birth?
  • Are you carrying any cash, alcohol or tobacco? (Or other age restricted products as appropriate to the exercise to be undertaken).

The volunteer is then asked to read a pre-prepared statement that they will tell the truth if asked for their age or date of birth, that they are not carrying any fake ID and that they will not coerce the seller in any way. Should there be no sales made to the volunteer during the test purchase exercise, the video is deleted and not retained. If a sale is made the video is retained for evidential purposes.

Legal basis for processing

Our legal basis for data processing comes from Articles 6 & 9 of GDPR.

Legal obligation- Article 6 (1) (c) - processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject.

Public task-Article 6 (1) (e) – processing is necessary for us to perform a task carried out in the public interest or for our official functions.

As preventing children becoming dependant on alcohol or cigarettes before the legal age for sale is an important public health strategy, the lawful basis for processing is under Article 6 (1) (e), public task, and Article 9- processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.

Legislation enforced by trading standards in relation to age restricted products includes:

  • Children & Young Persons Act 1933
  • Children & Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991
  • Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999
  • Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015.
  • Licensing Act 2003
  • Criminal Justice Act 1988
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
  • Crossbows Act 1987
  • Firearms Act 1968
  • Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015
  • Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010

What is your personal information used for?

he information we collect is used for the following purposes:

  • To confirm the age of test purchase volunteers
  • To seek consent from parents/guardians for their children to take part in test purchase exercises
  • To organise test purchase exercises
  • To provide a standard of evidence necessary in any subsequent proceedings should a sale be made to an underage volunteer.

Sharing your personal information

We do not share information on test purchase volunteers with any other persons or organisations. Volunteers are only referred to by their initials in any subsequent proceedings should a sale be made to them. The photograph and video recording of the volunteer may be shown to licensing committee members or to a defendant in any potential legal proceedings & their legal representative or to a court, but will not be retained by them.

Keeping your personal information secure

We are committed to protecting personal data and have data policies and procedures in place to ensure that it is safeguarded. Information on test purchase volunteers is held securely on our IT system. All staff undertake regular training in data protection and managing personal information.

Amount of time we hold your information

Photographs and video recordings (as detailed above) are deleted after each test purchase exercise if no sale is made to a volunteer. If a sale is made the photograph and video are retained for the duration of the subsequent investigation and legal proceedings plus the retention period required by the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996 (6 months after proceedings concluded or to conclusion of custodial sentence).

The details collected from the volunteer’s parents/guardian (as detailed above) are retained until the volunteer stops volunteering (this is normally around the age of 16 and a half years or earlier if the volunteer looks older than their age). On “retirement” from volunteering the volunteer receives a certificate to acknowledge their service and support their CV/personal statement as required. The volunteers details are not retained once they have received their certificate, unless there is outstanding legal action pending following a sale when the details are retained for the subsequent investigation and legal proceedings plus the retention period required by the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996 (6 months after proceedings concluded or to conclusion of custodial sentence).

Personal information processed outside the European Economic Community (EU)

We do not process information on test purchase volunteers outside the EU.

Marketing

At no time will information on under age test purchase volunteers be passed to organisations external to us or our partners for marketing or sales purposes or for any commercial use.

What are your rights?

Your rights are detailed in the Council’s Corporate Privacy Notice http://www.dudley.gov.uk/privacy-disclaimer-statement/
Should you wish to raise any concerns about how we have processed your personal data you can contact the data protection officer, email information.governance@dudley.gov.uk

You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner.
If you would like a copy of this information in a different format, please email Information Governance