TORBAY has joined the joint Devon and Somerset Trading Standards - making it the first time three UK Trading Services have merged into one shared service.

The plan gives all three councils ‘greater clout’ at a time of significant financial pressure, regulatory change and increasing demand.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet and Torbay Council’s elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, had already approved the merger.

This week, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, David Hall, added his stamp of approval to the plans.

This decision follows the success of the Devon and Somerset shared service which was formed in 2013.

The larger single service will benefit from further economies of scale, more capacity for tackling major investigations, greater resilience in dealing with emergencies and allow for wider specialisation in the support and advice it can offer business.

It will maintain its current offices in both Devon and Somerset and will retain a presence in Torbay.

Cllr Hall said: “By joining forces with Torbay we can deliver a stronger, more resilient service, better able to meet future challenges and demands.

“We will be able to better handle major incidents such as animal health disease outbreaks, deliver more effective interventions against increasingly sophisticated criminal activity and improve our service to businesses.”

Cllr Terry Manning, Torbay Council’s executive lead for Environment with responsibility for Trading Standards said: “A new shared service will enable Torbay to further improve trading standards provision.

"With increasing pressure on budgets we must make sure we work hard to get the best value from our spending and find more efficient and cost effective ways of providing services.”