Agenda item

West Yorkshire Joint Services Update

To consider a report from the Head of Democratic Services providing an update on the services delivered by West Yorkshire Joint Services in the Leeds District and their broader regional role.


The Board received a report from the Head of Democratic Services providing an update on the services delivered by West Yorkshire Joint Services (WYJS) in the Leeds District and their broader regional role.


To accompany this item a presentation was made covering the key points of the report and recent developments in terms of WYJS service delivery in Leeds.


In attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr Debra Coupar, Executive Member for Resources

·  Andy Robson Director of West Yorkshire Joint Services

·  Cllr Pauleen Grahame, West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee Member and Leeds Councillor

·  Andy Dodman, Chief Officer HR



West Yorkshire Joint Services (WYJS) provide a number of services, some of which are statutory, on behalf of the five West Yorkshire local authorities Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.


Statutory services included in their activity are Archaeological Advisory Services, Archives, Ecology Services and Trading Standards along with other services such as West Yorkshire Archaeological Services, Asbestos and Calibration Services which provide a commercial resource.


WYJS has a Net Budget of £4.8 million in 2023/24 and also generates income of approximately £5 million which is used to deliver their services. The Leeds City Council contribution to WYJS is £1.6 million in 2023/24 which equates to 35% of Local Authority contributions to them. The cost per head of Leeds population is £2.00.


The Board were presented with the headline activities that WYJS had undertaken in the Leeds District in the last twelve months. Attention was drawn to the partnership approach with other agencies to target crime in the Harehills area and the role played by WYJS, their use of disruption tactics including seizures of illicit tobacco and illegal vapes. The Board were informed of the WYJS activities in respect to the recent challenges of the ‘cost of living’ crisis. WYJS has focussed their activities on issues in respect to fuel and food businesses in order to protect both citizens and businesses.


The Board heard about the work done by West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT). This is aimed at disrupting the activities of those who target and scam vulnerable people and includes investigation of scams, frauds and doorstep crime offences. An important aim of this work done by WYFEAT is to try to ensure that vulnerable individuals can live independently at home for as long as possible to help reduce costs that Local Authorities can incur when providing adult and social care services.


The recent work of the WYJS Archive Service and the West Yorkshire Archaeological Services in the Leeds District were also highlighted.

Cllr Grahame and Cllr Coupar both expressed their thanks for the work done by WYJS in Leeds. Cllr Grahame added that the services delivered by WYJS have developed considerably in recent years and that there were many more examples of the good work that they do that could have featured in the agenda pack.


In response to comments and questions from the Board, discussion included the following:


·  The Board requested additional information on data to get a clearer idea of case volumes on an annual basis and on comparisons with other Joint Services providers in different areas of the country. It was agreed that this will be provided after the meeting.

·  The Board also wanted relevant contact details that could be shared for the reporting of illegal and under-age vape and tobacco sales, this will be circulated to the Board outside of the meeting.

·  Board members noted the work done with WYJS on cold calling and the targeting of vulnerable residents through doorstep crime. The Board thought this work was really valuable and wanted to know if more can be done to tackle this crime. The Board heard that work is ongoing to explore the use of doorbell video cameras where possible to prevent doorstep crime. Due to resource issues, it is not possible for WYJS or the five local authorities to provide this to all vulnerable residents. However, the ideal scenario would be to encourage friends and families to be aware of the possibility of doorstep crime and potentially encourage them to fund video cameras to effectively be ‘on call’ when an incident occurs on the doorstep and to also act as a deterrent.

·  Board members encouraged people to visit the Archive Service based in Morley to see the excellent material that is available to view and how interesting the services are.

·  In response to a question about how many staff are available to tackle underage or illegal sales of tobacco and vapes the meeting was informed that there are four inspectors working across West Yorkshire to tackle illicit tobacco sales, three staff who work on test purchasing to deal with underage sales and four officers to deal with counterfeiting of food and alcohol products amongst other responsibilities. It was noted that these services do deliver value for money in terms of seizures and enforcement activity given the small size of the team.

·  Responding to a question relating to links to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) the Board heard that links have been strengthened and that work is ongoing to strengthen these further around support for start-up businesses, archive services and work on archaeological services.

·  The Chair, Cllr Khan, added his thanks for the work done by WYJS in general but particularly related to recent work in Harehills and Burmantofts and Richmond Hill.




The Board noted the content of the report and appendix and the breadth of work undertaken by WYJS in Leeds and raise any questions related to these services in the city.


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