Trading Standards recognised for innovative work

The City of Edinburgh Council’s Trading Standards team has been shortlisted for a national award recognising their work to prevent the sale of substandard consumer goods.

The team are finalists in the Innovation and Technical category of the Regulatory Excellence Awards, held by the UK Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Officers have been acknowledged for efforts to remove unsafe and poor-quality merchandise from the market through targeted actions, as well as their development of a risk assessment tool to demonstrate the impact of their actions. The tool has been used to calculate a resultant benefit to society of more than £1.4m.   

Over the last three years, Edinburgh’s Trading Standards has worked to identify higher risk importers and producers, halting the distribution of inferior products at an early stage through inspections and subsequent action, ranging from advice to enforcement.

Transport and Environment Vice Convener, Councillor Karen Doran, said: “The work carried out by Trading Standards is essential for ensuring the products we buy are safe and of an acceptable quality.

“Not only have the team been recognised for their efforts to stop the distribution of substandard products at an importer and producer level, but their innovative approach has helped to demonstrate the immense impact these actions have. I wish them the best of luck in the Regulatory Excellence Awards finals.

“In an increasingly globalised marketplace, ensuring that products are compliant and safe will continue to be a challenge, especially with further uncertainty posed by EU Exit. This will continue to require Trading Standards team to be innovative in their approach to protecting consumers.”

Recent examples of Edinburgh Trading Standards team’s efforts include:

  • Children’s hoodies were identified at retail level, which had been imported by a small trader. These featured a free-running cord posing a strangulation risk. Thanks to the officers the hoodies were easily modified by the trader to ensure their safety.
  • A consignment was intercepted at Edinburgh Airport following a referral by Trading Standards This consignment was inspected and contained cosmetic products which breached product safety rules. This led to the removal of almost 1500 products from online platforms.

The risk assessment tool developed is based on Government figures relating to the societal cost of injuries sustained in road traffic accidents, and provides an estimate of the potential benefit resulting from the Trading Standards interventions.  Using this methodology, this new ‘Outcomes Model’ assesses the activities of the City of Edinburgh Council which have resulted in the withdrawal, or prevention of placing on the market, of unsafe and non-compliant products.

The ‘Importers’ approach has been promoted throughout Scotland by the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), and for the coming year (2019/20) has been adopted as a national approach.

Find out more about the work carried out by Trading Standards on the Council website.

The Regulatory Excellence Awards will take place on Thursday, 20 June.

Additional information

Single Point of Contact (SPoC)

The Single Point of Contact for border controls sets and coordinates controls at all UK border points to ensure the highest level of consumer protection from unsafe products.  Working closely with authorities like Edinburgh, unsafe and non-compliant products are assessed at the entry point to the UK and if considered to pose a risk to consumers are refused entry to the market place.  Effective collaboration and cooperation with the City of Edinburgh Council have been hugely successful in contributing to these objectives.

The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS)

The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland is a Scottish charitable Incorporated Organisation. Members are professional trading standards managers representing every Scottish local authority trading standards service.

The Society liaises with local council colleagues across the UK, and engages with government and others around the operation of the consumer protection landscape, providing leadership and consistency to Scotland’s 31 trading standards teams. The Society aims to educate, coordinate, and support.

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