East Ayrshire Council Trading Standards Officers are out and about this week supporting Scottish Trading Standards Week 2019, a five-day consumer protection campaign, aimed at raising awareness and highlighting the good work carried out by local authority trading standards in Scotland.
The campaign focuses on a range of core problem areas affecting the public, consumers and businesses in Scotland. The majority of consumer protection legislation is also EU derived, so Brexit has a clear impact of on this area of regulation.
With such a wide breadth of work conducted by trading standards services, each day of the week-long campaign is showcasing different areas of trading standards work including:
Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards Scotland (SCOTSS) is a coordinated partnership of 31 local authority trading standards services across Scotland,
sharing intelligence and good practice, and working collaboratively to ensure an effective consumer protection service despite severe cuts to public resources.
SCOTSS are also launching their new ‘Approved Trader Portal’, which draws together the approved trader schemes of seventeen different Scottish councils and is a one-stop-shop for consumers, presenting information to consumers about approved traders nearest to where they are. All traders on the list are fully vetted by trading standards and provide services locally using customer feedback as an assessment tool. The portal can be found at www.approvedtrader.scot
Also highlighted are new and innovative ways that Trading Standards are finding to protect residents from scams, embracing technology such as call blocking equipment and doorstep cameras to deter and detect predatory fraudsters. These scam prevention interventions are helping to keep our most vulnerable residents safe, confident and more able to maintain independent living, and with an estimated loss in excess of £9billion to scams annually across the UK, helping prevent organised criminals leaving a trail of personal and financial misery and loss across Scotland.
As an example, a nuisance call blocking initiative that identified residents at high risk of being scammed resulted in some compelling outcomes:
SCOTSS Chair and Trading Standards Manager for Dumfries & Galloway Council, Sandra Harkness says: “This is a great opportunity for Trading Standards to showcase what it does to protect consumers and support businesses right across Scotland. Work carried out by trading standards officers is crucial to local communities that they serve, not only in consumer protection but also in health, economic development and more.”
The Trading Standards Week campaign will focus daily on the following areas:
Trading standards services and partners across Scotland are taking part in related activities each day, for example:
Leon Livermore, Chief Executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “I’m a great supporter of SCOTSS and what they have done for local authority trading standards services over the past twenty years. Raising awareness of vital consumer issues in Scotland comes at just the right time and CTSI is fully supportive.
The joined-up approach that authorities in Scotland have adopted is the way forward to counter the wide-spread resource cuts to trading standards and is resulting in the best service possible for consumers and businesses.”
Full details of the week are available on www.tradingstandards.scot