Press release

Swap scheme to boost links between trading standards and businesses

Trading Standards Officers are to foster stronger relationships with traders and business leaders in a 'swap day' initiative designed to ensure more people see them as 'trusted allies, not ogres'.

The 'Swap Day' scheme is being advocated by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) to encourage businesses and local authority Trading Standards Services to make 'positive contact' with each other, said Paul Ramsden, Deputy Chief Executive, TSI.

'One way we hope to foster stronger links is by encouraging 'swap days', when business leaders and trading standards officers could spend time in each other's work environment.

'Some businesses only come into contact with Trading Standards Officers for negative reasons - perhaps following a complaint.

'But Trading Standards Services continually find that the most effective route to compliance is through effective communication and a true appreciation of the pressures faced by businesses and those of the enforcement services.'

The initiative is supported by the Better Regulation Executive and by local chambers of commerce.

Jitinder Kohli, Chief Executive, Better Regulation Executive, said: 'Trading Standards Officers have always been vitally important to protecting consumers and ensuring a level playing field for businesses. But increasingly their role is about supporting and advising companies on how to comply with regulations. This initiative is an excellent way of helping Trading Standards Officers to understand what support and advice businesses need and for entrepreneurs to get a feel for the requirements of local regulatory services and the support they can provide. It will help make an important relationship much more transparent.'

Wigan Trading Standards is an authority that prides itself on its links with local businesses.

Barry McGlynn, Principal Trading Standards Officer for Wigan, said the idea of business leaders and Trading Standards Officers swapping roles for a day would help build understanding of each other's responsibilities.

Brian Roche, Chairman of La Rochelle, a foods supplier based in Wigan, said he viewed Trading Standards as a 'trusted ally' rather than an 'ogre' to be feared.

'I have a positive relationship with Trading Standards which pays dividends for both of us. I will not invest in new products and processes without checking with Trading Standards first - similarly, they will let me know if my business is likely to be affected by changes in regulations,' he added.

Businesses who are interested in fostering stronger links with Trading Standards are urged to contact their local authority Trading Standards Service for more information.

For more information, please contact the TSI Press Office on 0845 608 9430. (PLEASE NOTE NEW TEL NUMBER AND AMEND YOUR RECORDS ACCORDINGLY.)

Left to right: standing - Brian Roche, Chairman of La Rochelle Foods; Jitinder Kohli, Chief Executive, Better Regulation Executive; Paul Ramsden, Deputy Chief Executive, TSI; Barry McGlynn, Principal Trading Standards Officer, Wigan Trading Standards; Seated: Angie Robinson, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; and Peter Rogers, Chief Executive, Westminster City Council.

Notes to Editor

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline Trading Standards Services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional Trading Standards contributions and interventions.

The Better Regulation Executive

The BRE is part of the new Government department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. It works across government to reduce and remove unnecessary regulation for the public, private and voluntary sectors. It seeks to minimise bureaucracy for businesses and front-line staff in the public sector and to help charities and the voluntary sector to make a greater contribution to society. The Better Regulation Executive works across government to support and challenge departments and regulators in the UK and also in Europe.