Trading standards under threat: what is at stake?
Ahead of budget cuts in most local authorities the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has published A Manifesto for Trading Standards to raise awareness of the far reaching work done by the profession, alerting decision makers to think twice before cutting back on the service.
The message is backed up by figures from a trading standards workforce survey that reveals that the service provided by the profession is already under pressure – before major cuts have even taken place.
The survey shows that only 4 per cent are completely satisfied that the funding received by trading standards is adequate in terms of what they are expected to deliver – nearly 1 in for 4 services considered the funding completely inadequate.
As a reflection of these figures 62 per cent of respondents say there are services to consumers that they are unable to provide due to lack of staff, while the respective number for services to businesses is 48 per cent.
TSI’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: ‘Day in, day out economic well-being and health in communities is safeguarded by the trading standards profession.
‘Regulatory services tend to only reach the headlines when things go wrong, which does not happen very often – but the low profile should not be mistaken for low value.
‘Continuing to salami-slice trading standards is truly a false economy in the long run and paves the way for major incidents such as the foot and mouth outbreak or foods contaminated with Sudan 1 to become more likely and more serious.
‘The figures from the latest workforce survey are particularly alarming against the backdrop of budget cuts of up to 30 per cent and hundreds of job losses that are anticipated in many local authorities.’
Jacqui Kennedy, chair of the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO), added: ‘Our impact locally is like a fourth emergency service, we are ever present, we support businesses, consumers and local neighbourhoods on a daily basis. We contribute to economic prosperity and fair trade in towns and cities across the country.
‘We are all in a difficult financial climate at the moment – trading standards services are already doing their utmost to work collaboratively and in partnerships to maximise the positive impact of our scarce resources’
Economic recovery, environmental protection, improved health, community safety; support a sustainable trading standards service for a better future.
Notes for Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The full Manifesto can be viewed at http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/manifesto
The trading standards workforce survey will be published later this spring.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.