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Issue 1 // February 2015


February 2015 Issue 1

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EDITORIALBOARD Our guide to who’s who

Leon Livermore Chief executive, TSI Aer 25 years in local government, Leon joined the Trading Standards Institute as its chief executive in February 2013.

A new member joins the family Welcome to the first edition of our new quarterly journal, TS Review. I am

jo Barker programme Manager: Product Delivery, BRDO Jo is part of a government team tasked with improving the business experience of being regulated.

delighted to introduce this latest addition to our TSI family of publications designed for our members. All are a vital way of sharing and communicating with our community and with those who care about consumer protection.


Suzanne Kuyser // Editor-in-chief

I believe this beautifully designed and thoughtful magazine will give you many hours of interest, learning and enjoyment and I urge you to contribute to both the debate and the articles. TS Review is supported by an editorial board (see panel left and overleaf) to ensure we deliver a product that is of the highest standard, both in content and purpose. The board’s vision is that the journal will bring you in-depth analysis, raise probing questions and deliver informed debate.

sara barry head of safer communities, Lincolnshire CC Sara has promoted risk reduction while guiding Lincolnshire Trading Standards Service through major budget cuts.

In this first edition we have brought you striking examples of how some local government and trading standards services are changing to deliver consumer protection against a backdrop of major cuts, with more to come. To help you grasp some of the statistics around these changes, every edition will feature number-crunching graphics to make it easier for you to absorb and share crucial information with your colleagues and policyholders. In addition, we are introducing a continuing professional and personal development (CPPD) section for all members of TSI – CPPD points can be gained by completing the test questions online.

Melissa Dring Director of Policy, TSI Melissa works with politicians and civil servants to make sure trading standards’ voice is heard in policy development.

Each quarterly edition will also feature at least one invited academic’s opinion on an aspect of our work. Dr Louise Hassan and Professor Edward Shiu lead the way with their article on the links between illicit tobacco and underage sales. Our feature on the Better Regulation Delivery Office’s work in Liberia is both reassuring – demonstrating how far ahead the UK is on consumer protection – as well as concerning, as it shows how quickly that work can be undermined. Last, but by no means least, we welcome broadcaster Matt Allwright as a regular columnist; his unique humour and probing style gives an outsider’s view of our world and work.

Dr Louise M Hassan reader in managerial studies, bangor business school Louise’s research interests are international in nature and focus on transformative consumer research.

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TS Review supports front-line regulators to improve their professionalism by challenging the status quo and giving time and space to pioneering ideas. The Better Regulation Delivery Office is keen to be involved in such forward-thinking approaches

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EDITORIALBOARD Editorial enquiries: Carina Bailey // Tel. 0345 608 9468 // Email.

Illustrations. Paddy Mills

Advertising enquiries: Judith Thurston // Tel. 01268 582221 // Email.

Suzanne Kuyser Editor-in-chief

Irja Howie Deputy editor-in-chief

Carina Bailey Editor

matt allwright columnist

rob coston reporter


Mark McGinty team leader, Highland council tradinG standards Mark has been with Highland Council since 2003 and is the current chairman of TSI Council.

Phil Owen service director (professional standards), TSI Phil is a commied trading standards professional with experience across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Mike Sewell Managing director, CPL Mike is MD of award-winning editorial and design agency CPL, which produces both TS Today and TS Review.

TS Review is part of a family of publications published by the Trading Standards Institute. It is wrien, designed and produced by CPL (Cambridge Publishers Ltd). Tel. 01223 477411 // // @CPLCambridge ISSN request pending See TSI’s monthly TS Today magazine online at Download the app: search TS Today at

Adrian Simpson trading standards officer, london borough of Redbridge Adrian is creator and chairman of the North Thames Doorstep Crime Group and is TSI lead officer without portfolio.

About the Trading Standards Institute: // Tel. 01268 582200 1 Sylvan Court, Sylvan Way, Southfields Business Park, Basildon SS15 6TH The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of TSI.

We encourage your feedback. Write to or comment at TradingStandardsInstitute



Trading Standards Institute


No, it’s not a printing error... If you are puzzling over the illustration on the spine of your copy of TS Review, let us explain. It’s simply the first of a four-part graphic that will build into the full TS Review logo over the course of this year. Stack all four issues together on your bookshelf to create your own library.

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Gareth Walters Team Leader, Monmouthshire trading standards service Gareth is trading standards and animal health team leader for Monmouthshire CC. He became a TSI Fellow in 2013.

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Contents February 2015



digest Trading standards in the news

merging services How Devon and Somerset’s trading standards services joined forces in just eight months



abstracts Facts and stats from TS Today


news analysis How TTIP could affect UK consumer protection


infographic Local authority costcuing by numbers


viewpoint Broadcaster Ma Allwright has his say


DownTime Complete our coffeebreak quiz to win £25

February 2015

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academia: tobacco Investigating the link between illicit tobacco and sales to underage smokers

18 cover story As the pips continue to squeak, four trading standards services show how they are trying to maximise efficiency without jeopardising public protection


brdo IN LIBERIA Can regulation help to mend a broken nation?


interview: mike weatherley mp Laying the foundations for IP in the digital age


cppd training The Food Infomation Regulations 2014


legal Changing the way trading standards is delivered

5 15/01/2015 13:02


More people were expected to start the year in the red, according to Citizens Advice.




NEWYEARHONOURSFOR CONSUMERCHAMPIONS 74 per cent of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity

Six consumer champions and leaders were among more than 1,000 people who featured in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours List. Four were recognised for their contribution to consumer services, and two for services to public health

Arlene McCarthy, formerly

are people who have

a member of the European

undertaken outstanding

Citizens Advice chief

Parliament for North West

work in their communities,

executive Gillian Guy has

England, becomes an OBE

either in a voluntary or paid

been made a CBE for her

in recognition of her


services to consumers.

parliamentary and political

• Six per cent of the

She has headed Citizens


successful candidates

and tobacco control.

Advice since July 2010.

Fiona Andrews, director,

come from ethnic minority

Smokefree Southwest, and


an OBE for her services to

Andrea Crossfield, chief

• 579 are successful women

consumer affairs. She was

executive, Tobacco Free

– representing 50 per cent of

formerly the senior director

Futures, each received an

the list

for Scotland at Consumer

MBE for promoting public

• 45 per cent of

Futures, which was

health and tobacco control.

recommendations for senior

Patricia McAuley becomes

abolished on 1 April 2014.

Of the 1,164 people who

awards (CBE and above)

featured on this year’s list:

are for women, compared

executive chairman of

• 1,008 candidates have been

with 35 per cent of the senior

TrustMark, has been made

selected at BEM, MBE and

awards at the 2014 Birthday

an MBE for her services to

OBE level (292 at BEM, 473


the construction industry

at MBE and 243 at OBE)

and consumer protection.

• 74 per cent of the recipients

Liz Male, the non-

Read the full list at

The national charity warned that, while credit card debt is the second most common debt problem it deals with, more consumers are now asking for help dealing with priority debts such as Council Tax. Bank of England figures also revealed that demand for credit cards and other unsecured debt products like personal loans is at its highest level since 2007. Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘Credit cards and unsecured loans at their highest point for seven years is a warning that people are struggling to pay everyday costs. People also need our help because they can’t pay their rent, energy bills or afford the weekly shop.’ Citizens Advice expected to help more than 10,500 people with debt in the first week of January.


An Early Day Motion has been tabled in the House of Commons after mounting concerns over the number of potentially dangerous electrical goods available for sale on social media. Jim Fitzpatrick MP launched the motion and, so far, has secured 32 signatures in support. Sales of illegal, fake goods on social media have increased by almost 15 per cent in the last year, according to the motion.

6 TSR feb15 pp06-07 news.indd 6

February 2015

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More than 200 people die prematurely, each and every day of the year, from diseases caused by smoking. Smoking is still the single biggest cause of preventable ill health and death in this country. The good news is that the number of smokers is down to its lowest ever level with adult smoking prevalence at 18.4% in 2013. This reduction in smoking is a huge achievement. It is likely the result of a combination of tobacco duty increases, the continuing de-normalisation effects of tobacco control policies (i.e. smokefree legislation, the removal of vending machines and legislation on point of sale displays), coupled with national and local action on smoking cessation. However, around 8 million people still smoke. If we are to continue to reduce smoking prevalence, we must focus on reducing the uptake of smoking by children and young people. Smoking is an addiction largely taken up during adolescence – 66% of regular smokers started smoking before the age of 18.

Eye catching displays of colourful cigarette packets in shops can encourage young people to start smoking and undermine the resolve of adult smokers who are trying to quit. The ending of open displays of tobacco in supermarkets came into effect in 2012. From 6 April 2015, this legislation will extend to any shop or premises selling tobacco. The Government has been working with retailer bodies and the Trading Standards Institute to provide advice and guidance to tobacco retailers. This is available through the new business companion website

With only 3 months to go, now is the time to act. TSR feb15 pp06-07 news.indd 7



15/01/2015 12:42

An outbreak of avian flu NEWS was reported INBRIEF at a duckbreeding farm in East Yorkshire in November. A protection zone of 3km and a surveillance zone of 10km were put in place, 6,000 ducks were culled, and the affected farm was cleansed and power is forecast in disinfected. See 2015-16. Trading standards December 2014 issue services have statutory of TS Today and duties to enforce more for more than 250 pieces of information. ●


The number of trading standards staff has been halved over five years – potentially putting the health and wellbeing of consumers, as well as the economy, at risk

Government doesn’t understand the impact of cuts, warns NAO

legislation, requiring specialist skills and

knowledge – a gap that can’t be filled by volunteers or untrained staff. ‘The report backs up Leon Livermore

our fears that the financial stress on some local

Central government

limited understanding

authorities is creating a

is not monitoring the

of authorities’ financial

ticking time bomb.’

impact of the cuts on

sustainability and of the

local government and

impact of funding cuts

further planned cuts

is unaware of their

on services.

will bring councils’ total

consequences, warns the National Audit Office.

TSI chief executive

According to the report,

funding reduction to 37 per

Leon Livermore said:

cent by 2015-16, excluding

‘The number of trading

the Better Care Fund and

Reductions on Local

standards staff has been

public health grant.

Authorities report has

halved over five years –

found that local authorities

potentially putting the

have generally coped well

health and wellbeing of

with the cuts, but that some

consumers, as well as the

are showing clear signs

economy, at risk – and a

of financial stress. It states

further 25 per cent cut in

that the government has

local authority spending

The Impact of Funding

A further


cut in local authority spending power in 2015-16 is forecast


In his Autumn Statement on 3 December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said that local councils will not have to face any further cuts beyond what has already been announced. He also committed to providing multi-year budgets for local government. For full details, see the January 2015 issue of TS Today, or visit

8 TSR feb15 pp08-09 news.indd 8

● Payday lenders and other providers of high-cost, short-term credit will face price caps, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed. FCA proposals include an initial cost cap of 0.8 per cent per day, fixed default charges and a total cost cap of 100 per cent – customers will never pay back more than twice what they have borrowed. ● The Scoish parliament is to pass legislation seing up an independent food standards agency. Food Standards Scotland will deal with all aspects of food safety, standards, nutrition, labelling and meat inspection, and will replace the Food Standards Agency north of the border.

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:42

TSR feb15 pp08-09 news.indd 9

15/01/2015 12:43

Hot topic: private lettings Citizens Advice, July–September 2014


rise in tenancy deposit protection issues


increase in cost of deposit issues


people looked up the ‘Problems with renting’ page on Adviceguide


rise in evictions (not for arrears)

1 in 10

clients at Croydon CAB has a private-rented sector issue

There needs to be a lot more regulation, both of landlords and of letting agents – people need more protection



The Consumer NEWS Protection INBRIEF (Amendment) Regulations 2014 came into force in the autumn, along with the Intellectual Property Act and, most recently, the Food Information Regulations. See past issues of TS Today for full details of the legislative changes. ●

The CMA is to investigate competition in retail banking


banks – particularly for

will undertake a review of

personal current account

overdraft charges

competition undertakings

and small and medium-

• Few customers switching

put in place by the

size enterprises (SMEs)

accounts or shopping

Competition Commission

retail banking sectors is


in 2002, after its report

to be launched by the

• Obstacles to entry into

into SME banking. It will

Competition and Markets

the sector, limiting smaller/

assess whether there

Authority (CMA).

newer providers

have been any changes in

• Minimal movement over

circumstance over the past

a consultation by the

time of the four largest

13 years that require the

CMA in July 2014, after

banks, which provide

undertakings to be varied

concerns about a lack of

more than three-quarters

or terminated.

effective competition in

of personal and business

the sectors. The issues


be carried out by the

raised include:

A statutory deadline of

same panel appointed

• Limited transparency for

5 May 2016 has been set

to conduct the market

customers when making

for the investigation.

investigation and will run

The move follows

comparisons between

In addition, the CMA

This review will

in parallel to that.


The government must outlaw the sale of potentially lethal psychoactive substances, which are becoming endemic on the UK’s high streets, says the Local Government Association (LGA). Deaths have more than doubled in four years, from 26 in 2009 to 60 in 2013. The LGA wants to ban the sale of all brain-altering drugs, with exceptions including tobacco and alcohol.

10 TSR feb15 pp10 news.indd 10

● Around 330,000 Wonga customers were expected to have their debts wrien off in the autumn, thanks to action by the Financial Conduct Authority. The voluntary requirements apply to borrowers who were 30 days or more in arrears. ● Fraud in the UK food and drinks industry costs the country about £11bn a year, according to a report by PKF Lilejohn, which also found that only around three per cent gets detected. Researchers found cash being siphoned off at every stage of the supply chain.

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:43


Facial mapping is a cost-effective weapon that can – and should – be used by trading standards in the war against rogue traders


A pyramid-selling scheme in south-west England and south Wales had £20m invested in it between 2008 and ’09, by 10,000 members of the public. 90 per cent of the investors lost their money


Facts and stats from TS Today

If labs are based outside the UK – in China, for example – UK food authenticity testing is at the mercy of the political, economic, health and environmental priorities of another country. A typhoon or health emergency in China could put any UK-required testing on the back burner


Policing cyber crime is a bit like trying to eat an elephant, or to win a grand prix without a car PETERGOODMANASSOCIATIONOFCHIEFPOLICEOFFICERS’LEADFORE-CRIME

Resources available to local authorities (LAs) to combat a disease outbreak will depend on the severity and nature of a disease, and the duration. The majority of LAs would have sufficiently experienced staff – and employees from other service sectors – that they could call on for a minor or short-term disease outbreak. However, capability beyond this would be limited in the present climate THESTATEOFANIMALHEALTHANDWELFAREPROVISIONASSOCIATIONOFCHIEFTRADINGSTANDARDSOFFICERS

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp11 abstract.indd 11


70 per cent of fraud reported to Action Fraud is cyber-based NATIONALFRAUD INTELLIGENCE BUREAU

Between 1 April and 30 September 2014, £4,658,893 worth of consumer detriment – or harm – was calculated to have been avoided, thanks to the intervention of Scambusters across 14 new operations and 23 finished operations. In total, 29 defendants were convicted and £10,776 of compensation was awarded to victims NATIONALTRADINGSTANDARDS BOARDFIGURES

Source: TS Today November-January 2014/15


15/01/2015 12:44

Why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could turn the UK’s consumer protection laws upside down

News Analysis

A dangerous trade-off ?

Words. Rob Coston

If agreed, the Transatlantic

foreign government.

Joseph Stiglitz, campaign

parliamentary scrutiny

Trade and Investment

However, this third worry

groups such as 38 Degrees

before the agreement is

Partnership (TTIP) will be

has receded somewhat after

and the UK’s national press


the largest free trade deal

the European Commission

have all expressed fears that

But critics are unlikely to

in history. According to the

announced in January

industry is writing the rules.

feel reassured, particularly

negotiating mandate for the

that negotiations were

EU, it will: ‘Increase trade

being postponed while a

passed in its current form,

last year of an EU-Canada

and investment between the

consultation is launched.

public services could be

free trade deal, which

privatised and governments

showed that few changes

sued for introducing laws

had been made to that deal’s

that harm the profits of large

proposed ISDS – despite a

Business, Innovation and

corporations. For example,

consultation which garnered

Skills (BIS), says TTIP will

the UK government could

150,000 responses from

bring prosperity by cutting

be taken to court by a


red tape and rationalising

tobacco company for loss of

According to EurActiv.

laws between the EU and

profits if it were to introduce

com, these same drafts were

US. But critics argue that

plain-packaged cigarettes to

used by the EU in March

the economic effect would

help protect citizens’ health.

2014 to get stakeholder

be insignificant – just 0.05

The weight of concern

per cent of GDP per year –

has forced President Barack

EU and the US‌ through

In recent months,

increased market access.’

economic experts like

The Department for

while the long-term costs of potentially weakening consumer protection could be disastrous for citizens and governments alike. Critics have three main fears: a lack of transparency during the negotiations; the lowering of regulatory standards; and the proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a

12 TSR feb15 pp12-13 Analysis.indd 12

Critics warn that if TTIP is


‘I have fought my entire political career, and as president, to strengthen consumer protections. I have no intention of signing legislation that would weaken those protections’

following the leaked text

responses for the proposed TTIP ISDS mechanism. The European

claimed there would be

Ombudsman is now

no reduction in levels of

investigating the lack of

protection. But it is hard

transparency in the EU’s

to be sure when talks have

conduct of the talks.

been held in secret. BIS defended this

A major concern that could have serious

perceived lack of

ramifications for enforcers

transparency, saying that

like trading standards in

negotiations had to be

the UK, is the proposal to

held in private because

harmonise laws between the

making its position public

US and EU.

too early would jeopardise

Currently, if a company

its ability to get the best

wishes to sell a product or

deal for the UK. BIS added

service, it must be certified

that there will be extensive

separately in both markets.

February 2015

16/01/2015 13:39


30 Apr 28 Nov 19 Jun 17 Jun 14 Mar 3 Oct 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014

9 Oct 13 Jan 2014 2015

The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) is set up

The EU Commission makes its negotiating mandate public

The working group recommends a comprehensive trade and investment agreement be created

First round of negotiations opened

This is considered a barrier


‘Corporations may well agree that getting rid of regulations would be good for profits. Trade negotiators might be persuaded that these trade agreements would be good for profits. But there would be some big losers – namely, the rest of us’

This harmonisation of

The ISDS mechanism negotiations are postponed and a consultation is launched

without portfolio for TSI,

laws would be enabled

there are some positives

and EU laws would remove

by a new body called the

in harmonising laws. For

this barrier. However, many

Regulatory Cooperation

example, he says, consumers

are anxious that this will lead

Council (RCC) which,

ordering goods online

to EU laws being watered

according to BIS, will

would get a guarantee

down. Mark McGinty, TSI

ensure future regulations

of minimum safety

chairman, questions what

in both blocs do not differ

requirements no matter

effect this will have on the

unnecessarily and will

whether they’re buying

tobacco, food, cosmetics and

ensure levels of protection in

from the EU or US. But it

chemicals industries.

the EU and US are upheld.

could also enable previously

He said: ‘Will the RCC

Under current proposals,

banned products to be sold. With the UK pushing

decide to adopt the highest

the RCC would consist

standards and strictest

of regulators from both

for ‘an ambitious TTIP

controls to protect safety,

sides of the Atlantic, who

agreement’ in 2015, it looks

health and the environment

would take account of

like the true ramifications of

– driving up quality,

stakeholders’ views and

any such deal could be felt

research and development?

make recommendations

a lot sooner than anyone

Or, will we end up with

on regulations. ‘The RCC

anticipated – ramifications

the lowest common

will not usurp our current

that could have a far-

denominator agreement,

processes for making

reaching effect on the day-

lowering standards at

regulation,’ adds BIS.

to-day work of a trading

our end and flooding the

Despite this reassurance,

standards officer. As Simpson puts it: ‘You

market – particularly from

fears still abound that TTIP

a safety perspective – with

will erode protections

don’t want to constantly

products that will not

for citizens. 38 Degrees

second-guess whether there

meet the expectations of

has been encouraging

will be legal action against

European consumers?

supporters to write to their

the government if you do

And will that lowest

MP and sign petitions.

your job, do you?’

denominator agreement match the investment

According to Adrian Simpson, lead officer

outlaid by business to meet higher standards, which would have to compete manufactured products?’

TSR feb15 pp12-13 Analysis.indd 13

Seventh round of TTIP negotiations concludes

to trade. Harmonising US

within a market of cheaper

February 2015

Germany makes its opposition to the ISDS clear

News Analysis

TEC asked to establish a working group to increase growth, trade and competitiveness

Sources: Media:;;; Book: The Transatlantic Colossus, global contributions to broaden the debate on the EU-US free trade agreement Leaked PR strategy: hp:// BIS FAQ: hp:// European Commission site: hp:// Joseph Stiglitz: hp:// European Ombudsman: hp://

13 16/01/2015 13:39


Do your staff know the law? Rapid and engaging, online training solution.

Prevention of Underage Sales Practically all Trading Standards Departments have underage sales as a high priority and regularly undertake test purchase operations. Retailers of age-restricted products need to ensure that they and their staff are aware of the law and how best to implement it. But for staff training in the retail sector it can be difficult – especially if temporary staff are employed or there are a large number of branch locations. Produced in partnership with the Trading Standards Institute, this practical course is relevant to all front line staff in the retail and hospitality sectors. Online learning can provide a rapid means of training large numbers of staff in different locations quickly and cost effectively. Engaging and interactive, it uses quizzes to test and log levels of understanding and maintains these training records for easy access, if required.

Try the latest Trading Standards compliance challenge

Free e-learning course – A Practical Guide to Trading Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has joined forces with Virtual College, one of the country’s leading e-learning providers, to create a range of online training resources. The courses will cover a wide range of retail legislation topics aimed at all staff and suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

‘A Practical Guide to Trading’ provides a free taster course. Try it today!

If you would like to find out more, please contact: Jaison Cresswell Business Development Manager Virtual College Tel: 01943 885093 Email:

TSR feb15 pp14-15 Infographic.indd 14

With 19 years’ experience and over 1.5 million online learners, we are proud of our Investors in People, CPD UK and Microsoft Certified Partner recognition. 16/01/2015 13:40





2010/11 – 2013/14

2015-16 (projected)

Average cuts, per authority, to TSS

Every £1 spent on trading standards saves the consumer £6 Scotland’s TSS budget is projected to fall by


In England and Wales, taking into account inflation



cuts sustained by some individual services

over the lifetime of this Westminster parliament

Fewer than


More than

of TSS have specialist animal health skills


of TSS said they would stop or limit civil and second-tier advice to consumers

The state of play

Funding cuts


Local authorities must find new ways of working because of the largest public sector cuts in living memory





full-time staff working in 122 TSS in England and Wales

full-time staff working in 126 TSS in England and Wales

References Trading Standards Workforce Surveys, March/May 2014

TSR feb15 pp14-15 Infographic.indd 15

The number of staff working in trading standards in Scotland has fallen by about

52% since 2009

15 15/01/2015 12:45

TSR feb15 pp16-17 Allwright.indd 16

15/01/2015 12:45

UK consumer affairs minister – or secret agent? Let’s Google ‘consumer affairs minister’ – always a

five members of One Direction, but ask them who’s

good start to a thoroughly researched column. Jo

protecting the way we transact with each other… zip.

Swinson MP, current minister for Employment Relations,

It’s not their fault. Ministers rarely hide their

Postal and Consumer Affairs. Wow! She has to do all

achievements, but maybe we just don’t place enough

that – legislate for everything from multi-billion-pound

importance on the consumer world. If these transactions

industries to one-man-band roofers who may, or may not,

go wrong, they can have a hugely detrimental effect

be rogue traders? Working with the BBC means I can’t talk politics. It also means I can’t

on our lives; losing your money to a con can undermine your faith in the world. So it’s essential that we have a working

comment on the radical overhaul

legal structure so that we can buy

of consumer rights that Swinson

with confidence and know what is supposed to happen when

claims to be undertaking with

things go wrong. The chain

her team. Here’s a simple truth I can state though: even

of responsibility goes

before I Googled her, I knew

through trading standards

Jo Swinson’s name. That

to ministerial level and it’s

makes her a bit of a rarity for

strange that we rarely know

me, because whole ministers

with whom the buck stops. Talking of bucks, on

have come and gone without

holiday in the States this year,

me knowing.

we were crossing the border

I know what to Google next.

from Canada and saw pictures of

My favourite piece of legislation – the 2008 Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations! Whoever dreamed up that one-stop-shop legal kit must be


Words. Ma Allwright // Illustrations. Paddy Mills and Will McPhail

the Secretary of Homeland Security and his deputies. It’s the sort of patriotic guff we would run a mile from here, but those

well known. Oh… no. They were just an implementation

pictures told me two things: there’s a system in place;

of European law; the UK consumer minster had

and these guys are prepared to put their faces, and

no choice in the matter. They were unavoidable –

reputations, on the line for it. I now know who those

short of leaving Europe. POLITICAL MINEFIELD

guys are – if only this was always the case with my own


consumer minister!

My point is this: it seems strange that, so often, the minister who has so much responsibility for our daily lives is such a stranger. My family can name all

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp16-17 Allwright.indd 17

Ma Allwright is a television presenter and journalist. He presents programmes including,Watchdog’s Rogue Traders, Housing Enforcers, and Saints and Scroungers on BBC1.

17 15/01/2015 12:46

PENNY WISE Words. Amanda Poole, Steve Ruddy Image. Shuerstock

18 TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 18

16/01/2015 13:45

stark budget choices to make, but four trading standards services are leading the way, by showing other local authorities how to maximise efficiency without jeopardising public protection. Here, Surrey and Buckinghamshire

We are all facing big financial pressures and the need to

trading standards services talk

make savings. TSI’s Workforce Survey starkly highlights

us through their journey, and – on

what can we do to maintain vital functions?

page 24 – Devon and Somerset

Buckinghamshire have had to make significant savings

the situation in which local services find themselves – so Like many other authorities in the UK, Surrey and

reveal how they are faring

within our trading standards services in recent years.

18 months aer joining forces

deeper cuts, we have decided to take a different tack:

Merging services


Everyone in the profession has

Now, rather than continue the process of further and to combine our services to create something new and better – despite not sharing a geographical border. In doing so, we are taking more control of our future and building on our innovation and success. Our new joint service is a true partnership, set up and governed by a joint committee. It sets the foundation for the future and makes us ready for more change, more innovation and growth.

Delivery models We considered a variety of service delivery options (see box, ‘Delivery model options’, page 21) to reach this stage. After researching them in more detail – and discussing with our cabinet members how trading standards should


be delivered – we decided a joint service was the most appropriate course of action. If we had chosen to remain as two entities, it would have resulted in service delivery reductions – which, in turn, would reduce protection for our residents and support for our local businesses.

The challenges In the present economic climate, there is an ongoing need for us to demonstrate increased efficiencies and

19 TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 19

15/01/2015 12:51


Merging services

‘Teaming up with colleagues in Surrey will protect residents of both counties even more, giving local teams extra expertise and capacity for major initiatives. Not only this, it’ll make our tight budgets go further through smarter use of taxpayers’ money. It is a great example of innovation in action’

value for money. Significant efficiency savings have

Overcoming the obstacles

been delivered over several years by our services,

The earliest challenge we faced was putting the necessary

in both councils, and we felt that options for making

time and experience into the project to get it going in the

further savings – without significantly damaging service

right direction, and at the right pace.

delivery – had been exhausted. To retain a robust and effective service, we needed to do something different.

The process

We recruited iESE – a social enterprise that aims to support councils with transformation, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs – and were provided with a project manager to work with our managers. With iESE’s

Early in 2014, we established a joint project board

help, we were able to put in place some key objectives –

involving: Martin Phillips, cabinet member for community

such as the overseeing project board – early on.

engagement for Buckinghamshire County Council;

An ongoing challenge – as with almost any project

Helyn Clack, cabinet member for community services

in local government at the moment – is dealing with

for Surrey County Council; and senior officers from both

employees’ fear of change and possible redundancy.


Our joint-service business case identifies only one

The board has monitored the project’s performance

management post to be lost to redundancy, but many of

and provided strategic guidance and direction, which

our teams were naturally concerned. So we have aimed to

has been invaluable in designing a joint service that both

be open and transparent about future job security.

authorities felt could genuinely work. It was decided that key design principles of the new joint service would be: • Continued support of delivery of both councils’

We have needed to communicate with one voice – even when our services have had different points of reference, and the staff differing perceptions of what the

priorities • Continued local delivery and accessibility of services for residents and businesses All staff have been involved from the outset and, in 2014, we held three full, joint staff meetings. These were very well attended, with frontline officers sharing best practice and meeting informally to discuss any concerns or issues. In addition, seven working groups were established. Each comprises a manager and frontline officers from both authorities. This has been an excellent mechanism for encouraging engagement and providing officers with the opportunity to shape how the joint service will look.

20 TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 20


16/01/2015 13:45


‘It’s a great feeling to be at the forefront of creating something special that promises to make such a positive difference for people in both counties’

future is likely to bring before we have clearly articulated it. Early on, therefore, the board agreed key overarching principles that we have been able to communicate: • This joint service is to be a partnership • The joint committee will set the strategic direction of the joint service, linked to the priorities of each partner authority • Staff will be employed by the host authority – Surrey • Continued local presence and local partnerships are vital for the success of the service • The new service will be delivered from the existing locations within each county and there are no plans to centralise or relocate staff

Member buy-in Throughout the development of the joint service, the involvement of councillors was crucial to ensure that its design fitted with their aspirations. The responsible cabinet members, Phillips and Clack, sit on the project board – and will comprise the joint committee after April – and their cabinet deputies have also been involved. The involvement of the board has paid significant dividends, both in raising the quality of the business case through positive challenge and in maintaining engagement with key players, such as cabinet members and senior directors.

The way local authorities provide trading standards services is changing. Experts are predicting that the ‘default model’ – in which most local authorities deliver public services – will change to one in which the public sector buys those services. The operating models currently available to local authorities are: ● Outsource services – that is, buy the services in from the private sector ● Joint venture – a pooling of resources between two parties, which retain their distinct identities and work together to carry out a specific task

Merging services


● Collaboration/ joint arrangement – whereby local authorities come together to form some form of entity

Commercialising services – a local authority brings in business by charging for the services it offers without making a profit: for example, a staff mutual ●

The idea of a joint service, and the draft business case, were taken through both councils’ select committees, to seek their feedback. Both cabinets were also informally consulted before the formal meetings/decision points. This helped us

Turn to page 46 for a more in-depth view

to address their concerns and queries during the

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 21

21 15/01/2015 12:51

We wi ll

Merging services

22 TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 22





Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards working together to protect our communities, delivering excellent public services, locally trusted and nationally recognised



m s il ien tu ,v nifi ed t in alui eam g o ng spe ur c sk i lls ialisms

i na

We wil lu se We w ou i dive ll be fi rf rse n u str anc ea We wil i ms all l use of y to see o k o ur e i ut vid fun di f


iv n rs ns alle olde keh Sta

Surrey hosts the TSI lead officer on doorstep crime, has expertise in the protection of vulnerable residents and a very well developed commercial team, providing Primary Authority partnerships and business advice to generate income.





The two services complement each other. For example, Buckinghamshire supports a member of staff as the TSI lead officer on food and has strong animal health and welfare knowledge.

ng lopi eve dget d , u ng o r b ro ence st ome tellig d in unities nc n a rt ce ppo en g o n


Our counties share very similar demographics: comparatively affluent, but with pockets of deprivation; easy access to London, with many commuters; and significant farming communities. This means we are involved in similar work and in tackling similar types of crime, such as doorstep frauds.

ly se wi

ma p p e r fo R he e r t iv t m k fo na d wor ter se We will e al gni el v i o t ev p arac ly rec , d ole e A wid ive wh vat e nno to th be i We will ributing cont

Despite not sharing a geographical border, Buckinghamshire and Surrey county councils have a similar political, strategic and operational ethos, which make us ideal partners for a joint trading standards service.

ing nd

be a our visib res ide le an nts d t fro rus We will m t be ha on im intel p a li g We w ct ill b a e to resp ne o w Custom ch

cting rote e, p enc l loss ia res l p anc n ca lo nd fi ed ed a cus , fo s rm d e -le m ce tco ptive en d ou ada nd n e a ges


Fig. 1 The buckinghamshire and surrey new joint service vision



to lic od the goo d el of priva and be an op t b e st p e sector. ub ing i racti lic nto ce pr ote new a r eas cti and on age nda



re a as k r ly ll wo xib p We wi fle elo k or ev ill w nd d We w a

development work, which was integral to getting the project agreed by both cabinets at its first formal decision point, in October 2014. The project board established the vision and principles for the joint service: ‘Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards working together to protect our communities, delivering excellent public services, locally trusted and nationally recognised.’

What happens next? After formal adoption of our plan, the new joint service TSI’s Workforce Survey is available to download at standards. WorkforceSurvey 2014.cfm

will go live on 1 April 2015 – and will be the culmination of more than 18 months’ work. Surrey, as the bigger council, will be the host authority and – subject to the ongoing formal consultation – all Buckinghamshire staff will be transferred to the employment of Surrey County Council. The new team will consist, roughly, of 50 staff in Surrey and 24 in Buckinghamshire.


15/01/2015 12:52


In addition, the organising and enabling of

impact on the regional and national scene. We will also

back-office matters, such as the IT infrastructure, is

reduce costs, while maintaining staffing levels for frontline

critical to the success of the joint service and is being

service delivery.

progressed. We are also considering the identity and branding

By the fourth year of operation, the service will be saving £396,000 annually, or around 12 per cent of

of our new service. The joint committee model will be

the current combined service budget. In doing so, we

underpinned by an inter-authority agreement – which has

will reduce staffing by one management post only. The net

still to be finalised – that sets out the legal arrangements

savings will come from reducing costs and by increasing

for the partnership, including how contributions, costs,

income, primarily from the services we sell to businesses.

savings and additional income will be split between our two partner authorities to ensure fairness. We are also resolving the details of how the service

What lessons have we learned? The initial input from iESE was crucial to providing

will be delivered, operationally – for example, how we will

momentum and setting us on the right road. It was also

incorporate the Integrated Operating Model, how Primary

important to ensure we had the correct people – at all

Authority partnerships can be grown, and how we ensure

levels – involved from the start.

there is consistency in legal processing across the joint

The involvement of our cabinet members ensured we

service. We are encouraging frontline officers to remain

received strategic direction and constructive criticism,

involved in these developments to help shape how the

helping us to deliver a high-calibre business case to our

new service will operate.

cabinets in October.

The benefits and savings

all of our staff. By being involved in the various working

Sharing expertise and best practice will provide us with

strands, they have helped to design and develop what our

a greater resilience to cope with unforeseen challenges

joint service will look like from April 2015.

– such as animal-disease outbreaks – and large-scale

It was equally important to engage and consult with

Communication is vital in any project and by being

investigations, such as complex frauds. By sharing

open and honest at all times – and allowing challenging

resources, we will create economies and efficiencies,

questions in open forums – we have been able to

and we will also eliminate duplication; for example,

understand and address concerns as they arose.

when writing enforcement policies and funding bids. Our joint service will have the capacity to be even

Merging services

‘Sharing intelligence and resources will save Surrey taxpayers up to £240,000 a year, which will go into frontline services. We hope a bigger operation will mean more government influence and local funding. We need to be innovative because we face huge budget pressures, such as a £215m school places shortfall’

The challenge now is to have the shared service in place by April – and to achieve all we have promised.

more innovative and we will be able to generate significantly more income, and enhance our use of volunteers. As a joint service we will be able to have more

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp18-23 Cover Story 23

Amanda Poole is trading standards manager at Buckinghamshire County Council, and Steve Ruddy is community protection manager at Surrey County Council.

23 15/01/2015 12:52

It was in October 2012 that the idea of a joint Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service was first seriously discussed. A mere eight months later, the deal was struck

Merging services

One direc Like all local authorities faced with increasing financial

two of the plan, all of those savings were in place without

pressure, Devon and Somerset county councils needed to

the need for any compulsory redundancies, and with no

find ways to save money, while still providing an effective

significant impact on service delivery.

and sustainable service. We already had a track record of

That’s not to say it has all been plain sailing, but

cooperation between the counties – although nothing as

we always had a ‘can do’ approach. Rather than dwell

formal as this – and the profiles of the two services were

on various operational issues, we kept our eye on the

broadly similar, which indicated that a fully integrated

bigger picture and completed the legal merger first,

service could be achievable.

confidently trusting each other to resolve any obstacles

We knew that by pooling our resources we could explore greater opportunities for income generation,

One of our biggest challenges was redesigning the

while maintaining and enhancing the ‘clout’ to tackle

service. We not only wanted to create a uniform service,

major investigations, and becoming more resilient in the

but also shape it so it was fit for modern challenges.

face of emergencies. By December 2012, heads of terms* had been agreed


as they appeared.

We needed to merge our general information and communication technologies and our premises/

and the political process – of council debate and scrutiny

complaints databases, create a new website, and

– began in early spring 2013. We finally signed all the

restructure management and operational teams.

legal paperwork on 1 May 2013.

At the same time, we seized the opportunity to create a

Part of the agreement was to plan for £750,000 of

dedicated business support team, one that tries to tailor

overall savings in the first three years. However, in year

its interventions to the specific needs of local businesses.

*A document that sets out the terms of a commercial transaction agreed in principle between parties in the course of negotiations. Heads of terms evidence serious intent and have moral force, but do not legally compel the parties to conclude the deal on those terms or even at all (hp://

TSR feb15 pp24-25 Devon Somerset.indd 24

February 2015

16/01/2015 13:46


Oct 2012

Dec 2012

Spring 1 May 2013 2013

Idea for a joint Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service first seriously discussed

Heads of terms* agreed

Council debate and scrutiny begins

All legal paperwork signed, cementing the deal

JanDec 2014 £750,000 of overall savings achieved in year two

to call. For instance, during one investigation we were required to simultaneously exercise warrants at around 15 properties – something a smaller service would find difficult to achieve without significant external support.

We offer Primary and Home Authority (regulatory

support) services, a very popular approved-trader scheme

disease outbreak or other emergency, and the capacity to develop specialist officers across the very broad range of legislation for which trading standards is responsible. Not only have we enjoyed the practical benefits, but the merger has raised our political profile and developed recognition about the value of our work. This has been reflected in a Local Government Chronicle Award nomination for doorstep crime work, and a TSI Hero Award featuring one of our cases. Our aspiration is to identify major instances of consumer or business detriment early, to act quickly and to use our expertise to consider innovative approaches to tackle the problem. In many ways, we were very fortunate that a number

– Buy With Confidence – and a range of other support

of factors aligned themselves to make the merger happen.

and advice options.

Don’t, however, underestimate the work involved. As

Our next task was to create an investigative capacity, including an intelligence unit, accredited financial investigators, and e-crime and other investigatory

always, staff engagement is critical and you need to involve all officers as early as possible. In a recent visit, TSI’s chief executive, Leon Livermore,

expertise. In its totality, it is probably unique among

commented on how motivated and positive everybody

trading standards services and has already paid

seemed to be – a stark contrast, he felt, to many other

dividends. Despite this significant transition work, we

authorities where regulatory services have been

continued to meet all of our key performance indicators

particularly hard hit by public sector cuts.

and delivered important and successful prosecutions. At the start of 2014, Somerset staff voluntarily agreed

Merging services

c tion

Words. Paul Thomas Image. Shuerstock

We also have the resilience to deal with a major animal-

If we had been unsuccessful, the future of both stand-alone services may have been very different. We

to move to Devon’s terms and conditions, which include a

now truly operate as one service and, in the short term –

vibrant career progression scheme. Through this, officers

which is about as far as anyone can look in the current

can gain additional qualifications and competencies,

economic climate – the future looks extremely positive.

which mean increased opportunities for advancement. One of the great advantages of the merger has been the larger, broader pool of resources on which

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp24-25 Devon Somerset.indd 25

Paul Thomas is head of Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service, the joint service commissioned by Devon and Somerset county councils.

25 16/01/2015 13:47


Early smokers are less likely to quit in adulthood

Changing Words. Dr Louise Hassan and Professor Edward Shiu Images. Gey

26 TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 26

February 2015

16/01/2015 13:48

The illicit tobacco market has been cut by around 50 per

The problem of underage smoking requires urgent

cent1 since HM Revenue and Customs’ strategy, Tackling

attention, given that two-thirds of adult smokers report

Tobacco Smuggling, was introduced in 2000. The factory-

having taken up the habit before the age of 18.4 Recent

made, illegal tobacco market accounted for nine per cent

(2010/11) estimates show that, each year, more than 200,000

of all cigarettes sold within the UK in 2011 – a drop from

UK children start smoking.5

21 per cent in 2001, and a reduction from 61 per cent to 38

Research on illicit tobacco use by underage smokers

per cent was observed over the same period in the hand-

is relatively scarce, but evidence from national and

rolling tobacco market.2

international studies shows that young smokers’ awareness

However, the trend in seizures of illicit tobacco has

of its existence is high. Wave five of the Youth Tobacco

shown no sign of falling throughout the period 2008 to

Policy Study, in 2008, showed that 82 per cent of a sample

2013.2 Thus, the evidence suggests a potential stabilising

of 442 smokers in the UK – aged 11-16 years – were aware

of the market. As a result, there is a need to look more

of illicit tobacco trade, while 14 per cent had bought illegal

closely at the different consumer segments and channels

tobacco products.6

through which illicit tobacco products are traded, to

To make matters worse, other research has shown that

develop approaches that could be used to tackle this trade.

underage smokers who use illicit tobacco products smoke

One particularly important segment is that of underage

more than those who do not.7

smokers, who might not be able to gain access to legal

These findings raise a number of concerns: Are

tobacco products through licensed channels, because they

underage smokers able to tell the difference between legal

are under 18.

and illicit tobacco products? Where do they acquire these

In the short term, young smokers can suffer serious respiratory and asthma-related illnesses, and can also

illegal products – and how can the sale of them be reduced?

continue the habit, compared with those who begin when

Can underage smokers tell the difference between legal and illicit tobacco products?

they are older.3 Underage smoking is also linked to heavier

There is clear evidence to suggest that young adult smokers

smoking in adulthood, and early smokers are less likely

– not within the underage group – are aware when they are

to quit.3

smoking illicit tobacco. This is because of the comparative

impair their lung development. In the longer term, those who smoke before the age of 16 are twice as likely to

habits February 2015

TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 27

Academic research


Investigating the link between illicit tobacco and underage sales – catching the big fish but missing the shoal?

27 16/01/2015 13:49

Academic research


Underage smokers mostly buy single cigarees


appearance of the packaging and the cigarette, as well as

At least 14 per cent of underage smokers used illicit tobacco products in the last six months

are less likely to have experience of buying and using legal

A similar proportion – about 40 per cent – of underage smokers access tobacco from shops and through purchasing from others

the authenticity of the cigarette.9 Another important

Fag houses represent a common source of cigarees for children in some communities ●

the relative performance of the product – in addition to the way in which it was acquired.8 However, underage smokers cigarettes, so a comparative evaluation is more difficult. Furthermore, studies show that underage smokers predominantly buy single cigarettes, which means they are less likely to see the pack and so be able to deduce consequence of this is that they are not being exposed to on-pack health alerts – one of the reasons why researchers have called for on-stick warnings.10

Where do underage smokers acquire illicit tobacco products? It is illegal to sell individual cigarettes, so the sale of ‘singles’ goes hand in hand with illicit tobacco trading. So-called ‘fag houses’ – private homes where illicit

Around 50 per cent of underage smokers buy cigarees as ‘singles’

cigarettes can be bought – represent an easy access point

Consistently high levels (>60 per cent) of underage smokers access tobacco given by friends and/or family

with some local people for the ‘service’ they provide.11

28 TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 28

for illegal tobacco, and for the sale of single cigarettes.11 Fag houses are part of the fabric of some areas; their use has become normalised, and they enjoy support A common problem is that this ‘legitimisation’ of fag houses within a community means residents are less likely to report such activity to authorities like trading standards to get them closed down. However, members of communities where fag houses operate have expressed

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:52


concern about the sale of illicit tobacco to children.11 This represents one possible way of getting residents on board with tackling the problem. Research by McNeill et al (2013) on the North of

Academic research


England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme, has shown that social marketing campaigns focusing on the influence of illegal cigarettes in getting children to take up smoking help to increase the flow of intelligence on the sale of such products.12 Without this information, trading standards services have limited awareness of fag houses in their area. Indeed, the latest Tobacco Control Survey for England (2013/14) shows that trading standards officers (TSOs) only make a very small proportion (one per cent) of their visits to private homes.13 Thus, the service may be missing an important trading source where illicit tobacco products are sold. The change in trends in the buying of cigarettes by young people – mostly aged between 11 and 15 – is given in Figure 1.14 The chart shows that, since the law changed in October 2007 – raising the legal age at which people can buy cigarettes from 16 to 18 years – there has been a marked decrease in shop sales of cigarettes to young people (64.7 per cent in 2006 to 42.5 per cent in 2012). However, there has also been an increase in young people buying cigarettes from other sources (34.7 per cent in 2006 to 41.9 per cent in 2012). A very small proportion of cigarettes is reported to have been bought from street markets by young people. Notably, the data show a consistently high level (> 60 per cent) of young people gaining access to cigarettes via friends, family or parents. However, no UK-wide data is available to examine trends for 16- and 17-year-olds. On illicit cigarettes in particular, data from the Trading Standards North West Young Persons’ Alcohol and Tobacco Survey (2013) shed some light on the purchase of illicit cigarettes. Results from the survey show a marked decrease

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 29

29 15/01/2015 12:53



(56 per cent in 2007 to 36 per cent in 2013) in young people, aged 14-17, buying cigarettes with health warnings in

Keep targeting shops, but consider increasing focus on other channels, such as fag houses ●

different languages. A smaller reduction (28 per cent in 2007 to 22 per cent in 2013) was revealed for the purchase of fake cigarettes in packs that look like well-known brands.15 The survey also highlights persistently high levels –

Acquire more intelligence from communities. Be aware that some might not be willing, as fag houses are perceived as legitimate entities

Academic research

Consider the potential benefits of campaigning on the harm of selling to children from unregulated channels, such as fag houses ●

Continue to target the sale of single cigarees to underage smokers ●

● Continue to tackle access to informal supplies of tobacco products by underage smokers – for example, via friends and family


people buying single cigarettes.15 Currently, little is known about the level of illicit tobacco traded as ‘singles’. Additional effort will be required to gather intelligence on this popular form of access by underage smokers. Figure 1 Percentage of pupils who are smokers

Bought from shops Bought from others Given by others Bought from street markets

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2006




Note: Bought from shops (supermarkets, newsagents, garages and/or other types of shops); bought from others (friends, relatives and/or someone else); given by others (2006/2008: friends, siblings and/or parents; 2010/2012 friends, siblings, parents and/or others).

How can the sale of illicit tobacco products be reduced? TSI’s Tobacco Control Survey highlights the substantive efforts made by local councils in England to tackle illegal

More insight is needed into the association between age and the use of illicit tobacco

cigarette trading in 2013/14. The vast majority (91 per cent)

● More research is required into access channels and the type of product acquired/ purchased (illicit tobacco or not)

licensed premises, with very few (less than five per cent)

Factors influencing underage smokers accessing illicit tobacco need to be looked at ●


around 50 per cent between 2007 and 2013 – of young

TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 30

did work in relation to illicit tobacco, while 88 per cent (down from 95 per cent in 2012/13) conducted activities in relation to underage sales.13 The vast majority of these activities were targeted at targeting other sources, such as street markets, car boot sales and private homes – fag houses, for example.13 After the age for the legal sale of tobacco products was increased, young smokers – mostly aged 11 to 15 – have much more restricted access to tobacco products at licensed premises. At the same time, the data show a significant increase

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:53

TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 31

15/01/2015 12:53


in underage smokers obtaining tobacco products from friends and family, with up to 10 per cent reporting ‘other’ (not specified) sources, and a consistently high level of purchases of single cigarettes.14, 15 However, little information is available to illuminate the scale of illicit tobacco products funnelled through these

Academic research

sources. This begs the question: ‘Is trading standards catching the big fish – licensed premises and shops – but missing the many less prominent channels, such as fag houses and myriad ‘others’, such as friends and family? To put things in context, data from successive surveys in England show a steady decrease in pupils, aged between 11 and 15, who were regular smokers, defined as having smoked at least once a week. The gradual decline ranged from nine per cent in 2003; six per cent in 2007-2009; five per cent in 2010; four per cent in 2012; to three per cent in 2013.16 However, a three per cent figure still represents around 100,000 children at risk in England. Further, given HM Revenue and Customs’ report on the sustained level of illicit tobacco seizures from 2008 to 2013, the challenge for trading standards is to identify the distribution channels, and stem the supply of illegal products to users – including underage smokers. Research is lagging behind the legislative change in 2007, when the legal age for buying tobacco was raised to 18. New information will need to be gathered to gain a better understanding of the purchase and access patterns of smokers aged 16 and 17.

The number of school pupils who smoke is declining



Dr Louise Hassan is a reader in managerial studies, and Edward Shiu is professor of marketing, at Bangor University Business School.

TSR feb15 pp26-32 AR Tobacco.indd 32

References 1. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Tackling tobacco smuggling — building on our success. A renewed strategy for HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency. London: HMRC, 2011. 2. National Audit Office (NAO). Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (HC226) MMRC Progress in tackling tobacco smuggling. NAO, 2013. 3. British Medical Association. Breaking the cycle of children’s exposure to tobacco smoke. BMA, London; 2007. 4. Robinson, S., & Bugler, C. Smoking and drinking among adults, 2008. General Lifestyle Survey 2008. ONS, 2010. 5. Hopkinson, NS., Lester-George, A., Ormiston-Smith, N., Cox, A. & Arno, D. Child uptake of smoking by area across the UK. Thorax, 2013. doi:10.1136/ thoraxjnl-2013-204379. 6. Moodie, C., MacKintosh, AM. & West, R. Adolescents’ awareness of, and involvement with, illicit tobacco in the UK. Tobacco Control, 2010; 19: 521–512. 7. Callaghan, RC., Veldhuizen, S., Leatherdale, S., Murnaghan, D. & Manske, S. Use of contraband cigarees among adolescent daily smokers in Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2009; 181: 384-386. 8. Moodie, C., Hastings, G. & Joossens, L. Young adult smokers’ perceptions of illicit tobacco and the possible impact of plain packaging on purchase behaviour. European Journal of Public Health, 2012; 22: 251-253. 9. Hughes, SK., Hughes, K., Atkinson, AM., Bellis, MA. & Smallthwaite, L. Smoking behaviours, access to cigarees and relationships with alcohol in 15- and 16-yearold school children. European Journal of Public Health, 2011; 21: 8–14. 10. Hassan, LM. & Shiu, E. No place to hide: two pilot studies assessing the effectiveness of adding a health warning to the cigaree stick. Tobacco Control, 2013. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051238. 11. Stead, M., Jones, L., Docherty, G., Gough, B., Antoniak, M. & McNeill, A. ‘No-one actually goes to a shop and buys them do they?’: Aitudes and behaviours regarding illicit tobacco in a multiply disadvantaged community in England. Addiction, 2013; 108: 2212–2219. 12. McNeill, A., Iringe-Koko, B., Bains, M., Bauld, L., Siggens, G. & Russell, A. Countering the demand for, and supply of, illicit tobacco: an assessment of the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Beer Health Programme. Tobacco Control, 2013. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-050957. 13. Tobacco Control Survey, England 2013/14: A report of council trading standards service activity. Trading Standards Institute, Basildon, Essex, 2014. 14. National Centre for Social Research and National Foundation for Educational Research, Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], February 2008. SN: 5789 , hp:// September 2009. SN: 6287, hp://, October 2011. SN: 6883, hp://, October 2013. SN: 7393 , hp://dx.doi. org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-7393-1. 15. Mustard; no date available from hp:// uploads/2013/08/8353_TSNW-Young-Persons-Alcohol-Tobacco-Report_130605_ V3.pdf 16. Health and Social Care Information Centre, Lifestyle Statistics. Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2013. National Statistics publication, 2013.

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Living in

HOPE Words. Roland Curtis

a broken nation? In a bid to find out, the Beer Regulation Delivery Office’s Graham Russell travelled to Liberia as part of its international mission to enrich life for its businesses and people

A savage and protracted civil war, which claimed an estimated 250,000 lives and displaced many thousands more, has gouged deep scars in Liberia – both in its social fabric and its infrastructure. In a country of little more than 4.4 million people, everyone knows someone who was killed or suffered.


Can regulation help to mend

Child soldiers, blood diamonds, and lurid reports of cannibalism – the savagery of the conflict has left a legacy of bad memories and little confidence in the state. The challenges facing Liberia are huge, but there is hope. The UK’s Department for International Development has 25 key partner countries with which it works, including Liberia. The Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO), along with other government departments, was asked to respond to opportunities to work with, and help, these nations. On touchdown at Roberts International Airport, first impressions of Liberia are of a mass of jungle and mangrove, some burned-out buildings, and soldiers with guns. In a country with little infrastructure, the runway at Roberts stands out. Built by the US military for its bombers during World War II, it is long – 3,400m – and was once identified as an alternative, emergency-landing site for the Space Shuttle. It’s hot and it’s humid, and it takes more than an hour to reach the capital, Monrovia, 35 miles away – and not just because of traffic congestion. The city is surrounded

February 2015

TSR feb15 pp33-35 Liberia.indd 33

33 16/01/2015 13:50

Years of civil war have le the people of Liberia with no trust in the state – and now they have to deal with the threat of Ebola

Germany – being sold from a container. The local inspector focused on whether the business was registered and whether its certificate was displayed, but failed to pick up that the generator powering the chiller unit was not working, and the chicken legs were no longer frozen!


‘Retail premises could expect up to seven visits by miles of makeshift shanty towns and dense bush,

per day, each lasting just long enough for the inspector

and – in the centre – there are a handful of international

to take some form of payment. On a journey from the

hotels, plus three or four taller buildings.

border to the interior, a vehicle might be stopped as

The basics we take for granted in the west – electricity, clean water and sanitation – no longer operate here. Security in the capital is OK, during the day at least.

Driving reform

many as 24 times. It was not unknown for goods lorries to arrive empty.’ Inspectors may have an extended family of up to 30 people to support, and inspections are seen as self-financing. In rural areas where the population is

BRDO’s work with the World Bank Group Investment

sparse, inspectors have to deal with everything from civil

Climate reform programme has involved three visits to

contingency and basic delivery of government services,

Liberia in the past two years, to investigate ways of using

to carrying out inspections – with the added challenge of

regulation to drive reform.

there being no money.

The task – mainly in liaison with the Ministry of

At least they have jobs; there is little formal

Commerce and Industry – has taken two strands. First,

employment outside of what the state provides. There are

to encourage central government on using regulation

few major firms in the country, most having been driven

to drive prioritisation and identification of key issues,

out by the civil war. Against this backdrop, has BRDO

such as: protection for consumers; helping businesses to

had any impact? ‘At least now there are no internal

grow; and raising confidence/reducing barriers to trade.

checkpoints, and retail premises are only inspected once

Second, to work with front-line inspectors on their skills.

per quarter,’ says Russell.

Graham Russell, BRDO’s chief executive, says: ‘The

The urge to help – to improve the lot of those less

ministry has around 160 inspectors focusing on consumer

fortunate – has not been confined to official business.

protection and price stability. We have been training

Through a connection with a local church, which goes

them to prioritise, focus on risk assessment, encourage

back 30 years, Russell and his team at BRDO have

compliance and transparency, and to create a checklist of

made their own, small contribution to the greater good.

information for businesses.

In March 2014, 20 BRDO staff took part in a Walk to Work

‘I accompanied an inspection, at a massive outdoor market, to see frozen chicken legs – imported from

34 TSR feb15 pp33-35 Liberia.indd 34

Day, and raised £2,200 towards the purchase of a truck to provide transport for a small community in Liberia.

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:55

ON A JOURNEY FROM THE BORDER TO THE INTERIOR, A VEHICLE MIGHT BE STOPPED AS MANY AS 24 TIMES. IT WAS NOT UNKNOWN FOR GOODS LORRIES TO ARRIVE EMPTY Confidence and capacity Then came Ebola. A disease that had been relatively well contained in the past has taken hold in west Africa, with Liberia bearing the brunt: 40 per cent of all deaths in the


The World Health Organisation is warning that there could be 10,000 new cases a week by January unless aid is drastically increased. ‘Pre-Ebola there were signs of progress,’ says Russell. ‘It’s always two steps forward and one step back in Liberia, but progress of any sort is good. ‘The irony is that, before Ebola, there were too many inspectors, sometimes falling over each other at premises.


The Beer Regulation Delivery Office provides externally funded technical assistance to overseas countries seeking to improve their environment for business and stimulate trade and investment. Through practical tools and guidance, interactive workshops, and training, it helps governments, regulators and businesses to ensure regulations cover the things that maer and are enforced in a fair, transparent and consistent way. At the moment, it assists 30 countries worldwide.

current Ebola outbreak have taken place here.

Now, there are not enough to ensure quarantine controls. ‘Getting foreign, direct investment is a major challenge. Ebola has damaged the hard-won stability over the past 10 years. Ebola has damaged networks and eroded capacity further – and, of course, it has done nothing for confidence. ‘Confidence and capacity are the two big issues in Liberia if business groups are weak. There is little equality in civil society – there’s a whole generation with no formal education, thanks to the war. Fractures run deep in a society where everyone knows someone who was killed, and also knows who killed them. People Author: Roland Curtis is programme support officer at the Beer Regulation Delivery Office.

have no confidence in each other, in government or in international institutions. ‘If we believe regulation has a purpose – and I do – it should be part of the solution. Regulation should support the outcomes that matter in Liberia as much as in the UK. ‘Our experience of delivering regulation in the UK – and understanding the value of better regulation – is being used to meet challenges around the world.’

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16/01/2015 13:50

As the first-ever intellectual

MR RIGHT S property adviser to the Prime Minister, Mike Weatherley has laid the foundations

for protecting the creative

industries in the internet age but, he says, there is much

more to be done

Words. Carina Bailey Images. Richard Ecclestone


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Mike Weatherley considers himself an average person from an ordinary background; he is the son of a community nurse and an accountant, and is himself a chartered management accountant. But from those relatively humble beginnings he has risen to become the man who has shaped the course of history for intellectual property (IP) rights in the UK – and beyond. Appointed in 2013 as the first IP adviser to the Prime Minister in parliamentary history, he has written three solid reports on IP rights – with a fourth on the way. These are already influencing policy in such far flung places as Hong Kong and the US, and they inform the debate into how creators’ works are protected in the UK.

Weatherley says he was first attracted to politics at

Weatherley says: ‘Quite frankly, if I said I used to work

university after being irritated by a ‘very militant left-

in intellectual property they had no idea what that was.

wing student union’ and the price of a cheese roll in the

If I said copyright, they got it.’

canteen, but worked in the music and film industries

The UK was trying to tackle the issues before he got

before entering parliament as Conservative MP for Hove

the bit between his teeth, he says, but even the Hargreaves

and Portslade.

report – an independent study by Professor Ian

His early working life means he is naturally passionate about IP rights, which is why he was so

Hargreaves examining IP and the opportunities in digital – was, to some extent, abandoning a lot of IP rights.

dismayed to learn, when he first joined parliament, just

‘I felt he was giving these rights away unilaterally

how far backwards the country had travelled in terms of

without gaining any concessions back – just as a kind of

attitudes to IP.

half-hearted sop to those who were complaining about

‘Back then, IP rights were something I took for granted,’ says Weatherley. ‘I thought that people understood the importance of protecting creators’ works. ‘But it became clear to me that a lot of people didn’t

IP rights and trying to keep them quiet. At least, that was my impression.’ After three years of helping to ‘put the brakes on’ the erosion of IP rights by launching two competitions

agree with that. They thought that by restricting access

– Rock the House and Film the House – at the Houses of

to someone’s works or inventions you were actually

Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron rewarded

hindering the economy.’

Weatherley by appointing him as parliament’s first

At the beginning of his term, Weatherley says the general consensus was that the internet was too big, too

adviser on IP. But life at Westminster hasn’t all been plain sailing.

vast, and that people didn’t understand it and felt nothing

With the appointment came suspicion and resentment;

could be done about it.

some in government considered the role to be in

So he has taken it upon himself to try to educate both

competition with the IP minister, but Weatherley just

legislators and MPs. But it has been an uphill battle, with

doesn’t see it that way – particularly considering there

few MPs – let alone the ordinary man or woman in the

have been eight IP ministers in as many years.

street – understanding the meaning of IP.

38 TSR Feb15 pp36-39 Mike Weatherley.indd 38

‘When the PM created this role, I saw it as a way to

February 2015

16/01/2015 13:52

Mike Weatherley’s steps to beating piracy: 1. Education – win the public’s hearts and minds 2. Carrot – industry has to change some of its models. The Spotifys of this world are a good example of changing to a rented library system. People no longer want to buy CDs, they want to rent a library of tracks for less than the full price of an album each time 3. Stick – used as a last resort. The money should be taken away from illegal websites, some should be closed down and ISPs blocked

to be introduced by government; we do need the IPO to take these [issues in the reports] on board and we do need international cooperation.’ Weatherley is a staunch supporter of trading standards’ work in the IP arena, describing the profession as ‘one of the great organisations of the country’. He even suggested to The Review that the IPO’s responsibility for intelligence be given over to the profession on an official basis. And, if more national coordination were to be investigated and introduced within trading standards, it is Weatherley’s firm belief that any such national body would become a world leader. ‘Some of your regional officers are fantastic,’ says

cut through all the various departments and challenge

Weatherley. ‘They really know their stuff and they’re

things,’ he says.

really enthusiastic. But they’re kind of isolated in their

His first three reports in 2014 focused on search

own little area. Having a beefed-up central unit that uses

engines, tackling advertising revenues (currently being

some of this excellence from all these areas may be the

followed up by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)),

best way forward – and that’s something that needs to be

and education. His fourth – expected to be published in


mid-February – will make recommendations on safe harbours and internet service providers (ISPs). Sadly, the Conservative party has already ruled out the creation of an IP tsar, despite Weatherley believing the role is crucial if the IP industry is to be protected. ‘We’ve lost the argument with the average person in the street; they don’t think downloading a song for free is

He adds: ‘Trading standards is an undervalued jewel in society. If I had my way, government would instruct local authorities to ring-fence a certain proportion of funding for trading standards. I think it’s that important. ‘If I’ve had one failure as an MP, it’s that I haven’t been able to persuade the government to do this.’ After a fruitful five years in post – and a successful

a bad thing,’ he says. ‘We need to win back the hearts and

battle against oesophageal cancer, which very nearly

minds of the public.

killed him – Weatherley has decided not to stand for

‘There are a lot of initiatives out there already. The film and music industry do some; IPO do some; but nothing is coordinated and it’s just scratching the surface. ‘What I want to do is put all those scratches together

re-election this year, but to go back into business, working in the music and film industry once again. Despite his own disappointment at not achieving more for trading standards’ cause, Weatherley says:

and start making a gouge, if you like, to get right into

‘I think we have genuinely changed the IP direction of

the minds of people so they say: “I understand why it’s

this country, and I think we’re in a good place to take it

wrong” and I want teenagers to say to other teenagers,

forward. We haven’t solved anything yet, but we’re in the

“You know what, you’re destroying the industry by doing

right place. When we have this discussion in three years’

that. Don’t do it. You could go and buy it for 50p”.

time, I think a lot of my recommendations will have been

‘I genuinely think we can win [the IP fight] with the right will behind it, but we do need an IP director-general

February 2015

TSR Feb15 pp36-39 Mike Weatherley.indd 39



implemented. We’ll be on the right road and we’ll be winning the battle against piracy.’

39 16/01/2015 13:53

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15/01/2015 12:57


PROFESSIONALDEVELOPMENTWITHTSREVIEW Members of TSI and other professional bodies are required to maintain their professional competence throughout their careers. Continuing Personal Professional Development (CPPD) means the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of your knowledge and skills, and is therefore a long-term commitment to enhancing your competence. CPPD is a requirement of TSI. TS Review is pleased to offer this free CPPD module in each issue. Simply study the module and complete the questionnaire on the final page, following the instructions for its submission. 

Food Information Regulations


If you have any questions, please email

Words. David Pickering Images. Gey

This first article examines food information for consumers

The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 were revoked on 13 December 2014 by The Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIRs). As with most of the UK’s legislation, the domestic FIRs do not contain much detail about the provisions relating to food information for consumers. Instead, the detailed requirements are contained in European Union (EU) legislation – in this case, a directly applicable regulation, the Provision of Food Information to Consumers 1169/2011 (FICs). The FIRs contain the enforcement, offences and penalty provisions – as well as derogated requirements – relating to labelling for pre-packed food for direct sale and how allergen information can be given to consumers by catering establishments, among other things. The FICs have been in force since November 2011 and had a transition period ending on 13 December 2014. As such, any food placed on the market or labelled after 13 December 2014 must comply with those requirements. Products placed on the market before 13 December 2014 are still allowed to be sold, regardless of how long this takes. Some products – such as frozen, dried and canned items – have a long shelf life, and may well remain on the shelves

February 2015

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41 15/01/2015 12:57


for several years. The Food Standards and Labelling Focus Group has produced guidance for officers on requests for use of non-compliant labels after this date, as it is anticipated that, for various reasons, some businesses will face this situation. This guidance is available on the Knowledge Hub. There are some notable exceptions to this enabling date. The rules on the composition and labelling of minced meat came into force on 1 January 2014, while those for the mandatory nutrition declaration, required for most pre-packed foods, will come into force on 13 December 2016. If nutrition information had previously been provided – either


on a voluntary basis or under previous regulations – the declaration will have to follow the new format set out in the FICs from 13 December 2014. Provisions deriving from the FICs on indicating the country of origin for certain meats will come into force on 1 April 2015, and rules on the composition of cheese and terms describing drinks with less than 1.2 per cent alcohol will be revoked on 13 December 2018. The main provisions relating to most of the requirements for food information remain unaltered. The headline changes brought about by the FICs are: • Mandatory information must take priority over non-mandatory information, such as marketing • Allergen information will need to be provided for pre-packed and non-pre-packed (and pre-packed for direct sale) food • New rules for date of first freezing have been introduced for frozen foods • Products with the appearance of a cut, joint, fillet or slice, that have more than five per cent added water, will need to indicate this with the name of the food • Minced meat will have to meet the requirements of Annex VI Part B of the Regulations – but note, there is

The FICs have brought in new rules for date of first freezing

is accurate and must not supply food that they know,

a UK derogation

or presume to be, non-compliant with the law

• There is a minimum font size for mandatory information and for voluntary repeat (‘front of pack’)

• Article 8.8 states that FBOs supplying other FBOs with goods that are not intended for the final

nutrition labelling, and both will have to follow

consumer or mass caterers should ensure sufficient

set formats

information is provided, so that businesses further

• Existing national measures on the composition of ice-cream will be revoked

along the supply chain can provide accurate labelling

• Under Article 8 (1) of EU FIC, the food business

• FBOs may modify the information given and are responsible for the accuracy of changes that they

operator (FBO) under whose name the food

make. This enables, among other things, FBOs

is marketed is primarily responsible for the

to freeze a product if it is appropriate to do so.

food information

An FBO freezing a product needs to indicate the

• Every other FBO in the food supply chain also has

new durability date, and give the appropriate

to take responsibility for ensuring that the information

conditions of use and storage instructions

42 TSR feb15 pp40-45 CPPD.indd 42

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:58





The FIRs provide a derogation relating to minced meat (Regulation 4) in that minced meat not complying with the EU compositional requirements can be sold in the UK – provided



it is labelled with the national mark specified in Schedule 2. The FIRs also provide that the requirements to give allergen information for non-pre-packed food can be given orally, rather than in writing (Regulation 5). Food that is non-pre-packed and pre-packed for direct sale still needs to be labelled with the name of the food (Regulation 6). For the same foods, a meat content – as required by the Quantitative Indication of Ingredients (QUID provisions) – will need to be indicated (Regulation 7). It is an offence not to comply with the FiC allergen provision (Regulation 10). However, one of the fundamental

February 2015

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43 15/01/2015 12:58


changes brought in by the FIRs relates to the method


of achieving compliance through Food Information


Improvement Notices (FIRINs) rather than creating offences for other non-compliances (Regulation 12 and Schedule 5 and s10 Food Safety Act). This is a new approach for food standards work and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be offering training on how this should work. The underlying message, though, is that a FIRIN is the end of a process of attempting to work with an FBO to achieve compliance, and not a first step in the enforcement regime.


There is an appeal process for FIRINs that is another unknown for food standards; in England, the appeal will be heard by the First-tier Tribunal, but – in Wales and Northern Ireland – it will still be heard via the magistrates’ court. The issuing of a FIRIN will also be an enforcement action for the purposes of the Primary Authority Partnership, so the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) process will need to be engaged if there is disagreement. Overall, the FIRs and FICs bring in some fundamental changes to how we will engage in food standards work. The Knowledge Hub will be a good area for discussion, and I would encourage officers to exchange ideas and experiences.

David Pickering is TSI’s lead officer for food and nutrition.

Boost your personal and professional development by completing this short questionnaire – worth one hour of CPPD – by answering the questions listed below at

1. Can catering establishments give allergen information on their menus? 2. Do the FIRs create an offence for selling food past the use-by date? 3. Is this statement true: ‘An improvement notice must be issued as soon as an offence is suspected.’ 4. If food is found on sale aer 13 December 2014 with a non-compliant label, should an improvement notice be given? 5. Can voluntary front-of-pack nutrition information be given in a format decided by the packer? 6. Is it an offence to not give the true name of the food in information provided to consumers? 7. Does a supermarket have the same liability for incorrect labels as the food manufacturer, under whose name the food is marketed?

Composition of ice-cream measures have been revoked

44 TSR feb15 pp40-45 CPPD.indd 44

8. Do suppliers have to supply allergen information to catering establishments if it is part of their secret recipe? Applicants who complete the module successfully will be given a certificate. The test must be taken before 23 April 2015.

February 2015

16/01/2015 13:55

corporate affiliate member

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16/01/2015 14:05

STARTING The way trading

standards is delivered by local authorities

From the Bar

has to change

Trading standards delivers services to ensure that the market operates fairly for consumers and businesses alike. These services are all the more important in times of recession and austerity, because desperation leads to an increase in consumers searching for bargains, the number of rogue traders rises, legitimate traders cut corners to save costs, and more consumers seek the services of unscrupulous moneylenders. Yet, because these activities are 100 per cent revenue funded, the austerity measures implemented by government result in local authorities cutting trading standards budgets drastically. In fact, the recent Workforce Survey estimated that, from 2010 to 2016, trading standards services in England and Wales will have been cut by an average of 40 per cent. If the situation is allowed to continue, the cuts will lead to further job losses and a fall in the levels of vital activities undertaken – from carrying out inspections and testing, to investigating and prosecuting businesses that are breaking the law. The approach needs to change. The traditional

46 TSR feb15 pp46-49 Legal.indd 46

16/01/2015 13:57

Words. Katy Lloyd and Tom Williams Image. Shuerstock

model – whereby each of the 163 trading standards bodies in England and Wales provide all of their services in-house – is unsustainable. Local authorities must look at the alternatives; these must ensure efficiency and quality, while protecting jobs

From the Bar


and gaining the trust of the public. Here we outline and analyse three of the available alternatives.

Outsourcing Outsourcing involves local authorities entering into contracts with private companies to provide the services that are offered in-house under the traditional model. These could range from relatively small contracts to provide IT support, testing facilities or investigatory services, to large-scale contracts that cover the whole range of trading standards services. If a local authority wishes to seek offers for public supply or works contracts under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, there must be a competitive

47 TSR feb15 pp46-49 Legal.indd 47

16/01/2015 13:57

whether private, profit-making companies will


command confidence from the public when they are performing watchdog functions – which voters believe their democratically elected representatives should do. The ethos and objectives of councils and private companies are, after all, substantially different. The greatest concern with outsourcing is: ‘What will happen in the future?’ The mechanics of the tendering process narrow the market and may lead to financial problems when the initial contracts expire. Given the dire financial landscape, it is likely that the initial bidding process will be a race to the bottom, allowing the bidder that offers the cheapest contract to succeed, with little regard for the quality of service they are able to provide. Once an agreement is secured, it will often be 10 or more years before the contract is up for tender again – by which time, there is every chance the initial successful bidder will have gained a monopoly. As a result, there may be no competitor to turn to, and the bidder will

From the Bar

have free rein to set the price of the renewed contract, tendering process, in which private companies bid

regardless of the quality of service they have provided

for the contract(s). Given that expenditure concerns

over the life of the previous contract.

have brought about the need for a different delivery approach, it is likely that value will be the principal way


to distinguish one bid from another.

An alternative cost-saving avenue is collaboration

North Tyneside Council was the first to sign a contract

between two or more local authorities. Collaboration is a

of this type. In 2012 it entered into a strategic partnership

very broad term, used to describe a number of situations.

with ‘business services partner’ Capita Symonds. The

There is no common list of collaborative models; they

15-year contract is worth £152m and, as part of the deal,

can include informal information sharing, secondment of

390 members of staff were transferred from the council to

employees, shared directors, delegation by one authority

Capita Symonds. Barnet Council followed suit in October

to another, or formal joint ventures.

2013, opting to enter into a 10-year contract worth £154m, also with Capita Symonds. However, outsourcing is not without its difficulties.

Formal joint ventures are the most complicated of the collaboration techniques. They require one council to be the lead authority, host the service and receive the staff

Trading standards representatives carry out a function

of the other authority under the Transfer of Undertakings

that affects individual liberty and, on a practical level,

(Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981.

they need right of entry to gain access to business

Financially, collaborative models are attractive.

properties. To do this, they must – under the Deregulation

When Somerset County Council joined with Devon

and Contracting Out Act 1994 – remain employees of the

County Council to provide a combined trading standards

local authority.

service in 2013, it was anticipated that £579,000 would

North Tyneside circumvented this by seconding

be saved over the next three years. Although the full

their employees to Capita; in this particular case, trading

extent of the savings has yet to be revealed, Devon and

standards was part of a much larger package between

Somerset Trading Standards is seemingly successful.

the parties, making secondment a more financially viable

Despite the potential savings, there are disadvantages

option. It is worth considering that, if outsourcing is

to be considered. The streamlined nature of collaboration

entirely successful, there will be no in-house employees

means that jobs will, almost certainly, be lost. The

with the requisite experience to send on secondment.

joining of two authorities will also result in some loss

There is also a more general concern about

48 TSR feb15 pp46-49 Legal.indd 48

of control and flexibility for each – decisions have to be

February 2015

15/01/2015 12:59

taken together and, unless both are consistently prepared to compromise, the relationship may be short-lived. It is also vital that the authorities obtain specialist legal advice to ensure agreements are lawful. With the





exception of informal agreements, collaborative methods require the parties to enter into a contract. In doing so, the parties must ensure they comply with consultation rules and do not fall foul of the Public Contracts Regulations, which require a competitive tendering process whenever public supply or works are involved.

Commercialisation: mutuals The most politically charged of the options available is the mutual model. Considered at length by Paul Connolly in his Consumer Focus paper, Hard times or our mutual friend? (June 2011), the model would further the Conservative Party’s desire for a ‘Big Society’ approach. The term ‘mutual’ is shorthand for ‘mutual organisation’ – a business that is set up by a group of external shareholders. A mutual looks to raise funds from its membership and/or customers that can then be used to provide

mutual models, providing them with direction and a central body to manage the allocation of funding. Evidence suggests that the advantages of the

common benefits to all members of the organisation.

mutual model are numerous. Businesses conducted

The John Lewis Partnership remains the best-known

under this model are often high performing, because

British example of an employee-owned mutual, where all

employees play a large role in the running of the

employees benefit from the year-end dividend.

company, which increases their motivation and ensures

To make this a reality for trading standards, there are two possible models that could, under the supervision

decisions are aimed at the long-term sustainability of the business.

of TSI, be adopted. The first is a single incorporated

Despite this, it seems that – in the current financial

body, which would coordinate any centrally funded

climate – local authorities are yet to be convinced that the

resources. It would be well placed to tackle complex,

benefits outweigh the risks. Unlike the alternative models

national problems and those extending overseas. Local

suggested in this article, mutuals have not been put

government would pay for its services, which would

into practice within the trading standards arena. This is

discharge their statutory obligations.

probably because it would involve a nationwide overhaul

The second option is a confederation of mutuals. This would knit together a national network of localised

From the Bar

members, who then own that business. There are no

of trading standards provision, with the associated legal considerations and, undoubtedly, large set-up costs.

Conclusion The functions that trading standards performs are of


substantial public importance and should not be allowed to disintegrate. Retaining the in-house model is unlikely to be effective; outsourcing, partnering with another local authority, or moving to a mutual model are all ways to ensure that trading standards departments are equipped to meet the increasingly complex cases they investigate.

Katy Lloyd and Tom Williams are both pupils at QEB Hollis Whiteman.

49 15/01/2015 12:59


Can you name all five ‘new faces’ who were invited to join the College of Fellows in 2014?

2 Who said: ‘We need to start


sharing information, which really did not happen during horsegate’?

Win £25! Pit your wits against your peers in our first TS Review quiz, to

find out how much of TS Today you have digested. Submit your answers by email* and you could win £25 in M&S vouchers!


Who won TSI’s Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders video competition during National Consumer Week?


NAMETHATLAW What new law is expected to give you: • The right to get what you pay for • The right that goods and digital content you buy are fit for purpose, and that services are provided with reasonable care and skill • The right to have product faults corrected free of charge, or to be provided with a refund or a replacement • A simplification of enforcement powers

5 Which website, launched in October, provides companies with guidance on trading standards law? *To submit your answers, email Please remember to include your full name and a postal address to be in with a chance of winning. Answers relate to the November 2014, December 2014 and January 2015 issues of TS Today, which can be found via


Picture credits: Cover and page 18: R_lion_O / Shuerstock. Page 10: Swellphotography / Shuerstock. Page 11: All Shuerstock: Doodle / Alesandro14 / Elena Medvedeva / Oksana Alekseeva / Nikiteev Konstantin. Page 12: Saul Loeb / Gey. Page 13: Jeremy Suon-Hibbert / Gey. Page 24: jauhari1 / Gey. Page 26: Evening Standard / Gey. Page 28: StepanPopov / Shuerstock. Page 32: Milk & Honey Creative / Gey. Page 42 and 44: Sorbeo / Gey. Page 46: Crystal Eye Studio / Shuerstock. Page 50: Wetcake Studio / Gey. Macrovector / Shuerstock. bioraven / Shuerstock.

TSR feb15 pp50-52.indd 50

15/01/2015 13:00 Business Companion - a new information resource for business. This government sponsored information website provides free impartial legal guidance to help business owners untangle what is sometimes a complicated and confusing world of trading standards and consumer protection legislation. Designed to offer a basic understanding of how the law views businesses that sell goods and or services to consumers. Quick guides provide the answers and direct you to more in-depth and specific guidance that delivers the detail.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson says TSI’s new Business Companion website will provide an invaluable free and easy to use resource to help companies remain compliant - that’s not only good for business but reassuring for consumers too.

Visit Business Companion today for quick and easy legal guidance to help your business keep on top of laws and remain compliant.

A blended learning solution for the Trading Standards Qualification Framework. A tutor-led online learning programme combined with classroom training days and telephone tutorials. Providing structured and comprehensive courses for trading standard professional CSCATS and DCATS qualifications. tsi academy isn’t just for the profession! It is also suitable for those working in legal compliance within the private sector, or those looking to enter the profession. tsi academy offers a flexible route for businesses to understand the complexity of contract law and ensure legal compliance in vital areas. These include food labelling, product safety, intellectual property, fair trading as well as consumer and business protection rights.

Complete learning for the trading standards profession


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The 24 hour easy access offers a flexible, tailor-made study plan to suit individual needs.

Courses available for 2015 include

CSCATS Legal systems Law of contract Consumer protection environment

DCATS Product safety Fair trading criminal Intellectual property Legal metrology law Legal metrology technology

For further information including a demo visit email: or Tel 01268 886697

15/01/2015 13:00

Consumer AffAirs & TrAding sTAndArds ConferenCe and exhibition 2015

the leadIng Consumer affaIrs and tradIng standards event In europe

learn, partICIpate, network the tsI Conference is the perfect place to share strategies, tips and successes. learn about exciting developments within your field and explore best practice. • have your say in topical plenary debates • be inspired by our motivating mini-theatre events • establish links with like minded individuals and influential organisations

Bournemouth InternatIonal Centre 29 June 2 July 2015

with over 100 exhibitors and 45 informative mini-theatre sessions this is a premier event not to be missed! Join over 1500 delegates from the worlds of consumer affairs, business and government. for further details please visit:

here is a selection of our confirmed speakers and facilitators for our 2015 Conference: conference2015







Councillor Sophie Linden Councillor sophie linden is the deputy leader for hackney Council and a member of the local government association’s safer and stronger Communities board.

matt allwright is a presenter for BBC1 ‘rogue traders’ and an enthusiastic consumer champion.

Gillian Guy – Citizens Advice gillian guy is the chief executive of Citizens advice which is on the frontline for consumer concerns and is a key partner of the trading standards profession.

Speakers Sharon Wright entrepreneur sharon wright was catapulted into the spotlight when her ‘magnamole’ invention impressed business experts on BBC’s ‘dragon’s den’. with an extensive background in business, wright understands the essential components to corporate success.

official sponsors

Professor John Raine an academic member of staff at the Institute of local government studies since 1979, prof. raine has a focused interest on public governance, especially in relation to criminal justice.

Louise Baxter – CEA and NTSB louise Baxter is the manager for the national trading standards scams team, and chair for the Consumer empowerment alliance. David Travers QC – 6 Pump Court a leading barrister for consumer law, environmental law and health and safety, david travers QC has been described by the legal 500 as ‘charming – in a terrier like fashion.’

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TS Review magazine for Trading Standards  

The Trading Standards Journal Trading Standards Institute

TS Review magazine for Trading Standards  

The Trading Standards Journal Trading Standards Institute