Birmingham City Council wins MJ Award for stopping Loan Sharks
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (England IMLT) hosted by Birmingham City Council has been awarded the national trading standards and environmental health MJ Award, sponsored by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), for the life-changing and innovative work it is carrying out to stop loan sharks across England.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team works in partnership with local trading standards authorities and receives funding from the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB). It has specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders. It has secured over 235 prosecutions and has written off £40.3 million of illegal debt since it was piloted in 2004.
As well as investigating and prosecuting loan sharks, the England IMLT also helps to support communities and victims. Through the use of proceeds of crime confiscated money, from convicted loan sharks, goes back into the community through local awareness campaigns, that is voted for and chosen by that community.
On the 10th anniversary of The MJ Awards, and hosted by BBC Radio 4 Today presenter Justin Webb, the England illegal money lending team was recognised for creating an innovative project which improved the quality of those living and working in the community.
Jacqui Kennedy, Director of Regulation and Enforcement atBirmingham City Council said: "We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award and we are really grateful to the Trading Standards Institute and Charted Institute of Environmental Health for this recognition. This award is for all trading standards services across England as our achievements truly are a team effort.
"This award also means a lot to Birmingham City Council as this innovative model of a lead local authority hosting a national team is a real option as funds become scarcer and scarcer, this approach truly delivers results at an individual, neighbourhood, town/city, regional and national level."
Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards Board said: “We are delighted to see one of our NTSB funded projects, the England Illegal Money Lending Team, rewarded with this national award. They deserve recognition for the life-changing work they are doing bringing loan sharks to justice and supporting their victims. In England we would urge anyone, who knows of a loan shark or has borrowed money from one, to speak to the team on 0300 555 2222 so they can take action."
Leon Livermore, the Trading Standards Institute chief executive said: "Congratulations to the IMLT and Birmingham City Council on achieving this award. Loan sharks can damage communities and devastate lives, it is high time the hard work of those fighting against illegal money lending gets the recognition it deserves."
Graham Jukes, chief executive of CIEH, who presented the award at The MJ event said: "Jacqui and her team are outstanding winners of this joint award and her team have demonstrated true cross organisational working to achieve some fantastic results in improving the lives of people on the ground. We offer them very many congratulations."
Notes for Editors:
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Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.
The MJ The MJ is the UK’s leading weekly magazine for council chief executives and their teams of decision-makers in local authorities and allied sectors. It offers an insiders’ view of what’s going on and what people are thinking in today’s ever changing and challenging world of local politics – the latest news, incisive comment in-depth features and interviews, business analysis and the top recruitment vacancies.
Charted Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is a registered charity and the professional voice for environmental health. It sets standards, accredits courses and qualifications for the education of members and other EHPs of members and other environmental health practitioners.
It provides information, evidence and policy advice to local and national government and environmental and public health practitioners in the public and private sectors. As an awarding body, the CIEH provides CIEH qualifications, events, and support materials on topics relevant to health, wellbeing and safety to develop workplace skills and best practice.
National Trading Standards Board (NTSB)
NTSB is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards. NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally. The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
DATE: 26 June 2013