News item

Block cold calling scammers – a trading standards initiative wins national award

Three Scottish trading standards authorities have won an award for their joint initiative to protect elderly and vulnerable residents from cold-calling scammers.

East Renfrewshire Council, East Dunbartonshire Council and Angus Council collected the Association for Public Service Excellence's (APSE) Best Public/Public Partnership Working Initiative award on 11 September.
The award follows a series of studies conducted by the councils into call-blocking technology and protecting vulnerable and elderly residents in August 2013. Trading standards officers found that up to 98% of nuisance calls were blocked, which gave residents a greater feeling of safety and control.
As a result, more than 100 local authorities now offer call blocking technology to vulnerable or elderly residents. 
Presented by Dancing on Ice star Maria Filippov after a charity dinner in Nottingham, APSE paid tribute to great public service delivery from frontline local government services.
Paul Holland, the senior trading standards officer at East Renfrewshire Council, who led the East Renfrewshire study, said: “We submitted the application to APSE on behalf of all three councils. It has been a pleasure working in collaboration on this project and witnessing the wide ranging benefits of using call blocking equipment to stop scam and nuisance calls for our most vulnerable residents. 
"Evidence clearly suggested that by stopping the calls we could assist independent living and reduce the risk of financial harm. Over 100 authorities are now involved.” 
The trading standards officers collected the award at the UK Capital FM National Ice Arena, Nottingham, with nine other nominees in their category. 
Picture: L-R Jeff Wilson, East Renfrewshire Council, Kevin Fergusson, East Dunbartonshire Council, Paul Holland, East Renfrewshire Council, Maria Filippov, Ross Paterson (East Dunbartonshire), Eleanor Griffiths, East Renfrewshire Council and Debbie Johns on behalf of sponsors IQ Software Systems. (Brain Smith from Angus Council was unable to attend.) 
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. 
DATE: 25 September 2014