News item

‘Vote for Cathy’ says Trading Standards Institute

'Vote Cathy' - that's the slogan from the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) as the polling is launched for the prestigious Council Worker of the Year award.

Cathy Inman, who has saved vulnerable residents from losing their life savings to rogue traders, is flying the flag for trading standards services and for Cambridgeshire County Council in the national competition.

The shortlisted nominees are up for the public vote - and TSI is urging trading standards professionals around the country to cast theirs for Cathy, who has been shortlisted for the Leadership category for her work tackling conmen who prey on elderly and vulnerable members of the community.

'Tackling rogues and conmen has, for some years, been at the top of TSI's list of campaigns to protect the public and legitimate business from unscrupulous doorstep callers,' said Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI.

'Cathy's work is a fantastic example of how trading standards services nationwide - and, in her case, in Cambridgeshire - are making a big difference for local communities. She definitely gets my vote - and I hope colleagues around the UK will follow suit.'

People can see a film about Cathy's work for Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards - and register their vote - by clicking on Local Government Channel Awards.

Cathy is a leading member of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Distraction Burglary and Rogue Trader Task Force, a partnership of 30 organisations seen as a model example by other authorities. The Rapid Response team has one of the fastest call-out times in the country.

When it comes to tackling rogue traders, she employs every trick in the book - from playing Christmas carols on her euphonium at an older people's awareness day to helping to set up No Cold Calling Zones in Cambridgeshire and a Registered Traders Scheme for older people.

Cathy heard about an 80-year-old man who had lost £1,000 to doorstep conmen. Even though it was her day off she traced the traders and made them refund the money.

A recent incident, when a quote increased from £3,000 to £7,000 once work started, resulted in Cathy arranging with the police to have the four workmen involved arrested. The elderly householder saved his money and it turned out that three of the men were wanted for other offences around the country.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Sir Peter Brown, Lead Member for Communities, said: 'This is not just about voting for Cathy it is about supporting the tremendous work she and our partners do in protecting those members of the community who often find it hard to stand up for themselves.

'It is showing the rest of the country that Cambridgeshire is a place we are proud of and that these criminals will be not be tolerated. Indeed we have seen massive reductions in crime and it is heartening to know that if an elderly relative or neighbour is threatened Cathy and her colleagues will be there on the drive-way to meet these conmen.

'I hope residents will join with me and take a few moments to vote for Cathy and help show the rest of the country how good Cambridgeshire is.'

Cathy said: 'I don't think I am special - I'm just doing my job. I have brilliant support from the rest of the partners, who I know are all dedicated to try and reduce this type of crime.

'It saddens me to hear some of the cases we deal with of how these conmen threaten elderly residents or steal their life savings for a shoddy job. If it were my parents I would hope someone would be there to help them.

'It is a real honour to be shortlisted for this award, which is recognition of how we are working together in Cambridgeshire to tackle this problem.'

Voting in the competition, run by Local Government Channel in association with the Local Government Association, is open until noon, July 3. You can also see Cathy by tuning into Local Government Today on the Community channel every day at 6.30am either on Sky 539, Virgin 233 or Freeview 87.

Notes to Editors

Call Cathy Inman on 01954 284646 or David Broughton on 01954 284637 or 07788 565535 or Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Sir Peter Brown, Lead Member for Communities, on 01480 411245.

For further political contacts for Environment and Community Services: Liberal Democrat spokesperson Judy Broadway on 01359 244047; Labour spokesperson Elizabeth Hughes on 01223 313764.

Trading Standards Institute

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

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

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

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

Consumer Direct - 08454 04 05 06

Consumer Direct is a Government-backed telephone and online consumer advice service which works in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards. It provides clear, practical and impartial advice and information to help consumers resolve problems and disagreements with suppliers of goods and services. Consumer Direct is available from 0800-1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1300 Saturday, excluding bank and public holidays.

Calls cost a maximum of 4 pence per minute from a BT landline. Calls from mobiles or other networks may vary. Your service provider may charge a minimum cost per call. The advice and information given is free.