News item

Double success for trading standards at national awards

An animal-friendly trading standards service has won a top prize in a pioneering new awards scheme run by the RSPCA.

Somerset County Council's trading standards service was named a winner in the RSPCA's new Innovator Awards, which form part of the society's Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme.

And there was double cause for trading standards to celebrate after an officer from the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) was selected to be one of three judges for the awards.

Jeremy Adams, TSI lead officer for animal health and welfare, was chosen to sit on the judging panel alongside Bob Mayho, principal policy officer at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), and the University of Aberdeen's Mike Radford.

The awards are for local authorities and housing providers that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in protecting animal welfare.

Following a unanimous decision by the judges, the Somerset team claimed the County and Unitary Council Innovator Award in recognition of the free advice clinics for farmers it has pioneered in partnership with local livestock markets.

Judges praised the authority for creating a template for other councils that will help reduce the need for enforcement action involving farm animals.

Eirian Williams, team leader for animal health and welfare at Somerset County Council, said he was thrilled his team had won an award.

'Farmers have had to deal with overwhelming changes to key areas of legislation relating to animal welfare, the welfare of animals during transport, animal identification and record keeping, as well as the introduction of pre-movement testing for the control of tuberculosis in cattle,' he said.

'All these changes have a major impact on the welfare of farm animals and Somerset County Council plays a frontline role in addressing the resulting problems.

'In response to these challenges, our team has launched an exciting project which aims to deliver a series of free advice clinics to farmers, dealers, hauliers, agricultural workers and the public at livestock markets across the county.'

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: 'I am delighted that TSI is involved with these awards. This scheme highlights the positive work that is being done in local authorities across the country to secure the health and welfare of animal livestock.

'Jeremy's participation and Somerset County Council's success will encourage more trading standards services to take part in next year's competition.'

Jeremy Adams said: 'I was delighted to be asked to help judge these awards as it shows how TSI and trading standards are valued in the animal welfare world.

'Hopefully, this scheme will act as a catalyst for more innovation and new ways of dealing with animal welfare issues.

'The standard of entries was very good and I was really pleased the Somerset Trading Standards service's initiative won one of the awards.

'All the judges were impressed with the fact that Somerset had identified a problem in their area and had come up with an innovative scheme to address it.'

The RSPCA is confident the Community Animal Welfare Footprints and Innovator Awards will become established as a recognised seal of approval for those local authorities and housing providers pioneering new methods of tackling animal welfare issues.

Piers Claughton, the RSPCA's senior local government advisor, said: 'The aim of the Community Animal Welfare Footprints is to recognise and celebrate those that have made an extra effort and gone beyond their basic service requirements to ensure higher welfare standards in some of the services they provide.'

Notes to Editors

The RSPCA's Innovator Awards are run alongside the voluntary Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme, which rewards local authorities that meet certain requirements with a certificate commemorating their achievement.

Successful local authorities will also be able to use the RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints logo - in gold, silver or bronze - on council publications and their website for the next 12 months.

The other Innovator Award winners were Fylde Borough Council who won the English District and Borough Council Innovator Award, while Cardiff Council and Cardiff Dogs Home scooped the Wales Unitary Authority Innovator title.

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.