News item

Trading Standards Institute looks forward to working with new Citizens Advice consumer helpline

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has welcomed the news that Citizens Advice has chosen its preferred supplier to run the consumer helpline currently provided by Consumer Direct.

The new Citizens Advice consumer helpline, which starts in April 2012, will be delivered by Agilisys. The announcement was made after a rigorous procurement process.

The news is accompanied by a reassurance that the service will continue to work closely with trading standards throughout the country and that if consumers need more in-depth support or intervention, they will be referred to another Citizens Advice service or a specialist partner organisation such as Trading Standards, as they are now.

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of Trading Standards Institute, said: “We are pleased that Citizens Advice has announced its preferred supplier to run the Consumer Direct contract. The service is expected to help resolve around 1.5 million UK consumer problems a year, so this is important news.

“Trading standards and Citizens Advice have always worked hand-in-hand and this announcement is good news to enable us to continue to work closely together in the future.”

Guy Pratt, Chair of The Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO), said: “We are grateful to the Office of Fair Trading for its support to consumers to date in the form of the Consumer Direct service. Trading standards relies on intelligence from the Consumer Direct database and this new consumer helpline is important in the bid to tackle consumer fraud and detriment, whilst enabling us to make the most effective use of scarcer trading standards resources.
”We look forward to giving Citizens Advice and their supplier Agilisys our support in delivering and developing a consumer advice online and telephone service at a time when consumers are both vulnerable and can be confused about their rights.
“This is part of the Government’s plan to simplify the consumer protection landscape and means that Consumer Direct’s advice-giving work will be transferred to Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland in April 2012.
“Consumers need to know where to turn, and that the agency they turn to is one in which they are confident – this new service will benefit from the fact that Citizens Advice is already a household name.”
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: "This is a really important step towards the Citizens Advice service helping to solve 1.5 million new consumer problems each year. We're looking forward to being able to provide our clients with an even richer and wider service. We'll also be able to transfer any consumers who have more complex problems to other Citizens Advice services for in-depth advice, either face-to-face in their local bureau, or, in time, over the phone. "

Citizens Advice Scotland has already appointed Citizens Advice Direct as its contractor to deliver the Scottish arm of the consumer advice service.
Notes for Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 0845 608 9430  or

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.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.