About Trading Standards

Trading standards professionals act on behalf of consumers and business. They advise on and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services.

Trading standards officers (TSOs) work for local councils Cracking down on under-age salesadvising on consumer law, investigating complaints and, if all else fails, prosecuting traders who break the law.

These laws cover a wide area, which includes:

  • consumer safety
  • counterfeit goods
  • product labelling
  • weights and measures
  • under-age sales
  • animal welfare

Some jobs involve all aspects of trading standards work, some specialise in one area. Duties could include:

  • visiting local traders for routine checks or to investigate complaints
  • taking samples of goods for testing
  • checking that weighing scales and measures are accurate
  • checking that food labelling is correct and advertising is not misleading
  • advising consumers and businesses about the law
  • investigating suspected offences, which could include undercover or surveillance work
  • preparing evidence and prosecuting cases in court
  • inevitably, writing reports and keeping records

tackling counterfeit goodsYou can enter the profession directly from school or college with good qualifications or after a suitable university course. See Getting started

Once in the profession there are many opportunities available. With the skills and knowledge you will gain through the professional qualification, you will have the opportunity to work anywhere in the UK, for local and possibly central government and for private sector businesses. Equivalent opportunities also exist within the EU and elsewhere abroad.

A trading standards career is exciting and varied, offering an opportunity to positively affect everybody's health, wealth and welfare. You will help protect the public and honest businesses from rogue traders and illegal practices.

See the careers advice on the GOV website.

TSO Nousha gives an account of one of her working days.

"…Arrive at premises for food standards inspection of records and paperwork. Inspect factory, follow production process from start to finish.
Check product ingredients meet legal specifications…"

Read more about Nousha's day