2015 CTSI award winners
Media Hero Award presented to BBC1's consumer champion Matt Allwright
Matt has been awarded the CTSI Media Hero Award for his consistently high level of consumer journalism which has drawn sympathy to consumer victims, attention to scams and helped to bring down rogue traders.
His trademark programme is BBC1's Rogue Traders, which is now in its fifteenth year, but he is also currently presenting Watchdog with his old sparring partner Anne Robinson.
His consumer journalism and engaging manner as a presenter have drawn high viewing numbers to many popular consumer programmes on TV schedules for nearly twenty years, including Scambusters, Brassed off Britain, Rogue Restaurants, Christmas on the Frontline and The Secret Tourist, amongst many others. Other recent BBC projects include You’ve Been Scammed, Fake Britain, Food Inspectors, and The Housing Enforcers, which he co-devised with Two-Four Productions.
Pictured from left to right: Matt Allright, Media Hero Award Winner. Mark McGinty, CTSI chair. Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive.
Former MP receives international acclaim for IP work
Mike Weatherley was presented one of this year's Hero Awards by chief executive Leon Livermore and chair Mark McGinty.
Mike was a tireless Intellectual Property Adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron in the last government, going far beyond his remit as a member of parliament to promote the interests of copyright, intellectual property and trading standards.
Mike's position as the IP adviser to the PM was the first time such a role had existed and in his role Mike produced reports that received international acclaim, and helped secure it future funding for the benefit of trading standards both local and across the country.
Mike has been a determined and passionate advocate for trading standards, using every opportunity in parliament to flag up the impact of falling resources on the ability of the service to enforce the law and support businesses in protecting IP. In the run up to the general election, he personally lobbied Prime Minister David Cameron to include solutions for the service in the Conservative manifesto. He has raised the profile of trading standards and intellectual property dramatically through his regular parliamentary questions and contributions.
Pictured from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive and Mike Weatherley.
Concerned officer protects elderly woman from suspected scam
Jonanne Bannaghan from Cheshire East housing association has received a Hero Award for her role in foiling a suspected scam.
Joanne, a trust link officer for Peaks and Plains Housing Trust, was visiting an elderly woman in June last year when she discovered that a builder was working at the front of the property.
The woman, who lived alone, had been cold called by a man who offered to jet wash her driveway for a reasonable price. But he also convinced her that immediate work was needed to replace roof tiles and improve the damp course, saying he would do it for £25,000.
Concerned by this, Joanne contacted a local builder, who informed her that the work should cost much less.
She took the man’s car registration details and within 24 hours he was arrested and interviewed by police and Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers.
Cheshire East Trading Standards is now prosecuting him for fraud and consumer protection offences and the case is due at court in October.
Pictured from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive and Mike Weatherley.
Consumer champion campaigns against illicit cigarettes in mother's memory
In 2012 Julie's mother, June Buffham, tragically died in a house fire at her home in Spalding. At the inquest, the Lincolnshire Coroner linked her death to illegal Jin Ling cigarettes failing to self-extinguish.
While the Coroner was reassured by the work Lincolnshire trading standards service were doing he highlighted his safety concerns and said he would support any further work regarding these illegal products.
Lincolnshire trading standards looked at their working procedures and considered adding the General Product Safety Regulations offence to their prosecutions. Heavily supported by the management team, they took their first case. Now a landmark, many other services are following their lead investigating and prosecuting in this way.
Whilst undertaking tobacco control work they worked with many partners including the Smokefree Lincs Alliance who asked if Lincolnshire Trading Standards could do more prevention work. Joining forces with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue they decided to produce a video campaign and contacted Julie.
On the campaign launch day Julie had already done nearly an hour's pre-recorded interview with BBC Radio Lincolnshire, two interviews with local news channels and countless newspaper interviews,
Julie was very open and shared her feelings. Since the start of this work Julie and her husband Ed haven’t hesitated to travel to visit Lincoln Fire Headquarters on numerous occasions for filming and meetings.
Many of the officers at Lincolnshire Trading Standards have been deeply inspired by Julie's relentless support, bravery and kindness, supporting and championing our work on tobacco control and in particular on the dangers of illicit cigarettes. Julie is one of this year's worthy Hero Award winners.
Pictured from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive. Julie Grant, Hero Award winner. Mark McGinty, CTSI chairman.
Council worker launches national scam team to protect the vulnerable
During Louise's time working with scams' victims she learnt to her horror about 'suckers' lists of victims, lists that are passed from scammer to scammer. Despite being in the last weeks of her second pregnancy she initiated the National Trading Standards Scams Team to help reach people on those lists.
Since then Lou has driven the National Trading Standards Scams Team to be the success it is today by endlessly campaigning and raising the profile of scam victims and mass marketing fraud with some of the hardest to crack organisations, including many big banks and postal services.
Today the project and the Team have grown with more than 20 national partners who feed their intelligence to the team and target their campaigns around fraud and fraud prevention. Thanks to Lou's persuasion today 151 local authorities - at a time of cut backs and reduced resources – are working with the National Trading Standards Scams Team and supporting scams victims. For this we have presented Lou with a CTSI Hero Award.
Pictured from left to right: Mark McGinty, CTSI chair and Louise Baxter team leader of the National Trading Standards Scams Team.
Community wardens educate companies on scam awareness
During the past 13 years Kent Community Wardens have supported and protected 1.46million residents living in 128 local communities between the hours of 7.30 am and 10 pm seven days a week.
A shining example of the community wardens' outstanding contribution to protect our communities is the successful and innovative partnership with Kent Trading Standards. The wardens have gone above and beyond their role by visiting more than 1,500 scam victims who have been identified on a 'suckers' list.
Working together on the Stop the Scammers project, all 70 wardens and their team leaders have attended training session to ensure a coordinated and sympathetic approach in tackling this problem.
With resident's permission they have contacted banks to stop cheques, and cancelled standing orders and direct debits to scammers. They will also contact family members to inform them and discuss ways ahead, including powers of attorney and mail-redirection. If it is a telephone scam they will install a phone device.
The community wardens work with the police and trading standards officers to provide victims of rogue traders with one-on-one support and advice and help to get quotes to have work re-done by a Kent County Council approved trader.
They are known as 'local heroes' in Kent and now winners of the Nationally recognised CTSI Hero Award.
Pictured from left to right: Mark McGinty, CTSI chairman. Janet Greenroyd and Dawn Riach-Brown, Community Wardens.
NatWest Bank launch new fraud referral policy
A Certificate of Commendation is awarded to NatWest Bank for actively engaging with trading standards across Wales in the past year to educate their staff and customers on doorstep crime and other frauds.
They have worked enthusiastically with trading standards to directly help their customers who are most at risk. Most importantly they have started to implement their own referral policy for safeguarding and fraud prevention.
This partnership working is crucial to protecting consumers from the unscrupulous, and having the bank so involved is both welcomed and valued.
Picture from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive. Paul Colclough and Julie Williams, NatWest Bank. Mark McGinty, CTSI chairman.
Citizens Advice teach local community about cold callers
Ynys Mon Citizens Advice and Anglesey trading standards have built up an excellent working relationship that is based on trust and equality. They work in partnership to identify areas of concern and then explore solutions that trading standards implement.
Examples of partnership work are Scams Awareness Month and National Consumer Week – applying to Citizens Advice to run joint events.
One of their most successful drop-in events was at the Holland Arms Garden Centre during which they spoke to hundreds of people about scams.
They share a stall at the Anglesey Show, the second largest agricultural event in Wales, an event which takes months of planning.
They have worked hard on national events such as National Consumer Week, applying jointly for and gaining funding to enable them to provide education to local communities on how to say “thanks but no thanks” to cold callers.
They attend each other’s worker’s meetings to ensure that local and national trends are identified, making sure complainants are referred quickly and securely to help them obtain the best advice. Alerts to residents regarding cold callers or product recalls are shared with bureau staff to ensure the message reaches as many people as possible. They work hard on social media to share information quickly.
Ynys Mon CAB have been very active across policy and campaigns work within Citizens Advice more generally and their close relationship with their trading standards colleagues locally has been important in their contribution to national campaigns as well as what is demonstrated through their clear local impact. This impressive working partnership has earned them a CTSI Hero Award.
Picture from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive. Jackie Blackwell and Margaret Thomas, Ynys Mon Citizens Advice Bureau. Alison Farrar, Anglesey trading standards.
Superintendent works with trading standards to bring down illegal substances
Superintendent Lee Russell has been the Kent Police lead for the partnership which exists between Kent Police and Kent County Council Trading Standards for more than 15 years and a worthy Certificate of Commendation winner.
Lee’s initial involvement began when Kent County Council, Medway Council and Kent Police sponsored local legislation to address the market in stolen goods and reduce theft and burglary. Lee set about establishing the partnership with trading standards which became very effective and delivered the reductions in acquisitive crime which it set out to achieve.
As his career developed through roles as a Detective Chief Inspector and then District Commander, Lee maintained a keen and active involvement with the Kent Trading Standards service securing the resources and partnership working required to deal with several issues including rogue traders targeting the retired communities of Northeast Kent, suppliers of counterfeit goods across the County and the policing of live animal exports through the Channel Ports.
Lee was instrumental in the introduction of the Kent Community Alcohol Partnership (KCAP).
Lee now holds a strategic leadership role in Kent Police’s Partnerships and Communities Command and most recently worked tirelessly with the trading standards service to tackle the scourge of New Psychoactive Substances in Kent. According to the Angelus Foundation, Kent has the highest concentration of head shops anywhere outside Greater London. In partnership operations, Kent Police and Trading Standards from Kent County Council and Medway Council removed from the market thousands of these products using the General Product Safety Regulations.
Picture from left to right: Mark McGinty, CTSI Chair and Superintendent Lee Russell.
New project uses theatrical plays to educate elderly on scams
The SAFER (Scams and Fraud Education for Residents) Project, part of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, is a trail blazing project funded by the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund to cover both Leeds and Bradford.
It has seen unprecedented success over the past two years and continues to surpass all expectations.
Raising awareness of scams, frauds and doorstep crime amongst older residents and arming them with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves is core to the project, going above and beyond this, the team have made significant inroads in to awareness raising and training in the private and financial sector.
The team have successfully negotiated strategic partnership relationships with, amongst others, West Yorkshire Pharmacies, NatWest, Barclays and the Royal Mail.
The project team have delivered more than 600 workshops, engaging with more than 6,100 of the most vulnerable members of the community, raising community awareness of scams, fraud and doorstep crime. In addition to raising awareness in the community, 1,160 West Yorkshire Police and other partners have been trained.
The Princes Trust team in Dewsbury is the first group to help pilot an intergenerational project around scams and frauds awareness. The team was made up of 10 young people who were unemployed or at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) who, through the team programme, were working towards achieving the Princes Trust Qualification.
The team took part in different workshops run by The SAFER Project with intensive learning about trading standards and how to help older people protect themselves from becoming scam and doorstep crime victims.
Following this The Princes Trust team delivered their own educational workshop to a group of older people from a visually impaired older people’s group in Dewsbury and performed their own drama sketches.
Overall, the commitment and enthusiasm of the Princes Trust Team shone through.
Without taking part in this project which was just as much about personal development for Princes Trust Team members, tackling stereotypes between generations and strengthening community cohesion, the older residents in Dewsbury may not have known how to spot, avoid or report being a scam or doorstep crime victim.
The Feeling Good Theatre Company was founded 15 years ago and is a group of older people based at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Their performances are dedicated to challenging the negative stereotyping that often surrounds the older generation. This is all done on a voluntary basis.
On average the group perform around 14 Doorstep Crime shows a year, usually following requests from trading standards, West Yorkshire Police, local authority housing associations and church groups.
Over the fifteen years, with an average audience size of 30, this equates to more than 6,000 people who have been able to gain a better understanding, of how doorstep criminals work and what they can do as individuals to become safer in their own homes.
In addition to the work they already do the group have also contributed to the work of The SAFER Project by developing sketches with them to highlight other types of scams such as cold calling telephone scams.
Picture from left to right: Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive. Lanson Moore, Carrie Wilson, Rebecca Finch all from the SAFER project. The Feeling Good Theatre company representatives Valerie Dobson and Rita Keeley. Mark McGinty, CTSI chair.