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Prince of Wales awards OBE to committed consumer champion

Thursday 27 January was a momentous occasion for Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, as he received his OBE at Buckingham Palace from HRH The Prince of Wales.

Ron has been a member of TSI for almost 40 years and joined the Institute as its chief executive in February 2002. In more than three decades of service, he has striven to transform the relationship between business and regulators to focus on increasing consumer protection while helping businesses to thrive in the UK.

Under his leadership trading standards has moved from being an isolated service to a key provider of community and consumer protection. Despite public services facing challenging cuts and radical alterations to the consumer protection landscape in 2010, it has not stopped Ron striving to make TSI and the trading standards profession the best they can be. “Trading Standards is very much a force for good; it’s a champion for business and consumers,” said Ron, “in that sense, to be somewhere near the helm has always been a privilege for me.”
Before grasping the opportunity to lead trading standards and the Institute into further successful times, Ron was the assistant director of LACOTS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Trading Standards) – now known as LGR (Local Government Regulation).

In this role he was thrust into national affairs dealing with government, parliament and colleagues across the UK. He is also well versed in European and international collaboration, and has represented UK interests on several European enforcement and influencing groups involving consumer protection counterparts and other professionals from member states, EU institutions and other overseas agencies.

Ron has not only given a lot of time to raising the profile of the trading standards service and influencing government policy, but following neurosurgery in 2003 he has acquired a passion for fundraising for the hospital he owes so much to. He has raised thousands of pounds for the National Hospital Development Foundation from trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas, Patagonia and Ecuador. “This altered my life for the better; it gave me another meaning to life – to help raise funds to support those that do such a great job.”

Ron’s efforts in trading standards earned him his OBE for his services to consumers and business. “It was a huge surprise to me. It’s very humbling and a genuine honour.”

Moving forward, Ron is focusing on TSI achieving Chartered Status. “I think it’s even more important now that we look to achieve Chartered Status because I think it’s going to prove fundamental to the sustainability of trading standards as an identifiable profession.”

Despite the UK being in difficult economic times, Ron is keen to stress the importance of trading standards. “The point we will constantly make is that trading standards is something that’s central to the economic recovery of the country.”

Notes for Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Lizi Piggins at TSI press office on 08456089430 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.