Press releases

130 years of putting business and consumer first

On 9 May 1881 around 30 independent weights and measures inspectors, and a small number of scale manufacturers, came together for the first meeting of the British Association of Inspectors of Weights and Measures in Manchester. At the same time the government, through The Board of Trade, started a qualifying examination for inspectors.

In 1949 the Association changed its name to the Institute of Weights and Measures Administration. It was not long after this that the first Institute examinations took place, as well as the first meeting of the College of Fellows in 1951 – the charitable arm of the Institute.

1972 saw another name change to the Institute of Trading Standards Administration and eventually to the current well known brand name of our professional body, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) in 2000.

The name changes were made to reflect the widening roles and responsibilities of its members, from just weights and measures to the current full range of fair trading, consumer protection, health, environmental and social wellbeing duties.

An example of the crucial role of trading standards, especially in relation to the most vulnerable in society, is in the fight against scams. Scambuster teams were set up throughout the UK to target the hardest to tackle scams and rogue traders that set out to defraud the most vulnerable consumers.

Similarly, trading standards illegal money lending teams were formed across Great Britain in 2007. These teams have written off over £37million of illegal debts and helped over 16,000 victims of loan sharks.

It has always been one of the primary aims of the Institute to ensure uniformity of action and consistency of approach to regulation, as well as ensuring its members remain competent professional officers who enjoy the confidence of consumers, businesses, governments and others alike.

TSI is today an organisation of over 3,000 members in the public, private and third sectors with a major role to play in policy, strategy and operational development, supporting economic growth and consumer confidence and assisting safer and healthier communities and people.

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of TSI, said: ‘What started out as a very small organisation run by honorary officers, has expanded to the organisation and brand that is recognised across the political spectrum, by the consumer and business communities in the UK, The European Union and internationally. TSI is a modern professional body, now petitioning for the Chartered status its history and purpose merits, and a not for profit social enterprise.

‘The Institute will continue to strive to invest in and advocate the special value of a trading standards profession, that is such an integral part of our UK infrastructure and society, and always work towards fairer, better informed and safer consumers and businesses.’

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.