CTSI President the Earl of Lindsay highlights growth of CCAS scheme at Symposium opening
This year's CTSI Symposium opened this morning at Birmingham's Eastside Rooms. CTSI Chair Wendy Potts opened proceedings by welcoming attendees to Birmingham and introducing the speakers and plenary session. Recorded speeches by CTSI President the Earl of Lindsay and Consumer Minister Paul Scully followed. Their speeches touched upon the incredible work trading standards professionals undertook during the pandemic, and the continuing challenges and opportunities of EU Exit, pandemic response and the changing dynamic of consumer detriment.
In part of his speech, Lord Lindsay discussed the growth of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS), of which he is Chair. He noted that the scheme is going "from strength to strength", with it now including over 80,000 UK businesses, "with no sign of this slowing down." Last year CCAS protected an estimated £135bn of sales – an upwards surge of £51.5bn on the 2019 figure, and providing "a testament to CCAS' suitability for achieving these aims." CCAS aims to promote consumer interests by setting out the principles of effective customer service and protection.
The opening plenary session that followed was facilitated by Michael Kearney of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and introduced by Will Cresswell of OPSS. The panel consisted of Alan Murray of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), Caroline North of OPSS, and Small Business Crown Representative Martin Traynor OBE.
Will Cresswell discussed the National Audit Office's (NAO) report on OPSS and the Government's proposed return to imperil measures. He also discussed OPSS' role as the new construction products regulator. Will reiterated the importance of data collection informing the work of OPSS and other regulators and of further collaboration between OPSS and trading standards services.
Martin Traynor talked about the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the economy. Martin referred to the SME sector as "the backbone of the economy" and called for a greater focus on supporting it.
Alan Murray of BSIF focussed on the work of regulating PPE equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that his organisation called for greater market surveillance of PPE products long before the pandemic and stated that he would like to see far more collaboration between local authorities on regulatory issues.
Caroline North discussed her vital work during the pandemic as a key contact for Ten Downing Street's regulatory questions during that crucial period.
CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: "I think the opening session of this year's CTSI Symposium demonstrated how closely united so many of us are in the consumer protection sphere. It speaks to the shared social values of consumer regulators. The session highlighted the absolutely vital role of trading standards services during the pandemic and the need for greater collaboration between organisations and local authorities.
"It was great to hear from Lord Lindsay about the incredible growth of CCAS and the astounding amount of consumer protection value it is now providing. Above all, it was essential that the opening session paid tribute to the fantastic work of trading standards professionals who have once again gone above and beyond to support the country during a time of crisis.
"I look forward to the next two days of plenary sessions as we explore the shifting nature of consumer vulnerability on Wednesday and the future of the profession on Thursday. Above all, it is fantastic to see such a great turnout of the profession after lockdown prevented us from hosting an in-person event last year."
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
CTSI 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. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk
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