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CTSI responds to NAO report on OPSS

Posted 16/06/21

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) welcomes the report released today by the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO report highlights that more still needs to be done in various areas of the UK product safety system, including the work of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). It notes that the product safety system and OPSS need to continue to modernise to reflect the changing ways the public purchases goods to continue to protect consumers and states that there needs to be improvements with public engagement on product safety matters. OPSS needs to develop a vision for what the overall system of product safety regulation should look like and a plan to ensure this model is sustainable. CTSI looks forward to aiding OPSS with designing a target operating model to articulate the future role of Trading Standards services in product safety regulation and assessing the impact of changes in Trading Standards staffing. Significant reductions in Trading Standards capacity over the last decades also makes protecting consumers increasingly challenging.

CTSI has worked closely with OPSS over the past 40 months to support local authority trading standards officers. This partnership proves vital for developing competencies and capabilities to enable officers to take action to remove unsafe goods from the market and advise businesses on their product safety responsibilities. CTSI has delivered, on behalf of OPSS, a comprehensive learning and development programme that has covered 23 different product safety-related themes, including on Personal Protective Equipment and assessing product risks. These were delivered across 98 events, including training, seminars and webinars, which provided 5059 delegate places to front-line trading standards officers.

Phil Owen, Service Director Profession Relationships at CTSI, said: "CTSI recognises the importance of ensuring that the product safety system develops to meet and deal with constantly changing markets and evolving products. Trading Standards plays a pivotal role in the effective delivery of the UK product safety regime for consumers and businesses.

"CTSI welcomes the next steps in meeting these challenges with and through the OPSS UK Product Safety Review. We are actively engaging with this process which is seeking views on the longer-term approach to product safety and how to ensure that the framework is fit for the future. Much has been achieved since OPSS was established in 2018, and CTSI enjoys a close partnership with OPSS, working collaboratively for almost three and a half years. We look forward to further and ongoing dialogue on the key issues.

"It is crucial that CTSI, OPSS and our many partners in local government and consumer organisations continue our well-established ways of working. Together, we can maximise our reach when communicating with consumers about product safety risks."

ENDS

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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