This report updates the Local Committee on the work of the Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards Service, particularly in Elmbridge in 2015/16.
Nadine Davis, Senior Trading Standards Officer, presented this report. She introduced the item by explaining that Surrey Trading Standards (TS) Service had joined with Buckinghamshire TS just over a year ago and although there is no shared boundary they are well politically aligned. The joint service has increased the resilience of both services, sharing skills and back room facilities. A growing challenge is the growth of internet crime, scams and rogue traders, who particularly target the vulnerable.
She spoke about the Checkatrade (CAT) Partnership which has combined the best of the requirements of both the Checkatrade and Buy with Confidence (BWC) schemes.
TS is very keen to take on volunteers to enhance the service and gave an example of a volunteer who had won a hero award for managing to win back money for a resident who had been scammed. Scam work takes up a large proportion of officer time. TS is aware of 36 Elmbridge residents who were caught by scams in 2015. For vulnerable people affected by over the phone scams, TS can set up a system called trueCall which intercepts calls from ‘unexpected sources’ and redirects them to a relative or neighbour.
Nadine gave details of the success of TS’s use of social media and the Eat Out Eat Well Award, on which TS works closely with Environmental Health at Elmbridge BC.
In addition TS provides advice to a wide range of businesses from small start ups to multi nationals. 117 Elmbridge businesses are currently signed up for advice. Businesses are encouraged to sign up to a Primary Authority Partnership which helps businesses manage their relationships with local authorities across the country.
TS also works closely with Surrey Police particularly in instances of Doorstep Crime and Rogue trading.
Members’ comments included:
· Concern that many vulnerable people do not have online access
· How Surrey is benefitting from Checkatrade
Nadine will provide responses to the following questions outside of the meeting:
· How many complaints has TS received in Elmbridge over the year, what percentage were resolved and how quickly did we resolve them/acknowledge the complaint?
· How many traders from BWC moved to CAT and what their level of business has been since?
· What were the cost savings for the joint service and show if that money has been put towards front line staff?
· How do we measure the success and outcomes of the work we do?
· How it had come about that we had joined with Checkatrade because a Member had attended a meeting where there was said to be no intention to do so?
The Local Committee noted that Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards:
Reacts to local issues specifically drawn to
Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards’s notice in respect of Elmbridge
Responds to Trading Standards and consumer issues
highlighted by intelligence gathering and reporting. This routinely includes the Elmbridge local area
in any project and routine undertakings including test purchasing
and sampling as appropriate.
(iii) Responds to business enquiries and bespoke/chargeable requests from businesses based in Elmbridge focusing on Small/Medium Enterprises (SME) and national businesses. Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards actively promotes membership to the Regulatory Delivery Primary Authority Partnership scheme.