An important question when trying to justify your existence….
I am going to look at it from the perspective of why we are important to the Council. Councils are responsible for providing a wide variety of services which benefit their residents, for example:
- ensuring health and improve wellbeing
- protecting the environment
- growing the economy
- protecting vulnerable residents.
Fortunately for Trading Standards we do work that can cut across all these areas.
we protect public health
Trading Standards are responsible for enforcing product safety laws which can literally save lives.
We also enforce food standards law – which includes things like making sure allergenic ingredients are labelled properly and nutritional declarations on labels are accurate.
Victims of rogue traders – usually elderly or vulnerable in some way can suffer severe effects when they have been victims of crime. We can offer these people support or try to prevent the crime in the first place.
we prevent anti social behaviour
Preventing the sales of alcohol/cigarettes to youngsters – this also ties in with public health
we save consumers and businesses time
Any time there is a consumer related problem it usually costs the consumer and the business time. By ensuring compliance we can avoid these annoyances. For example, we regularly assist people in avoiding rogue traders – this saves them money but also the time and annoyance of having to have poor quality work put right.
we save consumers money
If your local petrol station accurately dispenses petrol then we may have saved you a few pennies
On more complex issues we can save consumers vast amounts of money – either by preventing them spending it in the first place or clawing it back. I know of many instances where consumers have saved thousands of pounds after out intervention.
we help local businesses / the local economy
We provide legal advice and offer approved trader schemes which are often a good way for businesses to increase their customer base.
Enforcing the law also creates a fair trading environment. Why should genuine businesses suffer because competitors are not complying with the law?
Creating a fair trading environment creates confident consumers that spend money – therefore helping to grow the economy.
we protect the environment
Trading Standards enforce excessive packaging laws and other environmental laws
we catch criminals
no one likes a criminal bringing them to task can only be a good thing
If you look at the corporate or strategic aim of any council you will usually notice that they are all similar and include many of the points above.
Given that we can help fulfil many of the councils objectives I think it is fair to say Trading Standards are important to the council they are a part of.
Hopefully the reasons I have given will explain why we important to members of the public.