» Supporting local trading standards services
Lord Lindsay, the UKAS Chairman, will take part in a panel session hosted by the BBC’s Matt Allwright at the Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards conference on Wednesday 22nd June. The session, which will be themed ‘raising standards’, will focus on how UKAS accreditation underpins a wide range of activities that support trading standards from the national measurement system to health and safety. Many trading standards officers have used UKAS accreditation to inform their work for many years - the presence of accredited testing, inspection or certification can be taken as a sign that a business is looking to provide a quality product or service but also that it takes its legal obligations seriously. This provides valuable information for Trading Standards Officers and allows them to focus on where the risk of non-compliance is highest.
This approach is in line with better regulation principles and the Government’s desire to encourage self-regulation. Accreditation can also help with local authority licencing requirements - the licencing of greyhound tracks is a good example of this approach. Defra legislation allows tracks to choose between being licenced by the local authority or being inspected by a UKAS accredited organisation, in this case the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Many tracks now choose the GBGB route and Defra is currently consulting on extending this approach to other animal establishment licencing requirements. Lord Lindsay will suggest that this approach could be applied in other licencing areas too.
As budgetary pressures increase, Trading Standards Departments will need to look for smarter ways of working. One way is to make greater use of accreditation in their work by providing a greater presumption of conformity for businesses that use accredited testing, inspection or certification. This should reduce the regulatory burden for businesses and alleviate some of the pressure on the resources of local authorities.
The conference will take place on Wednesday 22nd June at the International Centre, Telford. Further details can be found on the CTSI website.