Over the last 12 months The Chartered Institute of Trading Standards (CTSI) and TrustMark have been looking at ways in which they can deliver joint services to provide greater levels of consumer protection and confidence across the many trades delivering services in and around the home.
The two organisations, which have worked closely for many years, have looked at the gaps in the current markets and delivery systems and are fully motivated to create and deliver a collective approach to support both the CTSI Consumer Codes where required, as well as promote and deliver functional delivery schemes through the TrustMark Brand and its Scheme Operators. By working together, they can promote and highlight the existing and well recognised brands and combine compliance, audit and enforcement all within one collaboration.
The alliance will allow a new style of thinking on how to tackle some of the long term challenges in the sector with rogue traders and their operating practices. It will also enable further confidence and greater levels of security to be developed for consumers when choosing a firm to work in or around their home. Together they can deliver a clear message to consumers that they are supported at all stages when engaging and using any business or trader from the partners schemes.
Leon Livermore, CEO of CTSI, added: “The approval landscape is confused for both consumers and businesses so it is important that we work with trusted partners to ensure that we are all working towards the same end result. Local Trading Standards Services do a huge amount to protect consumers and promote legitimate business and we hope that by working with TrustMark we can add real value to their work.”
Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark, said: “By joining forces with the CTSI, it both highlights our commitment and will to enhance consumer protection, encourage best practice and promote excellence and good standards nationally. Together we aim to achieve greater parity between the two organisations and to strike the right balance between reducing consumer detriment and making the standards workable across the industry.”
The CTSI and TrustMark have worked closely for many years and will build on the close synergy between the CTSI’s own Consumer Codes Approval Scheme and TrustMark’s core criteria - the Government-endorsed standards. Together they will support reputable and honest tradespeople and protect consumers in the decisions they make in order to help improve consumer confidence, reduce consumer detriment and drive up industry standards in the repair, maintenance and improvement market.
For further information about TrustMark visit www.trustmark.org.uk and the CTSI www.tradingstandards.uk.
Issued on behalf of TrustMark - For further information or photos, please contact:
Georgina Watkins, Tel: 07595 158460, Email: email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Supporting information about TrustMark and the CTSI joining forces to improve consumer confidence
- The home repair, maintenance and improvement sector (RMI sector) is estimated to
encompass some 150,000 businesses and accounts for £27 billion spend a year.
- Firms working in this sector include all the traditional trades (builders, electricians, gas
and heating engineers, plumbers, roofers, glaziers, decorators etc) and increasingly also a host of specialist trades, including renewable energy installers, insulation companies, damp treatment specialists etc.
- TrustMark is the only Government-backed ‘find a trader’ scheme covering the full range ofall these trades in the RMI sector. It has been running for over 10 years, and last year provided more than 8.3 million search results to consumers who were searching for a local TrustMark-registered firm.
- TrustMark is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It operates a very low cost, efficient scheme
for consumer protection whereby ‘scheme operators’ (existing trade associations, certification bodies, retailers and other groups) are licensed to give the TrustMark badge to some 20,000 trades who meet the required standards.
- Local reputable businesses earn the TrustMark badge through their compliance with Government-endorsed standards covering good trading practices, customer service and technical competence. TrustMark is the only scheme to cover all three of these pillars of quality in its checks on firms.
- The CTSI represents thousands of trading standards professionals working in the UK in local authorities, business and consumer sectors and central government.
- The CTSI also runs the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme which, much like the
TrustMark model, approves a range of ‘code sponsors’ who can then give their members the CTSI approved code logo. Code sponsors operate across many sectors, including the RMI sector, and Consumer Codes approval is particularly useful for firms interested in working in the new build housing market too.
- The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme aims to promote consumer interests by setting out the principles of effective customer service and protection. It goes above and beyond consumer law obligations and sets a higher standard, showing consumers clearly that code members can be trusted.
- TrustMark and the CTSI have long enjoyed a strong working relationship, and there is already a big overlap between TrustMark’s core criteria (the Government-endorsed standards at the heart of the scheme) and the CTSI’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme core criteria.
- The collaboration is also designed to tackle some of the long term challenges in the sector arising from rogue traders who are very practiced at exploiting the gaps and fragmentation in the consumer protection landscape in this sector. The impact of ‘cowboy’ firms across different trades is still thought to cost the UK economy £1.5 billion each year.
- Through knowledge exchange, new services and joint campaigns, TrustMark and the
CTSI intend to build further confidence and greater levels of security for consumers when choosing a firm to work in or around their home.
- Together they aim to achieve greater parity between the two organisations and to strike
the right balance between reducing consumer detriment and making the standards workable across the industry.
- The learning from this process over the next few months will also feed into work on the Each Home Counts review and the development of the proposed new Code of Conduct and Consumer Charter for firms operating in the home energy retrofit market, a new and fast-developing part of the RMI sector that both TrustMark and CTSI know and understand well.
- TrustMark is not an advertising directory or a website that sells leads. It is a registered social enterprise, operated under licence from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a not-for-profit organisation it does not make money from consumers.
- TrustMark’s website has an easy to use UK wide postcode search facility, which provides details of more than 21,000 licensed trades and has the largest database of accredited tradespeople in the country.
- All TrustMark firms’ technical skills have been independently checked through on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and trading practices. TrustMark is the only scheme that requires qualified inspectors to do these visits, so that technical competence is checked as well as business practices and customer satisfaction.
- TrustMark firms make a commitment to work to Government-endorsed standards and are able to offer insurance backed warranties and deposit protection, as well as operating a user-friendly complaints procedure.