Trading Standards

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In the United Kingdom, Trading Standards are the local authority departments, formerly known as Weights and Measures, that enforce consumer protection legislation. [1]


Sometimes, the Trading Standards enforcement functions of a local authority are performed by part of a larger department which enforces a wide range of other legislation: environmental health, health and safety, licensing and so on. These departments investigate commercial organisations that trade outside the law or in unethical ways. They attempt to remedy breaches by advice or by formal enforcement action.

Trading Standards services also offer Primary Authority Partnerships [2] whereby a business can form a legal partnership with a regulator in order to obtain assured advice and support with compliance. [3]


They were originally labelled as Weights and Measures Departments because their primary function was to maintain the integrity of commercial weighing and measuring by routine testing of equipment and goods. A wide range of other legislation was allocated to them as time went on.


They now deal with more diverse issues under a wide variety of Acts, Orders and Codes of Practice, as set out by central government, working with a number of other regulatory bodies such as the Food Standards Agency and the Office for Product Safety and Standards. Such legislation includes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Food Safety Act 1990, the Price Marking Order 2004 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Trading Standards also work with APHA and DEFRA to ensure disease controls are in place protecting residents and agriculture in the UK.

Food Standards Agency United Kingdom government non-ministerial department

The Food Standards Agency is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is led by a board appointed to act in the public interest. Its headquarters are in London, with offices in York, Birmingham, Wales and Northern Ireland. The agency had a national office in Scotland until the formation of Food Standards Scotland in April 2015.

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 United Kingdom legislation

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 is a statutory instrument in the United Kingdom made under the European Communities Act 1972. It came into force on 26 May 2008. It is effectively the successor to the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, which it largely repeals. It is designed to implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, as part of a common set of European minimum standards for consumer protection.

Consumer Protection Act 1987 United Kingdom legislation

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that made important changes to the consumer law of the United Kingdom. Part 1 implemented European Community (EC) Directive 85/374/EEC, the product liability directive, by introducing a regime of strict liability for damage arising from defective products. Part 2 created government powers to regulate the safety of consumer products through Statutory Instruments. Part 3 defined a criminal offence of giving a misleading price indication.

Recent priorities include prevention of sales of counterfeit goods, sales of tobacco and alcohol to under-age buyers, and action to prevent exploitation of vulnerable consumers by scams and doorstep crime. In 2017, the Trading Standards of Somerset, Devon and Torbay donated 5,000 items of counterfeit clothes to the charity Planet Zero after the clothes were seized and rebranded. [4]

Somerset County of England

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

Torbay Borough and unitary authority in England

Torbay is a borough in Devon, England, administered by the unitary authority of Torbay Council. It consists of 62.87 square kilometres (24.27 sq mi) of land, spanning the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, located around an east-facing natural harbour on the English Channel. A popular tourist destination with a tight conurbation of resort towns, Torbay's sandy beaches, mild climate and recreational and leisure attractions have given rise to the nickname of the English Riviera.

Trading Standards can work together with other regulators and national supporting regulators to provide businesses with access to tailored advice and support. In 2018 Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards [5] formed their 100th Primary Authority Partnership under this government scheme.

See also

Chartered Trading Standards Institute organization

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a professional association which represents trading standards professionals working in local authorities, business and consumer sectors and in central government in the UK and overseas.

Environmental health public health branch focused on environmental impacts on human health

Environmental health is the branch of public health concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment affecting human health. Environmental health is focused on the natural and built environments for the benefit of human health. The major subdisciplines of environmental health are: environmental science; environmental and occupational medicine, toxicology and epidemiology.

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Occupational Safety and Health Act (United States)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a US labor law governing the federal law of occupational health and safety in the private sector and federal government in the United States. It was enacted by Congress in 1970 and was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 29, 1970. Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent authority of the Australian Government. It was established in 1995 with the amalgamation of the Australian Trade Practices Commission (TPC) and the Prices Surveillance Authority to administer the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) (Cth). Its mandate is to protect consumer rights, business rights and obligations, perform industry regulation and price monitoring and prevent illegal anti-competitive behaviour.

Consumer organizations are advocacy groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse like unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, astroturfing and pollution.

In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations. Due to the increasing number of regulations and need for operational transparency, organizations are increasingly adopting the use of consolidated and harmonized sets of compliance controls. This approach is used to ensure that all necessary governance requirements can be met without the unnecessary duplication of effort and activity from resources.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

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Therapeutic Goods Administration regulatory body for therapeutic goods (including medicines, medical devices, gene technology, and blood products) in Australia

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the regulatory body for therapeutic goods in Australia. It is a Division of the Australian Department of Health established under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth). The TGA is responsible for conducting assessment and monitoring activities to ensure that therapeutic goods available in Australia are of an acceptable standard and that access to therapeutic advances is in a timely manner.

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Food safety scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness

Food safety is used as a scientific discipline describing handle, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illnesses resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering industry to market practices, food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods. In considering market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is a government agency that protects and promotes the interests of consumers and is based in the Australian state of Victoria. It is responsible for reviewing and advising the Victorian Government on consumer legislation and industry codes; advising and educating consumers, tenants, traders and landlords on their rights, responsibilities and changes to the law; registering and licensing businesses and occupations; conciliating disputes between consumers and traders, tenants and landlords; and enforcing and ensuring compliance with consumer laws. It is a business unit of the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

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In regulatory jurisdictions that provide for it, consumer protection is a group of laws and organisations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and accurate information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent the businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors or consumers of a certain product or goods. They may also provide additional protection for those most vulnerable in society. Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation that aim to protect the rights of consumers. For example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products—particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food.

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The Indonesian Standardization Body is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) member body for Indonesia.

The Belize Bureau of Standards is a government department under the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce. The department was established in 1992, with the goal to develop, promote and implement standards associated with goods, services and processes within Belize.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority is the Finnish agency which works in the field of competition and consumer rights protection. The purpose of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority is to create healthy and effective markets in which companies and other operators act responsibly and in keeping with consumers' interests.


  1. "Trading standards". Walsall MBC. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  3. "Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards".
  4. "Thousands of fake designer clothes handed to charity". Devon Live. 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  5. "Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards".