16th June 2021

CTSI responds to product safety report

CTSI has welcomed the publication of a new report into product safety enforcement by the National Audit Office.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Trading standards plays a pivotal role in the effective delivery of the UK product safety regime for consumers and businesses

A newly published report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into product safety has been welcomed by CTSI, and the Institute has highlighted how significant reductions in trading standards capacity over the last decades have made protecting consumers increasingly challenging.

The report, Protecting consumers from unsafe products, argues that more still needs to be done in various areas of the UK product safety system, including the work of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). It notes that the product safety system and OPSS need to continue to modernise to reflect the changing ways the public purchases goods to continue to protect consumers, and states that there need to be improvements with public engagement on product safety matters.

The report concludes that “OPSS has made a good start in addressing the immediate issues it faced: it has made impactful interventions on national issues, including strengthening high-profile recall processes for household appliances, provided new forms of support for local regulators, and developed new databases to prepare for EU Exit.

“However, the product safety regime faces major challenges to keep pace with changes in the market. There are gaps in regulators’ powers over products sold online, local and national regulation is not well coordinated despite improvements, and the OPSS does not yet have adequate data and intelligence.”

CTSI said it looks forward to aiding OPSS with designing a target operating model to articulate the future role of trading standards services in product safety regulation and assessing the impact of changes in trading standards staffing.

Phil Owen, Service Director Profession Relationships at CTSI, said: “CTSI recognises the importance of ensuring that the product safety system develops to meet and deal with constantly changing markets and evolving products. Trading standards plays a pivotal role in the effective delivery of the UK product safety regime for consumers and businesses.

“CTSI welcomes the next steps in meeting these challenges with and through the OPSS UK Product Safety Review. We are actively engaging with this process which is seeking views on the longer-term approach to product safety and how to ensure that the framework is fit for the future. Much has been achieved since OPSS was established in 2018, and CTSI enjoys a close partnership with OPSS, working collaboratively for almost three and a half years. We look forward to further and ongoing dialogue on the key issues.

“It is crucial that CTSI, OPSS and our many partners in local government and consumer organisations continue our well-established ways of working. Together, we can maximise our reach when communicating with consumers about product safety risks.”




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