As with so much else in 2020, this year’s CTSI Symposium is different from previous iterations, being hosted online as a virtual event. However, that hasn’t prevented speakers and delegates from enjoying a series of thought-provoking plenary sessions.
The Symposium kicked off on Monday (October 5). Following a keynote address from Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, the first plenary session, Getting Regulation Right – Why Does it Matter?, examined what the unprecedented events of this year could mean for trading standards in the years ahead.
As the UK continues to contend with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and begins to navigate a road to recovery, and as the uncertainty surrounding EU Exit threatens further disruption, the session highlighted the importance of getting regulation right – against a backdrop of cuts to the resources available to trading standards services.
Speakers on the panel comprised Damien Doherty of the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, Michael King of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Graham Russell of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, and Emily Miles of the Food Standards Agency.
Day 2 featured part one of Digital Markets: Keeping up with the Rogues, a practical session designed to address consumer protection in the context of the digital economy and its disruption of the consumer landscape. The panel examined how new consumer behaviours are presenting fresh opportunities for scams and criminal activity, and looked at how the trading standards profession can remain relevant and effective in the digital age. Today (October 7th) sees the conclusion of the session.
On Day 4 the focus is on the future, with the plenary session Looking to the Future Together – Trading standards across four nations highlighting CTSI’s work as part of the Four Nations Forum. This session will examine the role of trading standards in the context of devolution in the UK, and will close with a presentation from Winter Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher, who will discuss the importance of teamwork and resilience in overcoming challenges.
This year’s Symposium concludes on Friday (October 9) with the Hero Awards which, as always, celebrate the contributions and achievements of the individuals and groups who have made a big difference to consumer protection in the past 12 months. The awards programme will recognise those whose bravery, altruism and hard work serves as an inspiration for everyone involved with protecting the public.
To view the full 2020 Symposium programme, click here.