New 'Trading Standards Approved' scheme from TrustMark

TrustMark recently launched a new ‘Trading Standards Approved’ scheme to provide another level of consumer protection and accreditation.  They are now offering this national scheme to all TrustMark Registered Firms through the Primary Authority Partnership with Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards, but directly linked to the Scheme Operator the firm is registered with.

The need for a national trading standards approved scheme that brings in the stringent rules of TrustMark's Core Criteria, plus the visibility of the consumer protection ‘enforcement’ body, was an issue raised by Scheme Operators with TM and this has now come to fruition as part of the ongoing value chain.

Recent feedback to the TrustMark team indicated that some confusion, even concern, exists over TrustMark delivering this service in conjunction with the Scheme Operators.  This scheme allows a new offering of Trading Standards Approved to be sought only when the Firm is already registered with TrustMark or seeks to join TrustMark through one of the Scheme Operators. Allowing collaboration between the Government endorsed Standards Scheme and Trading Standards Authorities develops further robust consumer protection.

Steve Ruddy, Head of Service Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards, said:

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with TrustMark helping consumers find reputable traders to work in their homes. This is a ground-breaking example of how central and local government can work together, combining national recognition and local reassurance to both protect residents and support local businesses." 

So, what are the differences?

TrustMark, due to its Government position and the ability to work with a Primary Authority Partner can deliver a TrustMark added value service that is not available to individual schemes. TrustMark has worked/discussed with local and National Trading Standards teams and the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards to bring this scheme to fruition.  It does not replace or negate other schemes but allows Firms to make choices on where they spend money to register and who with.

In addition to TrustMark's Government Endorsed Standards & Core Criteria, the Trading Standards Approved scheme has introduced the following enhancements: 

  • Basic Disclosure Certificates
    • TrustMark has become a ‘Responsible Body’ and can now apply for DBS checks on behalf of the applicants. TrustMark will be able to accept Registered Firms looking to change from their current scheme so long as they meet the requirements.
  • Intelligence Checks
    • Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards will use their national database to assess all applicants and the nominated Responsible Person. They will also use information within the public domain and police databases.
  • As with the DBS checks, this is another positive step to increase consumer confidence in the Firms that they employ. This level of vetting, which has been missing, will allow ourselves and Scheme Operators to ensure that we only register firms that meet our codes of conduct and professionalism.  This scheme has the potential to mitigate risk and negative exposure.
  • Direct Invoicing
    • In order to avoid additional admin for you as a Scheme Operator and to meet the requirements set out in our primary authority agreement, TrustMark will be invoicing the Registered Firms directly. As we will incur costs for both the checks and aim to complete the process in a timely manner, it is crucial that we are in receipt of the funds immediately.

 There will be no changes to how Registered Firms pay their renewal fees to Scheme Operators.

In 2016, TrustMark received over 300 reports of brand misuse, which highlights that consumers are much more aware when it comes to protecting themselves and their investments.

If you would like further information or a discussion about the scheme, then please drop a note to:

tradingstandardsapproved@trustmark.org.uk