Trustmark, the government-endorsed quality mark for professional tradesmen, has welcomed news that the Citizens Advice Bureaux is being given an enlarged role under proposals designed to simplify consumer protection for the public.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) announced last week that Citizens Advice would be taking over certain responsibilities from existing organisations the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Focus. This means the service will launch a new consumer advice line which succeeds Consumer Direct, and that Citizens Advice will now be responsible for representing consumers' interests in unregulated sectors.
A new National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) will be created to bring together representatives of Trading Standards from England and Wales to prioritise, fund and coordinate national and regional enforcement cases. The NTSB will be responsible for gathering important intelligence from around the country to combat rogue traders, and tackle priorities such as internet scams, illegal money lending and other enforcement issues that go beyond local authority boundaries.
??Consumer Affairs Minister, Norman Lamb said: "For too long people have been faced with an array of different bodies for advice and support, but its not always clear who to turn to first. The Citizens Advice service will become the publicly-funded voice of consumers, championing their needs and empowering them to make the right choices for themselves. There will also be clearer responsibilities and better coordination between enforcers and consumer bodies. A new National Trading Standards Board is exactly what we need to combat priority areas such as loan sharks and internet scams. All of the reforms will ensure that we have the right system of help, advice and protection for consumers.”
Stuart Carter, head of PR and marketing for TrustMark, said: “By streamlining the consumer landscape, the government is reducing the risk of confusion and making it easier for people to seek out accurate information and to get appropriate help if things go wrong. It’s good to see recognition given to the vital work of Trading Standards, and TrustMark will continue to support Trading Standards and Citizens Advice, in their extended capacity as the first line of protection for consumers.
“TrustMark is always looking for better ways to create consumer empowerment and to ensure visibility for the scheme, particularly in these days where there are numerous commercial websites offering to 'find a builder'. What matters most is reducing fragmentation and more joined-up signposting by the key agencies, independent third sector organisations, trade bodies and advisory services that touch the consumer throughout the process of finding help to repair, maintain or improve a home. The new changes to the consumer protection landscape go a long way towards this vision of joined-up working.”
More information about TrustMark can be found here.