How the OFT and Trading Standards Services are working together to benefit consumers and businesses.
Local Authority Trading Standards Services (TSS) are our key partners in implementing the consumer law regime, which lies at the heart of UK economic policy. We share enforcement powers and work closely with them to provide an efficient and effective service for both consumers and businesses.
TSS are funded by and accountable to local authorities. They are required to work to national priorities set by government departments and agencies, as well as local priorities set by elected councillors which focus on the particular needs of the local community. They also enforce a far broader range of legislation than the OFT and often have responsibility for animal health, food safety and underage sales of tobacco, alcohol, knives and fireworks.
With the introduction of the Enterprise Act, the OFT was given the responsibility to coordinate enforcement activity across legislation enforced by both the OFT and TSS. This has led to greater collaborative working and we have established a better understanding of our respective priorities and ways of working.
We are working with TSS to establish a UK-wide network of Regional Intelligence Officers, whose responsibility will be to pull together information and intelligence on issues affecting consumers across the country. This will enable us to build a comprehensive picture that will inform the priorities of both TSS and the OFT.
Since December 2005, the OFT has also had a role in providing strategic leadership and support to TSS in relation to the fair trading remit that the OFT and TSS share. One outcome of that role is work that the OFT has undertaken in partnership with TSS to assess the impact of TSS fair trading work.
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