Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

Officers of Flintshire County Council’s  Public Protection service are celebrating success in this year’s Touchstone Awards. The competition which is run by the British Hallmarking Council is designed to highlight good practice by enforcement bodies throughout the UK in relation to businesses which trade in precious metals.

 Trading Standards - Touchstone Award - in chamber

The Flintshire entry was highly commended for its innovative approach to hallmarking which covered the three main areas of enforcement, education and information.  It related to a project carried out by Trading Standards Officer Jack Yates and Enforcement Officer Gareth Jones which focussed on Flintshire businesses which buy gold and precious metal from members of the public. The exercise aimed to improve protection for the public, assist traders in complying with the law and ensure that no businesses were obtaining an unfair trading advantage over their more compliant competitors. The survey found that:
  1. 4 premises were using weighing machines that had not been passed as fit for use for trade
  2. 4 premises were found using for trade weighing machines which were inaccurate
  3. 1 premise was not displaying a Hallmarking notice
  4. 3 premises were not displaying proprietor details
  5. 3 premises were displaying no refund notices
  6. 2 premises were selling electrical equipment which did not comply with the legal requirements
  7. 2 premises were operating without a consumer credit license
  8. All premises were advised in varying degrees about compliance with unit pricing and hallmarking requirements
  9. No premises were found declaring the price they were paying for gold and silver.
When the premises were re-visited all were found to be compliant All were given a jeweller specific advice pack outlining all of the legal requirements pertinent to their trade. The advice is available on the Flintshire County Council  website. Councillor Kevin Jones, Executive Member for Public Protection said ” I am delighted that the efforts of Trading Standards staff have been recognised by this commendation. The competition highlights just one of the important roles of the Trading Standards Service which works hard to protect all residents e and support all reputable businesses in Flintshire.” The project was recognised by the Hallmarking Council because it was so comprehensive both in coverage of all such businesses in Flintshire and in the quality and scope of the advice which was given. The follow up activity indicated that there had been a significant improvement in the level of compliance within the sector. A further phase of the project will involve covert checks made by officers posing as customers and will also encompass some mail order businesses.

Trading Standards - Touchstone Award

 The project officers are Jack Yates, Trading Standards Officer (Weights and Measures and Hallmarking Specialist) and Gareth Jones, Enforcement Officer (Credit Specialist).

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