TSI chairman

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In this feature l a new environment l adaptation l the future Making his Mark Carina Bailey talks to new TSI chairman Mark McGinty about the changing face of trading standards M ark McGintys soft Scottish brogue matches his outwardly unassuming nature: thoughtful, gentle and kind. But dont be fooled; beneath this lurks a man with ambition, passion, and a steely determination to be part of the transformation of trading standards from the inside out. Perched on a folding chair in a conference hall at the Imperial War Museum, in Cambridgeshire a seat weve grabbed for half an hour of snatchedconversation beforeTSIs annual general meeting McGinty speaks withzeal about what he intends to achieve during his yearas chairman. The big thing the central change for trading standards officers is dealing withthe new environment in local government, where our main service delivery comes from. We need to go out there and speak to members, and do something to tackle this to deal with this changing environment. Trading standards officers need to learn how to adapt, and TSI needs to lobby politicians and exert its influence to protect the profession and our members, and to ensure there is an adequate level of consumer protection in the UK. When it comes to adaptation, McGinty speaks from experience. At Highland Council, where his day job is team leader within the management team, his department has transformed its delivery model to suit the climate of austerity and, more importantly, to meet the needs of its citizens better. We changed our delivery model when we set up the new management team in 2010. Now were very much focused on being intelligence-led in everything we do, he says. MARK MCGINT Y Born: Dundee Lives: Inverness, Scottish Highlands Education: Queen Margaret College (now University), Edinburgh Degree: Applied consumer studies Career: 1992 trainee assistant enforcement officer. Gained his Diploma in Consumer Affairs at Lothian Regional Council 1997 joined Angus Council 2003 Gained his Diploma in Trading Standards 2003 Moved to Highland Council 2010 present Promoted to team leader, Highland Council Hobbies/interests: McGinty has rekindled his passion for motorcycling over the past couple of years, and says there are often bits of bike lying around the house! Hes recently returned from a trip to France on his 18-yearold Honda CBR 600F where he travelled through Belgium, to the Somme, and then the Champagne region. In 2013, he rode through seven national parks en route from Inverness to the Isle of Wight. Pets: A black labrador called Kala Getting on his bike... Mark McGinty (right) with a friend at the Reims GP circuit in France We have moved away from routine, cyclical inspections that was a model we had in place for years. We felt wed serve the community better, and deliver more for our employers, by being intelligence-led. Now we use that to take action where theres a real need. McGinty uses Highlands establishment of a community safety function in relation to rogue doorstep traders as a prime example. Rogue traders were coming into the area, targeting the vulnerable, offering to do exterior home-maintenance work. Before the management restructure, that wasnt a particular function. We altered what we do because of the information we had, and realised that we needed to concentrate our efforts on that. It is this willingness to adapt to a changing environment that, McGinty believes, has resulted in a better service forlocal residentsbut its not an attitude he sees reflected in every trading standards officer. One of my biggest bugbears is when people resist change, says McGinty. They feel if theyre not in control of that change it can lead to them being worse off. But, if youre not in control of change, you have to influence it and, as professionals, you have to adapt to changing environments. In Highland, we have had staff cuts, ofcourse but I think we are delivering a better service. Its much more focused on where the community needs us. He also stresses the importance of the profession losing its obsession with physical structures, and gives an impression of what he thinks the service should look like in five years time. The modern service has to be much more flexible; a profession where everyone involved is a chartered member or practitioner, where they deliver a fully supported professional service for employers, dealing with the problems in the community that we all face but not aonesize-fits-all, explains McGinty. It should very much be a localised service, which takes into consideration thenational priorities in the planning process for operations each year for example, our national priorities, e-crime anddoorstep crime. McGinty adds: People get obsessed with delivery models, whether we should be a national service or a local service. Tome, thats only astructure. We need todeliver on the ground in the locations that needit. Part of the process of creating this local service is nurturing the young officers that comes into the profession each year one of McGintys personal passions. It was McGintys own experience when he first started learning the trading standards ropes, in 1992, that inspired him always to give backmore than he takes a personal motto that he has taken seriously over the years. In 2012, after completing an advanced driving course, he decided to become a volunteer qualified observer. He then spent the next two years guiding 12 drivers through their advanced driving courses. McGinty says it was a very rewarding experience, and urges others togive something back, too whether its in their personal or professional lives. As he puts it, theres no greater personalsatisfaction than seeing ayoung person given the guidance and courage they need to progresstheir careers, to stand on their own two feet and drive theircareer forward. An attitude that we could all learn from, I suspect. Credits Published Carina Bailey is editor of TS Today. 28 October, 2014 To share this page, click on in the toolbar