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, "14":"Market surveillance In this feature l product safety l UK best practice l ready for Europe Integration the UK way International cooperation is usually left to the diplomats, but trading standards has been playing its part, too helping Serbia to prepare for full membership of the EU, says Karin Layton S erbia is one of a number of countries in the Balkans hoping to join the EU; after overcoming political obstacles, the countrys leaders aim to get in before the end of the decade. But it isnt just a matter of signing a treaty. As in the case of former applicants like Bulgaria and Romania, national institutions must move into closer alignment with those of existing member states before accession. To support this process, TSI has been working with Serbia since 2011to improve its market surveillance strategy. Paul Walker MTSI hasbeen employed there as a senior market surveillance adviser, helping to strengthen the Serbian system for both non-food and foodproducts. However, Serbian officials also wanted to find out about British best practice first-hand. So, in 2012, a delegation arrived in the UK to find out more about the system we use. This TSI-hosted visit also had input from the Office of Fair Trading, City of London, Suffolk County Council and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO). The representatives also visited a number of other European countries to gain a broad understanding of different operating systems. Department heads from the ministries of economy and trade, tourism and telecommunications were due to make a final visit to Brussels before the end of the integration project this month (January), but they requested another visit to the UK before this, to examine our product safety measures in greater depth. TSI welcomed the opportunity to host the visit, which took place in November. Ron Gainsford, a vice-president of TSI, gave a presentation on the trading standards market surveillance function, strategy and resources, as well as covering the Product Safety Forum of Europe (Prosafe) role. He also delivered a presentation on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Department heads from the Serbian ministries of economy and trade, tourism and telecommunications, visited TSI head office to find out about the UK operating model Representatives from the BRDO were on hand to advise on Primary and Home Authority principles, their role in product safety and plans for an EU roll-out. The London Borough of Southwark welcomed the delegation to its offices where Sally Slade, Paul Gander, Justin Miller, Ray Moore and Hedley Setahul shared their knowledge of strategic and operational planning for trading standards and market surveillance work. The emphasis was on product safety including case studies of incidents and investigations and the use of databases for planning, coordination and information. The delegation members also visited TSI head office, where they were greeted by Richard Knight and Jon Dyer of Essex County Council. Here, members learned about market surveillance from a local authorityperspective, including risk-based inspections and preparing for inspections. The council had engaged a local business to participate in the visit, which allowed the delegation to gain practical knowledge of a systems approach to conformity assessment, by accompanying officers on an inspection and watching them in action at a larger enterprise. Finally, before the delegation left for Brussels, electrical safety expert Dave Tingey led an interactive session, demonstrating some problem products, as well as sampling, screen testing and follow-up actions. TSI would like to thank those members who attended, supporting this successful visit and demonstrating best practice from the UK. The delegation recognises the strengths of the UK operating model and found the visit extremely beneficial. Credits Published Karin Layton is a senior events executive Tuesday 6 January, 2015 atTSI. Images: Family Business / Shutterstock To share this page, click on in the toolbar "