Sponsored feature National Trading Standards Board

National Trading Standards Board

Sponsored feature National Trading Standards Board Getting to know SID Liane McNabb outlines the development of the National Trading Standards Sanctions Information Database A Sanctions Information Database, known as SID, has been up and running since April 2014, designed to carry all trading standards-enforced legislation. Free access to SID is available to all trading standards services in England and Wales, and to legally entitled enforcers. The National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN) operates the database in successful partnership with National Trading Standards, after delivering this project on budget and within an 11-month timeframe. Notification replaces consultation Since consumer landscape changes on 28 March 2013, consultation with the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) formerly the Ofce of Fair Trading (OFT) is no longer required under part 8 of the Enterprise Act. This was set out in The Public Bodies (The Ofce of Fair Trading Transfer of Consumer Advice Scheme Function and Modication of Enforcement Functions) Order 2013. An explanatory note details the effect of Article 9 of this Order, which amends section 214 of the Enterprise Act. It states: As a result of this Order, Part 8 enforcers, other than the OFT, will no longer be required to consult with the OFT before they make an application for an enforcement order. Instead, enforcers will have to notify the OFT that they are making an application. This is now done through use of SID. As the requirement to consult no longer applied, a simplied sanctions database was needed. Meanwhile, responsibility for the database passed from the OFT to National Trading Standards, with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Northern Ireland (DETINI) taking responsibility for the information in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. BEFORE S ID Before the development of SID, the Central Register of Convictions (CRC), and the Consumer Regulations Website (CRW), were both managed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Together these systems enabled enforcement officers to comply with the notification requirements stipulated in section 230 of the Enterprise Act 2002. The websites also held data relating to Enterprise Act investigations, some of which involved a duty to notify, but they did not cover all trading standardsenforced legislation. Strict access requirements also gave rise to 20- Options surveyed 30 enquiries per week as, for less- In July 2013, with the help of regional trading standards coordinators, a survey of all trading standards services in England and Wales proposed two mutually exclusive future options: either to retain the existing systems; or to work with the NAFN, which already had the infrastructure and data protection expertise to deliver this service via its own secure website. Both options could be provided at no cost to local authorities, but the latter option would provide a holistic system covering all trading standards legislation. The overwhelming majority of survey respondents were in favour of the second option, and a project team was set up in the National Trading Standards programme ofce to progress this work. The team beneted from co-opting Orville Clarke who had worked on previous systems for many years at the OFT. His advice and help was critical as the business solution that became SID took shape. Before retiring from the Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS), Chris Brennan allowed us to achieve the aim of a holistic system, maintaining and updating the legislative input. As well as the excellent working relationship established with Paul Howard and Mark Astley at the NAFN, the team set up a user group to agree functionality comprising ofcers with vast experience of the previous systems. These included: Louise Boyall from Leicestershire County Council; Ian Moore, Cheshire West and Chester Council; and Kath McEwen, North Yorkshire County Council. More than 80 trading standards ofcers also volunteered to test the system remotely, highlighting areas for improvement before it went live. Collectively, these inputs reaped signicant rewards, ensuring that SID which is free to use for all trading standards services in England and Wales is t for purpose as a business solution. Individual trading standards services and users simply have to sign an agreement to access the site. frequent users, there was a need to regain access to the system if they had not used it in the past 90 days. From left to right: Mark Astley, NAFN; Liane McNabb, NTS programme office; Paul Howard, NAFN; Donna Sidwell, NTS programme office; Abigail Mahony, NTS Programme Office; and Orville Clarke, OFT SID goes live The system went live for new entries on 1 April 2014, with access granted to other enforcement agencies including: the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); Civil Aviation Authority; Information Commissioners Ofce; Ofcom; and Ofgem, within the connes of the relevant data protection legislation and appropriate legal gateways. The transfer of historical data from the Central Register of Convictions (CRC) and the Consumer Regulations Website (CRW) followed, and a fully functional business solution was launched on 1 June 2014. Since then, ofcers have added more than 900 records of actions against 2,027 legal entities. Mark Astley, head of the NAFN praised the project, saying: It has delivered a signicant enhancement to NAFNs service offer, and the collaborative work with National Trading Standards has delivered signicant mutual benets. Andrew Clooney, trading standards team manager at Slough Borough Council, encouraged colleagues to get to grips with SID, saying: Like all new systems it gets easier the more often you use it, but when I used it at Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, I was able to start entering and retrieving data from SID immediately, using the online help, and found it a straightforward process meeting my needs. The future NAFN continues to work closely with National Trading Standards to monitor performance and identify potential areas for improvement. Enhancements implemented this year include a redesign of the web pages to make the process more intuitive, including in-page help NAFN and National Trading Standards have also had discussions with COSLA and DETINI about their potential use of the site. At a time when trading standards resources are under increasing nancial pressure, the importance of a robust, affordable sanctions database that can provide antecedent detail, as well as being the mechanism for fullling the statutory duty to notify, cannot be underestimated. Julie Staniland, legal process ofcer at West Yorkshire Joint Services, said: I use the SID system regularly, and it is better now that all the information is on one system, rather than two as before. On the occasions I have had any queries, Paul Howard at NAFN has always resolved them for me. SID does what it says on the tin and I am very happy with it. LORD HARRIS ENDORSES SID Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: I congratulate all those involved in getting this database up and running so quickly. The tireless efforts from individuals in various organisations have ensured that trading standards officers across England and Wales have free access to a simplified system that holds information on all trading standards enforcement activities, in one place. The database provides a valuable system for all trading standards officers to use, and will enable you to add and retrieve data easily and effectively. I urge all trading standards officers to familiarise themselves with SID and benefit from its development. Credits Published You might also like Liane McNabb is programme ofcer, Tuesday 27 January, 2015 Sweet smell of success January 2015 National Trading Standards To share this page, click on in the toolbar