A selection of the TSI’s contributions to government policy debate

CTSI HAS ITS SAY Click each image for more content A selection of the institutes contributions to government policy debate Tobacco Levy Consultation Online Reviews and Endorsements Tobacco Levy Consultation VAT & Excise, HM Treasury, February 2015 CTSI wishes to highlight the important role that local authority trading standards play in regulatory tobacco control, strongly agreeing with the Chancellors observation that: Smoking imposes costs on society, and the government believes it is therefore fair to ask the tobacco industry to make a greater contribution. CTSIs annual data collection showed a signicant decrease since 2012/13, in the number of authorities undertaking work on underage sales, in collaborative working and on advertising and display of tobacco products. With trading standards suffering major and unsustainable cuts, CTSI is concerned that new legislation added to the statute book more than 50 statutory instruments and eight Acts in the last parliament alone has created new, unresourced duties for trading standards. Falling resources are also forcing services to refocus activity away from vital preventative work, like combating sales of tobacco to young people, concentrating instead on reacting to complaints and crises. However, with 567 children starting smoking in the UK every day and 80 per cent of heavy smokers starting before the age of 20 investing in trading standards tobacco control work has the potential to bring huge future savings to the NHS and the public purse. Trading standards role in a comprehensive tobacco harm reduction strategy is currently and for the foreseeable future at great risk without additional support, and CTSI believes that distributing funding intended to support trading standards work on tobacco control through the Revenue Support Grant would not be effective. Against a background of shrinking resources, this funding could readily be diverted to other services. As the National Trading Standards Board has no current role in the area of public health, we recommend that any portion of the tobacco levy intended for trading standards should be distributed through the existing CTSI tobacco control contract, to ensure its use for tobacco control work. Lead officers: Jane MacGregor, and CTSI director of policy Melissa Dring For more details, and to contribute to consultations such as these, visit www.tradingstandards.uk Credits Published You might also like Images: Alexander Trinitatov / Thursday 28 May, 2015 Consultations May 2015 Solis Images / Shutterstock Consultations April 2015 To share this page, click on in the toolbar Online Reviews and Endorsements Competition and Markets Authority consultation, March 2015 CTSI considers that the Competition and Markets Authority should focus on seven issues, prioritising the following three: Accreditation scheme for review sites Social media endorsements of traders are open to abuse, especially with a burgeoning business in paying for reviews. In retail, clarity is needed on whether products, the retailer, or both, are being endorsed/reviewed. Who is eligible to leave a review? Is it: only customers who have actually bought the product/service; other local traders who know that the trader is good or bad; or prospective customers who dealt with the trader but never made a contract? Fake feedback is likely to appear on multiple sites, whereas a consumer would only post on one or two sites. Legislating to prohibit terms that ban negative reviews or offer incentives for positive reviews Some websites recently offered a discount for accommodation in return for a good review, and eBay sellers sometimes refuse to resolve a consumers complaint until positive feedback is left. CTSI considers that non-disparagement clauses aiming to ban consumers from posting negative reviews online have no legitimate place in consumer contracts and any business using them commits an offence. But who decides what is negative feedback? Mixed feedback posts, such as good product but slow delivery, are common online. Also, online feedback is a key consumer protection tool and non-disparagement clauses represent a real risk to the trust consumers place in it. Verication of reviewers e-ID is essential to increase trust in e-commerce. CTSI offers a number of following useful documents and information in this area including: G The Identity Assurance Programme G Good Practice Guide Requirements for Secure Delivery of Online Public Services G Web Fraud Prevention & E-Identity Market Guide 2012 discusses the e-identity ecosystem and identity management schemes and e-identity theft prevention e-ID would be bureaucratic as a requirement merely for reviews but other drivers such as age restricted products and credit applications particularly cross border make it inevitable. Options include Mobile and Bank e-ID solutions: G e-SENS project G The Mobile Connect tool G MyBank Identity Lead officer: Paul Miloseski-Reid For more details, and to contribute to consultations such as these, visit www.tradingstandards.uk