Each year NTS undertakes a strategic assessment which uses our intelligence sources to identify the key national threats, emerging issues and allows us to identify our priority areas for action.
National Tasking Group
We have established a National Tasking Group that tasks intelligence development, assigns investigations and enforcement work to be undertaken nationally and regionally. It proactively tasks work around the National Trading Standards priority areas and considers requests for support that come via trading standards regional tasking groups, National Trading Standards Teams and other enforcement agencies.
This is to ensure there are no enforcement gaps or duplication between national, regional and local consumer and business protection enforcement (subject to available resources) on these priority areas.
Work to tackle these priorities is delivered by trading standards, locally, regionally and nationally and with the support and advice of our Consumer Protection Partners.
Most of the work on our priorities is delivered through the work of our teams but we also undertake other activities to tackle priorities. This work is often shorter term, specific to an issue and can be delivered by any appropriate Trading Standards group.
Our current priorities are:
Doorstep crime and cold calling (including energy fraud)
NTS has supported several regional/national investigations and projects by the Regional Investigation Teams and local authority trading standards. We have produced training and guidance for local authority trading standards’ officers to assist them with tackling this wide-ranging crime.
Lettings (England only) and Estate Agency work
The Estate and Letting Agency Team is responsible for the regulation of estate agency work in the UK and letting agency work in England. They work closely with local authorities who have local responsibilities for enforcing the legislation.
Mass marketing fraud/scams
This area of work is delivered primarily by the NTS Scams Team through its disruption work and by supporting local authorities to engage with victims across England and Wales.
Illicit and underage sale of vapes (England only)
The illicit and underage sales of vapes is a new priority area for us as the Government announced in May 2023 that £3 million funds would be deployed up to March 2025, via NTS, for enhanced work in target areas and coordination across England.
Funding has been provided by HMRC (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs) for local authorities and regional groups to carry out focused work, in relation to the supply of illicit tobacco products through Operation CeCe. This is part of a wider strategy that HMRC is undertaking to tackle this problem. Initially funding ran from January 2020 – March 2022 but three year’s funding has now been confirmed from April 2022 (across England and Wales).
This work is primarily delivered at a local level with several investigations supported by NTS. These have helped deal with some of the most complained about traders. Market disruption activities have been focussed on market enablers, for example mileage adjustment service providers. We have developed guidance for local authority trading standards officers on sources of data on mileage and vehicle history.
This work has focused on tackling the suppliers of counterfeit products and disrupting the supply chains to markets of illicit goods, through the work of Regional Investigation Teams and trading standards services.
Other fair trading issues
Regional and national teams have taken on several successful cases dealing with misdescriptions, such as those arising from advertising pricing, descriptions of goods and services, terms and conditions, fraud and money laundering offences relating to national/regional traders.
Animal feed work
We receive funding from the Food Standards Agency to support a programme of work to ensure the integrity of the animal feed chain and protect food safety and UK meat exports. This is delivered via the nine regions in England who work with all local authorities to deliver the controls.
Cross Cutting Themes and Enablers
NTS also have the following cross cutting themes and enablers, as they impact on each priority area:
- eCrime and the use of social media/online platforms
- Serious and organised crime
- The cost of living crisis
The National Trading Standards Work Areas
National Trading Standards has teams overseeing a range of issues, from copycat websites to doorstep crime.
Fraudster found guilty of £1.5 million renewable energy and home security scam
26th January 2024
Full material information guidance published
30th November 2023