Trading Standards Officer

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    Trading standards officers are responsible for monitoring, promoting and maintaining safe and fair trading standards and for enforcing legislation that protects both the consumer and the law-abiding trader alike.

    Most work is found within local councils, where you’ll advise on consumer law and investigate complaints, but you can also be employed in the private sector.

     

    Duties

    • visit trading premises, e.g. pubs, petrol stations, shops, factories and markets, in order to carry out routine tests or to respond to a complaint
    • carry out checks on things such as weighing machines and food labels in shops, beer and spirit measures in pubs and transport of livestock to market
    • deal with traders selling faulty goods
    • identify potential hazards, such as unsafe electrical goods or none-roadworthy vehicles
    • check that advertisements and labels accurately describe the properties of the products
    • take samples for laboratory analysis
    • offer business advice to help traders comply with legislation
    • investigate suspected offenses, sometimes undercover and with the police or other agencies
    • present evidence at court in criminal proceedings
    • give legal advice to members of the public about their consumer rights
    • keep up to date with new legislation, new cases and guidance procedures
    • educate consumers and businesses, which may involve giving talks to schools, businesses and various consumer and vulnerable adult groups
    • write reports, statements, letters, articles and consultation documents and keep accurate records.

     

    Qualifications

    It is possible to become a trading standards officer (TSO) both with or without a degree. Related degrees such as law, or any subject that has elements or modules on consumer protection, may be particularly helpful.

     

    Skills

    • excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to talk to people from many different backgrounds
    • competent analytical and investigative skills and keen observation
    • determination and resilience, particularly when dealing with traders who may become hostile
    • attention to detail when investigating potential issues
    • the ability to organize and manage projects
    • the ability to work both as a part of a team and also on your own initiative
    • competence in using IT and dealing with statistics for record keeping
    • tact and diplomacy when dealing with investigations
    • an understanding of the implications of regulation on businesses when enforcing the law.

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