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ADC HAILS CONSUMER REPORT ON TRADING STANDARDS SERVICES

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The Association of District Councils has welcomed a report on the future of trading standards services from the Nat...
The Association of District Councils has welcomed a report on the future of trading standards services from the National Consumers' Council which, rather than seek an ideal blueprint, underlines that effective trading standards services can be delivered by 'local democratic policy and decision-making combined with imaginative, enlightened management'.

The NCC says that 'unitary authorities would allow consumer needs to be served coherently rather than through separate authorities', and that 'a trading standards service should be close to consumers, locally accountable and have strong community links if it is properly to serve the needs of the local community'.

However, the ADC is disappointed that the NCC did not include Southend, a borough council which delivers a comprehensive trading standards service on behalf of Essex CC, in its list of examples of small-scale authorities which have established effective and successful services.

The ADC is also 'amazed' that it should fall to a consumer organisation to spell out the future needs of trading standards. Most local authorities had expected a balanced contribution from the professional Institute of Trading Standards Administration, but that body has refused to accept that the service can be run by anyone other than large county councils.

By publishing its report, the ADC says, the NCC has joined the list of impartial commentators which argue that 'local authority boundaries should be determined not by a fruitless quest to identify the optimum size for providing services but by the needs of individual local communities'.
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