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FOCUS ON FOOD SAFETY AT TRADING STANDARDS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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The Institute of Trading Standards Administration has its annual conference 1999 at the Edinburgh International Con...
The Institute of Trading Standards Administration has its annual conference 1999 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from June 24-26.

ITSA chairman Eric Robinson said:

'We have a new consumer minister. Newly empowered, the Scots and the Welsh will be seeking to shape the way they handle their own affairs and that could well include consumer protection. An all-embracing consumer strategy is in the legislative pipeline.

Throughout the UK, the trading standards service faces 'The Challenge of Change' and the conference programme will stimulate discussion and debate on a range of issues affecting government, the institute, consumers and the business community.

The clear intention of government is to seek ways to empower the consumer, through education, advice and information. So the speakers on the first day of conference are distinguished, not only for their role in consumer affairs, but also for the ability to present their arguments effectively.

There can be no more important issue at present than food safety and we have put together a platform to present conflicting views on policy and safety before conference and one that will guarantee constructive debate.

As we move towards a new century, electronic commerce is taking on a larger role in everyday life and we have yet to grasp the real impact it will have on the consumer and on the trading standards service. Conference provides a real opportunity for delegates to bring themselves up to date with the current legal situation and learn about future developments in this method of trading across frontiers.

Amongst major policy issues to be debated are the safety record of second-hand cars and the risk to under-age youngsters from traders prepared to sell them tobacco, alcohol and solvents - even knives.

Conference also sees the semi-finals and finals of the national Young Consumers of the Year competition. The culmination of keenly contested local and regional battles on consumer knowledge between schools and colleges throughout the UK.

In fact, Conference '99 promises to be a feast of information and informed debate. Every year, we are fortunate to attract a high level of attendance from the media. Once again, I do hope you can find the time to be there; you are assured of a warm welcome in what is one of the most beautiful and hospitable of cities'.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

DAY ONE: Thursday 24th June

CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT

09.30 The Conference Opens

Key speakers:

Baroness Judith Wilcox, President of ITSA

Kim Howells, Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs

11.15 The Challenge of Change

Key speakers:

Eric Robinson, Chairman of ITSA

David Hatch, Chairman of the National Consumer Council

Ken Birkby, Head of Customer Services, Marks & Spencer

14.15 Consumer Education at Centre Stage - a 'Sofa Debate'

Hosted by John Bridgeman, Director General of Fair Trading, with

Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs

John Clare, Chief Executive of the Dixons Group,

Prof. Bernard Crick, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College and Chairman of the Government Advisory Group on Citizenship

Anna Bradley, Director of the National Consumer Council.

DAY TWO: Friday 25th June

CONSUMERS AT RISK

09.30 Food Policy and the Food Standards Agency

Key speakers:

Jeff Rooker, Minister for Food*

Geoffrey Podger, Joint Food Safety and Standards Group

Professor Tim Lang, Thames Valley University

Ann Foster, Director of Government and Public Affairs UK, Monsanto

Sheila McKechnie, Managing Director of the Consumers Association

11.30 Young Consumers at Risk

Key speakers:

Paul Galland, ITSA Lead Officer Age Restricted Sales

Keith Bolling, National Smoking Education Campaign

David McCruden, Acting Director of Corporate Services, Buckinghamshire CC

Sue Slipman, Director of Social and Ethical Responsibility, Camelot

John Branscombe, Director of Security, Camelot

14.15 Are Motorists Being Taken for a Ride?

Key speakers:

Tony Allen, author of 'Coffins on Wheels' and ITSA Lead Officer for the Motor Trade

George Austin, Vehicle Safety Campaigner

David McKewan, RAC Technicare

Graeme Potts, President of the National Franchised Dealers Association and Chairman of Reg Vardy

Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP, Chair of Transport Select Committee

and

Counterfeiting: Why Should We Bother?

Key speakers:

Terry Anslow, Chief Investigator, the European Leisure Software Publishers Association

John Anderson, Executive Secretary, Anti-Counterfeiting Group

Ed Chicken, Public Protection Manager, Middlesbrough Borough Council

Graham Churchill, Mechanical Copyright Protection Society

- final confirmation of attendance awaited

DAY TWO: Friday 25th June

YOUNG CONSUMERS OF THE YEAR 1999

Eagerly-awaited culmination of the nation-wide competition that encourages young people to learn and practice the life skills that make an informed consumer. Teams from schools and colleges throughout the UK have battled their way through local and regional heats to be here today.

09.00The four semi-finals will be held in the Fintry Auditorium at the EICC

15.45Judging the 'Play Safe' project in the Lomond Suite Stand 73 & 74

16.15 GRAND FINAL OF YOUNG CONSUMER OF THE YEAR and award ceremony in the Pentland Auditorium at the EICC

Quizmaster - Chris Choi

DAY THREE: Saturday 26th June

THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE

09.30 Electronic Commerce - Panacea or Problems for Consumers?

Key speakers:

Richard Thomas, Director of Public Policy, Clifford Chance

Stephen Haddrill, Director of Commercial Affairs, DTI

Ruth Taylor, Principle Trading Standards Officer, Oxfordshire CC

Noel Hunter, Chairman, ITSA Management Board

Helen Bridgett, Marketing Manager, Tesco Direct

11.30The Future for Consumers

Key speakers:

Henry McLeish MSP*

Christopher Chope MP, Opposition Spokesman for Trade and Industry

Deirdre Hutton, Director of the Scottish Consumer Council

Austin Mitchell MP

Andrew Meehan, Cooperative Retail Services

- final confirmation of attendance awaited

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