City of Wolverhampton Trading Standards have fought off stiff competition to win the British Hallmarking Council’s Touchstone Award 2018, with judges praising several applicants for their commitment to enforcing hallmarking and raising consumer awareness. This year’s very high standard of applications from across the UK reflected enforcement relating to internet sales, effective response to intelligence and extremely innovative educational operations. There was also evidence of proactive long-term projects protecting consumers and legitimate businesses.
The annual Touchstone Award was launched by the British Hallmarking Council (BHC) in 2012 to encourage and reward the most effective initiative relating to increasing awareness and enforcement of hallmarking. The prestigious Award is funded entirely by the four UK Assay Offices.
This year’s winners were presented with the Silver Touchstone Bowl at the CTSI Dinner on June 5 by the chair of the British Hallmarking Council Noel Hunter OBE. A further presentation will take place later in the year when the Award will be presented formally to the Council.
In addition to Wolverhampton being declared winner, both Merthyr Tydfil and Shared Regulatory Services, a regional collaboration between local government authorities in Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, were Highly Commended.
Wolverhampton scored highly for their proactive campaign to improve awareness of the laws and benefits surrounding hallmarking amongst both businesses and consumers within their very diverse community. The team engaged with every jeweller in the City, providing them with a comprehensive educational pack detailing the rules and the benefits of hallmarking, emphasising how selling hallmarked goods could add to their reputation. The free packs also included a current dealer’s notice so there could be no excuses for non-compliance.
Noel Hunter OBE, Chairman of the BHC, said: “The British Hallmarking Council is committed to working with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and other authorities to enforce our important legislation. The Touchstone Award maintains a high profile for hallmarking on the consumer protection agenda. We have been hugely encouraged by this year’s applications which demonstrate that despite significantly reduced resources trading standards recognise the need to enforce the Hallmarking Act to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from scams and fraudulent activities. Although enforcement resource is significantly reduced, Trading Standards Officers are using the manpower they have very effectively.
Applications for Touchstone Award 2019 open in January 2019.
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