OPSS has grown rapidly, creating dedicated national capacity for product safety while taking forward work on supporting small business growth and implementing the Industrial Strategy vision of simplifying regulation.
Its Local Regulatory Delivery team has been busy driving Better Business for All, which brings together businesses and regulators, creating partnerships to identify issues facing local businesses and find ways to support them. A good example of how business is benefiting is Lynher Dairies Cheese Company in Cornwall, which received support to pass food inspections by US regulators to be able to export to the USA.
In March 2018, OPSS made the Code of Practice on Product Recalls (PAS 7100) developed by BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, freely available to Trading Standards officers. Since then it has trained 300 trading standards officers on implementing the code and held regional workshops for business.
Its Intelligence unit is now fully operational and on track to publish the first national Strategic Assessment for Product Safety by March 2019. It is sharing data and intelligence with partners including local authority trading standards, National Trading Standards, Citizens Advice and the Intellectual Property Office.
There are now 73,000 businesses in Primary Authority, a flagship programme to support businesses in regulatory compliance. The new Supporting Regulator offer supports local regulators in primary authorities with technical and scientific expertise, interpretation of generic guidance tailored to business, for example to take account of innovation, and access to broader sources of data and intelligence.
In August, the UK’s first national product safety strategy – ‘Strengthening National Capacity for Product Safety’ – was published, along with the Strategic Research Programme, which will produce high quality strategic science-based research to strengthen the evidence base for the development of product regulation policy, delivery and enforcement.
In October, OPSS delivered its fourth international Inspection Reform Conference, the largest to date, attracting 350 delegates from 70 countries, and showcasing how the UK can lead in the field of making regulation work.
The autumn also saw the launch of our first consumer safety awareness campaigns. Two million people saw information about fancy dress at Halloween, fireworks, product safety online and laser pointers, with the campaign running right through to Christmas with toy safety.
Ahead of EU Exit, OPSS is working with Trading Standards at key entry points to strengthen the UK’s ability to stop unsafe products at the border. It has made additional investment this year to support local authority led teams at points of entry in the UK, through National Trading Standards.