Suffolk County Council Trading Standards
Trading Standards is part of the Directorate of Fire & Public Safety of Suffolk County Council. Our role is to safeguard the interests of consumers and the county’s business community. Suffolk has over 757,000 consumers and is home to over 35,000 businesses, including the national and international headquarters of many companies. Suffolk Trading Standards has a significant contribution to make to safeguard people at risk through strong working relationships with both statutory and voluntary agencies. Each can help us to identify people who need protection and assistance in resolving everyday consumer issues and the investigation and where possible, resolution of cases of financial abuse.
- 4 January 2019
- East of England
- Legal, Local Authorities
- Local Alliances:
- Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
Suffolk Trading Standards has a significant contribution to make to safeguard people at risk through strong working relationships with both statutory and voluntary agencies. Each can help us to identify people who need protection and assistance in resolving everyday consumer issues and the investigation and where possible, resolution of cases of financial abuse.
The Service priorities are:
Prevent people from being victims of commercial crime in their own homes - by traders who may attempt to pressurise residents into making decisions they may later regret, in order to make sales or commission work.
Any form of financial abuse with regard to the provision of goods and services.
Disrupt dishonest traders operating via the doorstep, telephone, mail, internet and social media.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
We need to ensure that anyone who has suffered from financial abuse is aware of the support that Suffolk Trading Standards can offer. Also, we need to ensure that consumers are reporting crime, so we can build a better picture of where our resources need to be targeted – to ensure our prevention work is effective.
We also work in partnership with other organisations, sharing material, literature and offering training to their staff. Those organisations are then confident about referring victims to the Service and knowing they will be signposted and assisted accordingly.
We acknowledge that delivering our outcomes is challenging in these financially difficult times. But we are passionate about helping the consumers and businesses of Suffolk, so we work to adapt and change our processes, to find savings but always to deliver an improved service.
Ensuring staff are trained in Dementia Awareness
The training which Officers have received enables them to advise, support and assist people at risk of financial abuse. Suffolk consumers who contact the service directly or are referred to the service by partners have issues concerning the way goods and services have been provided or instances of financial abuse e.g. scam victims or doorstep crime victims. We may also be able to assist in instances where the consumer lacks mental capacity to contract for the provision of goods and services.
It has been established that victims of doorstep crime and financial abuse are often over the age of 70 years, are lonely and may be socially isolated. Due to the mental capacity issues related to dementia, this increases the risk of such adults becoming targets of financial abuse. It is essential that Officers have had the necessary training to recognise people whose capacity may be impaired.
Suffolk Trading Standards has worked with the Dementia Friends to train staff to improve their ability to support those living with dementia and their families/carers.
Providing public education events with our partners
Protecting residents from scams and doorstep crime is a key service priority for Suffolk Trading Standards, as it strengthens community safety. The Service is committed to delivering better outcomes for people with dementia.
We work with key partners such as Adult Social Care, Police, Health, Dementia Friends and other third sector organisations to provide training/education events to the public, staff and volunteers regarding scams and doorstep crime. This is to increase awareness of incidents and encourage reporting. By also raising awareness of sources of support and abuse prevention that the service and other agencies can provide, it enables us all to assist people with dementia to remain safe in their homes.
Publicity campaigns and alerts
We conduct appropriate media and publicity campaigns to highlight the dangers of scams and doorstep crime.
We issue scam and doorstep crime alerts on a regular basis through our newsletter to 650+ Consumer Champions called “Check it Tuesday” and have regular communications going out on our Facebook and Twitter feeds which reach over 10,000 people.
We undertake appropriate enforcement activities to deal with scams and doorstep crime offenders, such as taking part in Police operations to stop commercial vehicles and speaking with traders. During criminal investigations we also consider alternative ways of obtaining evidence from victims of crime living with dementia.