At a launch event at Islington Town Hall on Thursday 22nd March, Which? Trusted Traders and Islington Trading Standards publicly announced a joint endorsement scheme to cover the London Borough of Islington. The launch was attended by Raj Kakar-Clayton MD of Which? Trusted Traders and Cllr Andy Hull of Islington, three Islington-based Which? Trusted traders plus representatives from both Which? Trusted Traders and Islington Trading Standards.
In his speech at the launch event Cllr Andy Hull, explained how linking up with Which? Trusted Traders was part of a wider process to tackle a range of trading standards violations. Joining up with Which? Trusted Traders and recognising good traders will help residents avoid dodgy traders in particular.
As part of the new scheme, Islington-based traders now have the opportunity to be jointly endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders and Islington Trading Standards, to give them a unique standing in the local community. It’s an exciting prospect for the Trading Standards team in Islington, as the partnership gives them the capacity to actively help residents find trustworthy traders for the first time.
What does this mean for traders in Islington?
Traders wishing to join the scheme will need to undergo the Which? Trusted Traders assessment, involving a series of background checks – including criminal records, creditworthiness and insurance. References are taken from previous customers and applicants must agree to abide by the Which? Trusted Traders Code of Conduct.
Beyond the assessment by Which? Trusted Traders, those applying will need to successfully complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and pass the intelligence check by Islington Trading Standards in order to join. The assessment process is thorough and not every business will meet the high standards required. The joint scheme will give people in Islington greater reassurance when choosing a trader.
What does this mean for consumers in Islington?
The joint scheme will give Islington residents a clear source of trustworthy traders. Residents will be able to find traders in their local area on the Which? Trusted Traders site – www.trustedtraders.which.co.uk. Consumers will have the reassurance of knowing that all endorsed traders have successfully passed the joint Which? Trusted Traders and Islington Trading Standards assessment.
In addition, all endorsed Which? Trusted Traders have access to an alternative dispute resolution service run by the Dispute Ombudsman, in the event there should be a problem with the work.
Raj Kakar-Clayton, Managing Director of Which? Trusted Traders, said: ‘By working with Islington Trading Standards we are offering tradespeople the opportunity to be part of something that will really make them stand out in the local community.
Whether they’re looking for a local locksmith, builder or mechanic, we know that residents in Islington and further afield will benefit from the reassurance of this joint endorsement.’
Why Which? Trusted Traders?
This new relationship for Which? Trusted Traders and Islington comes on the back of the successful working relationship established with Hertfordshire Council in 2016. Islington Trading Standards chose to partner with Which? Trusted Traders, as it is a familiar, trusted, national brand backed by one of the most recognisable organisations working on behalf of consumers.
This gives Islington Trading Standards access to all the communications and media attention that Which? attracts. In turn this raises the profile of the scheme and helps to bring in new members, benefitting consumers in the area who are looking for a reliable source of traders.
Which? Trusted Traders is committed to raising standards by rigorously assessing and checking businesses. Not all traders that apply will reach the standard required to become endorsed, but those that don’t will receive guidance as to where they need to improve, in an attempt to raise standards, which mirrors the objectives of the Islington Trading Standards team.
Jan Hart, Islington Public Protection Service Director said, ‘Islington is the first borough in London to work with Which? Trusted Traders but it’d be great to see other boroughs following its lead’. We hope to partner with other local authorities in the future, to help local trading standards teams highlight the best tradespeople and make it easier for consumers to find a trader they can trust.