Research and Analytics

Environmental Services

Trading Standards Statistics

February 2010

Trading standards and consumer protection services are intended to secure and maintain a fair and safe trading environment by ensuring that individuals are protected and that businesses compete on equal terms. They form one of a number of key regulatory services within the environmental services responsibilities of local authorities.

Trading standards perform a range of functions, though there is a degree of variation between different authorities. They enforce over 80 Acts of parliament and have powers of prosecution. They also act as a source of information and advice to the general public. The services are located in county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs in England, and in the unitary authorities in Wales and Scotland.


In 2009-10 local authorities in Great Britain are expecting to spend a total of 213m on the provision of the Trading Standards Service, with income of 29m anticipated from grants, fees and charges for services such as weights and measures testing. Net expenditure on the service shows a 2.1% increase from 208m spent in 2008-09. Over the same period the RPI has decreased by 1.2%.

The Trading Standards Service is particularly labour intensive, with an estimated 68% of gross costs arising from employee expenses in 2008-09. More than 4,300 FTE staff were expected to be employed by services in Great Britain at 1st April 2009, which represents a decrease of 0.5% over 2008.

Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service, funded by the OFT and supported by local authorities nationally to offer advice to people on consumer issues. It would appear that its impact has been very significant, with the number of consumer led enquiries and complaints falling from more than 1.0 million in 2004-05 to just over 530,000 in 2008-09, a drop of 45.7% over six years. However in the last year the number has risen by 6.8%.

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February 2010

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