Surrey and Buckinghamshire’s trading standards service has celebrated forging partnerships with 100 businesses to help them thrive.
The service welcomed Squire’s Garden Centres as the 100th firm to join its scheme to cut red tape for businesses, supporting them to grow and provide excellent service to customers.
To mark the milestone, trading standards officers teamed up with Squire’s to revamp the garden at a Woking children’s home.
Under the “primary authority” scheme, a business can apply the tailored advice of one trading standards service to any area around the country they work in. The scheme helps businesses operate with confidence while also protecting consumers from poor practices.
Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards – established as a joint service in 2015 – now has primary authority partnerships with 100 businesses and organisations, both big and small, across the two counties and nationally. Firms include Coca-Cola Enterprises, Shell, Esso, Waitrose and Toyota.
In celebration of its latest partnership, and to highlight the benefits of working together, the service joined forces with Squire’s to revitalise the garden at Burbank, a residential home for children. Plants were donated by Squire’s.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience, said: “It’s great news that 100 companies big and small – from household names to start-ups – are now benefiting from the expertise of our award-winning trading standards service. Our officers support firms to navigate all the rules and regulations relating to their business, helping them to make decisions with confidence and provide high standards of customer service, and I’d encourage others to get in touch to find out more.
“The project to revamp the garden at Burbank is a wonderful example of how businesses and trading standards can work together to make a real difference in our communities.”
Sharon Newton, Burbank manager, said: “It is important that children understand where food comes from and they have had much pleasure in planting from seed, caring and nurturing the vegetables and herbs and then finally being able to harvest, ‘fork to fork’, and enjoy the simple pleasures of a homegrown tomato or carrot.”
As part of its service to Squire’s, which has 15 garden centres in Surrey, Sussex and London, trading standards will link the firm with other regulators, such as Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, for specialised advice.
Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, said: “As a family-owned business we believe our centres should be at the absolute heart of the community. There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our colleagues and customers and the integrity of our products. Who could be better to advise us than the experts at our primary authority?”
Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards won a national award from the government last year in recognition of its primary authority work.
Graham Russell, CEO of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, said: “With their innovative approach to partnerships, the team continues to demonstrate why they were recognised for outstanding leadership in primary authority.”
Find out more here about primary authority and the support trading standards can offer businesses, including a helpline and e-learning.