Trading Standards ties up compliance deal with Fleetwood toy firm

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards has made a ground-breaking agreement with a major local toy company to offer advice and support on product safety.

HTIThe deal between the authority and Fleetwood-based HTI Group is the first time that Lancashire Trading Standards has signed a Primary Authority agreement – a special arrangement which allows a business to form a legally recognised partnership with a local council to receive tailored support on specific areas of law.

Primary Authority agreements are promoted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as a way to ensure businesses benefit from consistent regulation wherever they operate in the country.

Fleetwood-based HTI Group is the UK's largest privately owned children's toy designer and producer, making toys under its own brands, and under licence, for sale across the world.

The agreement means that Lancashire County Council becomes the company's sole advisor on product safety laws, and will be resourced by the business to coordinate enforcement across all locations used by them.

County councillor Azhar Ali, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "The agreement will reduce the burden of regulation on a major Lancashire firm, and save time and money for other regulators in the vital work of ensuring quality and safety standards are being met.

"Working closely with the company and offering professional advice and support to help them is very important. It is of great benefit to both the businesses and as well as to consumers who can be confident that we are all working together.

"This agreement with HTI Group will ensure a consistency of regulation at a national level whilst allowing sufficient flexibility to address local circumstances. It will help the company in its compliance with Trading Standards laws and have a positive impact on its future business growth."

HTI’s regional quality assurance manager for the EU, David Johnson, said: "The achievement of this agreement with Lancashire Trading Standards follows an 18 month process during which HTI has undergone a number of audits by the Lancashire Trading Standards Authority, entailing a comprehensive assessment of the company’s technical files and competences. "Our partnership will have a massive impact on efficiencies for HTI. The business has always worked closely with Trading Standards and formalising this with a Primary Authority agreement will foster an even closer relationship with the authority which will further develop best practice in the business."