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Trading standards officer: job description

Trading standards officer: job description

Trading standards officers are responsible for monitoring, promoting and maintaining safe and fair trading standards and for enforcing legislation that protects both the consumer and the law-abiding trader alike.
A full driving licence is normally essential for all jobs.

What does a trading standards officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Trading standards officers check that products, services and equipment match advertised specifications and comply with quality standards.

Other responsibilities include:

  • writing reports
  • compiling records
  • gathering prosecution evidence
  • investigating complaints
  • managing junior staff
  • serving legal notices
  • providing evidence in court

A large amount of time is spent away from the office meeting consumers and visiting premises such as shops, farms, food outlets, pubs, markets, importers, manufacturers and warehouses.

Typical employers of trading standards officers

  • Local authorities
  • Trading standards institute
  • Advertising standards authority

Advertisements for training places normally appear during early summer in newspapers and publications such as Opportunities and Municipal Journal. Trading Standards Review contains details of opportunities for qualified staff. Many jobs are only ever advertised locally, so speculative applications are advisable (the directory Municipal Journal contains relevant contact details).

Qualifications and training required

Graduates are normally preferred by employers, particularly those with a consumer protection/science qualification. A law, business studies or social sciences degree can also be helpful. Vocational training for graduates without relevant degrees includes the postgraduate trading standards diploma.

The minimum academic requirements for entry into the profession are three GCSEs (grades A-C) including physics, mathematics and English and two A-levels, or the equivalent.

Key skills for trading standards officers

  • Confidence
  • Maturity
  • Diplomacy
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Verbal communication skills
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