We are responsible for:
- working with the Assay Offices and Trading Standards to ensure that hallmarking law is enforced
- creating regulations to help the Assay Offices (the official UK bodies who test the purity of precious metals) in their work and to help the UK jewellery trade grow
- proposing legal changes and advising the Secretary of State for Business and Trade
- maintaining the high standards of the UK’s hallmarking facilities
- monitoring the work of the UK Assay Offices and their established sub-offices (including any sub-offices offshore)
For 2022, our priorities are:
- enterprise, promoting hallmarking as the guarantee of the integrity of the precious metals industry
- improving the regulation of precious metals marketed online
- encouraging risk-based and proportionate enforcement of hallmarking across trading standards
- operational integrity
- council members and chair, inductions, appraisals and recruitment
- governance and administration, review in line with the Framework Document
Read our corporate statement to find out how we are performing against our priorities.
Who we are
The Assay Offices appoint 6 members to the council:
- 2 from Birmingham Assay Office
- 1 from Edinburgh Assay Office
- 2 from London Assay Office
- 1 from Sheffield Assay Office
See the Membership page for details.
We may co-opt (elect people from outside the Assay Offices) up to 2 further members. Such members are usually recommended by the Edinburgh and Sheffield Assay Offices. The Assay Masters (Assay Office Chief Executives) can’t be council members, but they have a right to attend and speak at meetings.
Ten council members are appointed by the Secretary of State. These members hold office for terms of 3 years.
We are funded entirely by the 4 UK Assay Offices who split the costs between them.
We normally meet twice a year where we receive a report from each Assay Office on its activities, and are supplied with statistical information which includes the number of articles assayed.
The Assay Offices
Assay Offices test the purity of precious metals, to protect consumers from buying fake items. If an item conforms with the legal requirements for purity, the Assay Office marks it with the appropriate hallmark. In the UK, a hallmark can only be applied by one of the 4 Assay Offices.
There are 4 Assay Offices in the UK: