We supervise the hallmarking activities of the 4 assay offices in the UK to ensure there is adequate provision of hallmarking within the UK.
We are responsible for:
working with the Assay Offices Council, and the Trading Standards Institute and its departments 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, Innovation and Skills
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)
In 2015, our priorities will be:
reviewing and implementing the recommendations of the triennial review of the Council undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
continuing to support the assay offices and trading standards departments in monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Hallmarking Act and in raising awareness of it
continuing to establish the equivalence of European Economic Area hallmarks with a view to publishing a list of approved national marks, as well as ensuring the list of countries covered by the International Hallmarking Convention published on our website is up-to-date
Who we are
We have between 16 and 19 members, 10 of whom are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. We always have 3 members with consumer protection experience and 4 who trade or produce articles of precious metal.
The assay offices appoint 6 members to the council, 2 from Assay Office London, 2 from Birmingham Assay Office and 1 each from the Sheffield and Edinburgh assay offices. We may co-opt (elect people from outside the Assay Offices) up to 2 further members. The members hold office for terms of 3 years. The assay masters (assay office chief executives) can’t be council members, but they have a right to attend and speak at meetings.
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.