What we do

We supervise the hallmarking activities of the 4 assay offices and ensure there is adequate provision of hallmarking within the UK.

What we do

We supervise the UK’s hallmarking system, guaranteeing the purity of precious metals to protect the consumer and the trade.

Responsibilities

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)

Priorities

In 2013, our priorities will be:

  • working with the National Measurement Office (NMO) to identify powers to be transferred to us
  • 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
  • helping the Department for Business & Skills and the NMO with our triennial review, ensuring that we continue with light-touch regulation to protect consumers as well as allowing businesses to grow
  • providing guidance to the assay offices on hallmarking outside of the UK, looking at liberalising the rules regarding sponsor’s (or manufacturer’s, name or maker’s) marks
  • considering European Economic Area hallmarks with a view to publishing a list of approved national marks, as well as publishing an up-to-date list of countries covered by the International Hallmarking Convention

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 two 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 3 times 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.

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