Product safety: Working Group
Information about the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety.
The creation of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, bringing together experts in the fire services, trading standards, consumer groups and industry, was announced in October 2016 by the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Margot James. The Group is building on the earlier work of the previous Recall Review Steering Group set up in response to the Review of Consumer Product Recall undertaken by consumer champion and broadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood.
The Group met for the first time on 1 November 2016, and again on 14 December. Its next meeting is scheduled for 8 February 2017.
The Chair, Neil Gibbins, a former Deputy Chief Fire Officer and CEO of the Institution of Fire Engineers, has the full support of BEIS officials and meetings are supported by a BEIS secretariat.
- Neil Gibbins, Former Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Devon and Somerset (Chair)
- David Bolton, Product safety expert, British Retail Consortium (BRC)
- Steve Brunige, Head of Government Relations, British Standards Institution (BSI)
- Philip Buckle, Director General, Electrical Safety First, (ESF)
- Kate Corby, Partner, Baker McKenzie LLP
- Roland Earle, Chief Executive, British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA)
- Douglas Herbison, Technical expert, Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA)
- Leon Livermore, Chief Executive, Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
- Jonathan O’Neil, Chief Executive, the Fire Protection Association (FPA)
- Guy Pratt, Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO)
- Charlie Pugsley, Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA)
- Professor G. J. Rogers, Brunel University
- Mark Shepherd, Assistant Director, Association of British Insurers (ABI)
- Errol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)
- Daniel VandenBurg, Citizens Advice
- Melanie Wiseman, Legal adviser, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
The Working Group was tasked to develop options to improve the system of product recalls and safety. It was encouraged to pay particular attention to:
- identifying the causes of fire in white goods and the action needed to reduce them
- registration of electrical products at the point of sale
- the development of a code of practice for product recalls including the peer review of risk assessments
- improving the information available to consumers and the role of consumer education
- ways to improve the capture and use of data relating to faulty electrical goods
- the value of marking white goods to preserve their identification through fire
The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Margot James, asked for options and recommendations to improve the safety of white goods such as tumble dryers.
The Group has now submitted five initial recommendations to Margot James, which she is carefully considering. These are:
- greater coordination of product safety recalls and enforcement at the national level
- developing Primary Authority Partnerships
- developing a Code of Practice on managing effective correction action (including recalls)
- government support for AMDEA’s ‘Register my Appliance’
- research into consumer behaviour to understand how best to encourage consumers to engage with a corrective action when a problem is identified with a product
The Group will provide a full set of recommendations and report of its findings in Spring 2017.
Cutting Red Tape review
In March 2016, the Government announced a Cutting Red Tape review of local authority enforcement, which will be published this year. The Minister has asked the team undertaking it to provide her with specific advice on product safety enforcement.
The independent review of UK consumer product recalls published in February 2016 made 8 main recommendations. One was that there should be an official trusted website on recalls for business and the public. An interim solution, providing links to significant sources of information on product recalls, is available on GOV.UK.
An independent review of the product recall system was announced by Baroness Neville-Rolfe in November 2014, during the House of Lords Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill. This was chaired by Lynn Faulds Wood.
The government recommended the establishment of a Recall Review Steering Group (RRSG), led by industry and relevant experts, to evaluate this independent review and the government’s response, both published in February 2016. The RRSG met three times in 2016. Its key objective was to improve the UK recall system and improve consumer safety more generally, whilst identifying ways to further engage business and consumers. A target of 24 months was agreed to meet three main targets, which were to:
- establish a ‘centre of excellence’ or official website for business and the public
- more reliable, detailed guidance on product recall (templates, British Standards)
- the ‘mapping’ of organisations involved in product recall and better data and information sharing to prevent injury, damage and death
The role and membership of the group have now been expanded to consider wider issues of product safety and recall.