Statistical Support for the Trading Standards Institute’s Consumer Code Approval Scheme Stage 1 Applications

The TSI commissioned Select Statistics to set up the compliance assessment and performance management aspects of their new Consumer Code Approval Scheme and to provide advice to the codes transferring from the old OFT scheme.

Now, as one of the TSI’s two preferred ongoing statistical service providers, we are also able to offer help and advice directly to new organisations who wish to join the scheme.

We are able to offer statistical support throughout the application process to ensure that applications satisfy the required TSI standards and to ensure that any new monitoring systems are both cost-efficient and effective. We are also able to provide ongoing support to ensure that the scheme, once approved, continues to operate efficiently and effectively as the code grows and develops.

Select were really easy to work with and clearly understood what we were looking to achieve. They quickly and efficiently reviewed our existing systems and gave us a clear and useful report outlining their comments and practical recommendations. I would certainly recommend using Select if you’re thinking of joining the CCAS Scheme.
Stephen Vickers – Director General, British Association of Removers

About the Scheme

The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) is a form of facilitated self-regulation for retailers that aims to;

  • Raise consumer service standards through the approval and promotion of self-regulatory business-to-consumer codes of practice;
  • Promote consumer interests by setting out the principles of effective service;
  • Demonstrate above-and-beyond consumer law obligations to set a higher standard of consumer protection; and
  • Help consumers identify trusted traders through the right to display the TSI Approved code logo that consumers can trust.

Full details of the scheme are available on the CTSI’s CCAS website.

New codes are established via a two-stage application process. The first stage requires new applicants to describe in detail their proposed new scheme. The second stage requires them to put their scheme into practice and demonstrate that it works as intended.

The Stage 1 Application Process

In order to submit an application for stage 1 approval of the CTSI’s consumer code approval scheme, you need a certificate from a chartered statistician indicating that the compliance and performance monitoring elements of your application adhere to statistical good practice.

This isn’t quite as intimidating as it sounds and the main reason for this requirement is to ensure that all new codes are set up in as efficient manner as possible and benefit from best practices established by existing codes. This ensures the long-term financial viability of the codes and, of course, that they are each effective in reducing consumer detriment within the relevant sector.

Our Services

Select are one of two CCAS preferred statistical service providers and we have reviewed the majority of the CCAS codes. We also advised the CTSI on setting the scheme up when it transferred from the OFT in 2013 and produced both the guidelines and guidance notes that the CCAS provide for new applicants.

We offer two distinct levels of services for organisations seeking Stage 1 approval under the CTSI’s consumer code approval scheme:

  • We can review your application and provide feedback on the likelihood of it being acceptable to the CTSI; or
  • We can help you draft the application.

The first of these two options is usually by far the most cost efficient so long as you feel confident that you are able to pull together the relevant documentation by yourself. Sarah Langley and her staff at the CTSI are on hand to offer free general advice on putting your application together, but sometimes a hybrid of the two options above works well in which we provide general guidance and advice on specific aspects of your application before undertaking the review when the documentation is ready.

What Do We Need for the Review?

Every code is different but you will generally need to create the following documents in putting together your proposal and we would need to see these before undertaking a review:

  • A copy of the code
  • Section E of the CCAS application form created on their FluidReview system, together with the supplementary documents referred to on that form (e.g., the E1 and E2 checklists)
  • A copy of all audit (e.g., remote and on-site) checklists that you intend to use.
  • A copy of all questionnaires that you intend to use.
  • A spreadsheet or other table indicating how compliance with each rule within the code is checked e.g., by on-site audit, remote audit, customer feedback, complaints, mystery shoppers etc.

These documents should provide us with the information we need to understand and evaluate your application and the extent to which is complies with the CCAS criteria.

Once we have reviewed your application, we will provide you with a completed copy of our own CCAS Stage 1 approval checklist indicating how the application is likely to be viewed by the Board. The checklist will be supplemented with a brief report indicating the main areas (if any) for improvement and our assessment of the likelihood of the application being approved.

How Can We Help You Draft the Application?

If you need help drafting the application, this would normally involve an initial call or face-to-face meeting to discuss what is required and then we would provide specific suggestions as to what you might want to include on the form and in the associated documentation. It is not normally possible, nor appropriate, for us to simply write the application for you as each application needs to reflect the unique characteristics and constraints of the code concerned and so your code-specific input and expertise is an essential component in drafting a successful application. Instead, we will work closely with you and draft the proposal together to ensure that the application meets all of the relevant criteria whilst taking into account any practical constraints that your specific code might encounter.

We can help by providing guidance on any of the following:

  • General advice on the statistical elements of the CCAS scheme
  • How to select members for audit
  • Statistical analysis of audit and other data
  • Trend analysis
  • Questionnaire design
  • Developing measures of consumer detriment
  • Presentation of statistical data and results
  • Identifying risk factors and areas of concern
  • Using data to improve performance and reduce consumer detriment

Our Fees

Reviewing the first draft of your application is often a fairly substantial piece of work and our standard fee is £750 + VAT. If the application requires a revision we will be happy to review revised versions and to provide you with further feedback for an additional standard fee of £500 + VAT. As with our review of the initial draft application, we will provide you with a completed checklist, together with a brief report indicating the main areas for improvement and our assessment of the likelihood of the application being approved. We will not normally provide you with alternative text to use on the application form if you have asked us only to review your application.

If you need some initial advice before putting together your application or if, at any stage, you feel that you might need help in drafting part or all of the application we would be happy to provide this service on an hourly-fee basis at a rate of £125 + VAT per hour. The following provides a rough guide of the likely amount of work required for us to help you to develop an appropriate compliance assessment and performance monitoring scheme and to draft various elements of the Stage 1 Application form:

Development of appropriate performance indicators 2-4 hours
Written undertaking of the monitoring proposals 4-8 hours
Measuring the effectiveness of the code 2-4 hours
Detailed document outlining the performance measurement proposals 4-8 hours

 

Validation Certificates

If, after reviewing your application, we believe that it meets the relevant criteria we will be able to provide you with the validation certificate that you require in order to submit your Stage 1 application to the CTSI. The Certificate will be provided at no extra charge, but will only be issued once all outstanding invoices with us have been settled.

Once a certificate has been issued and your application submitted we will be happy to provide further assistance in responding to any queries raised by the CTSI during the Stage 1 approval process at no additional charge.

Complaints

We hope that you will never have cause to complain about the level of service that you receive from us. However, we will always deal with any complaints that we receive in a fair and transparent manner.

Should you be unhappy with the way in which we deal with any complaint, the CTSI have agreed to act as an independent arbiter for any of our clients that have chosen to use our services in support of their Stage 1 application. As one of the CTSI’s preferred statistical suppliers we value our professional reputation and have agreed to be bound by any decision that the CTSI might make with regards the services we provide to clients seeking Stage 1 approval.

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