Fighting fraud with the Electrical Safety Council

23 July 2009

Round Table on counterfeit goods

Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recently played host to a range of organizations at a roundtable debate on counterfeit and sub-standard electrical installation products. A report of the event will soon be made available on the ESC website.

It’s estimated that £30m worth of counterfeit electrical products reach the UK each year, with up to 15% of the world trade thought to be comprised of counterfeit goods (which, in a number of cases, is linked to the financing of other criminal activity).

The roundtable – which was attended by senior representatives from central government, enforcement agencies and the electrical installation industry – is seen as a major step in creating an integrated strategy to combat counterfeit and non-compliant products.

Actions arising from the event will see the Electrical Safety Council developing a range of campaigns to raise awareness of key issues and act as the primary coordinator on counterfeit products for the sector.

“Counterfeit products in the electrical sector are becoming increasingly prevalent,” explained Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council. “Although the legislative framework for dealing with this problem is regarded as fit for purpose, the issue is about its implementation. We need to consider how we can best work collectively to address areas of specific concern – in particular the growing trade of counterfeit goods over the internet, and issues in relation to the CE safety mark – as well as the need for the industry to present consistent, co-coordinated messages.” While counterfeit goods such as watches and DVDs have received extensive publicity, public awareness of the dangers of counterfeit electrical installation products needs to increase, as such products are almost always substandard and their use can result in injury and sometimes death.

“I am delighted to see the Electrical Safety Council take the initiative by bringing together key stakeholders to explore ways in which we can all work together to address the problem of counterfeiting,” commented Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, who chaired the roundtable. This was a view echoed by Dave Dossett, past Chairman of the ESC and Executive Chairman of BEAMA, who said: “It is in everyone’s interest that the electrical industry and other relevant organisations unite to tackle this global problem.”

The roundtable event also served as an opportunity for participants to sign up to the Electrical Installation Industry Charter, which commits organisations to reducing the trade in non-compliant electrical products and improving consumer safety. New signatories to the Charter include the Trading Standards Institute, the Alliance against Intellectual Property Theft and Intertek.

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