#OurDay - Suffolk Trading Standards - how we use social media

Suffolk Trading Standards is the enforcement service that is responsible for protecting consumers and legitimate traders from scams and unfair trading. We are working to achieve a fair and safe trading environment and informed confident consumers. 

Historically, we were known as Suffolk Weights and Measures Department because our primary function was to maintain the integrity of commercial weighing and measuring, by the routine testing of equipment and goods.

We now deal with more diverse issues under a wide variety of Acts, Orders and Codes of Practice, as set out by central government, the Food Standards Agency and the Office of Fair Trading.

We advise on and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services.

These laws cover a wide area, which includes:

  • Counterfeit goods
  • Product labelling
  • Product safety
  • Food labelling
  • Weights and measures
  • Under-age sales, and
  • Animal welfare

 

Suffolk Trading Standards was awarded ‘Best use of social media’ and shortlisted for ‘Best example of citizen engagement’ at the recent UK Public Sector Digital Awards, for its pioneering approach in the use of social media to protect consumers.

Suffolk Trading Standards Facebook Page Screen Shot

We use a combination of a blog, Facebook page, Twitter and GovDelivery e-mail updates to Suffolk consumers and businesses. Since June 2010, we have received a total of over 21,000 views of our blog. We have nearly 2000 views of our Facebook page a week, and are followed by over 1300 people on twitter. We also have over 2,200 sign ups to our e-mail updates.

Our Consumer Champion Network, facilitated by social media, has recruited, trained and deployed over 150 volunteers since January 2011, working alongside the department to build scam awareness and resilience to rogue traders across Suffolk.

We are able to target our scarce resources at those areas of consumer detriment that our followers are reporting to us. The viral effect has magnified our message and is creating fewer victims, as evidenced by our scam alert service. Our online presence has even catalysed local press and broadcasting interest in our wider work, such that our messages are filling both social and traditional media channels.

For more information, please go to:

@SuffolkTS

www.facebook.com/SuffolkTradingStandards

www.suffolktradingstandards.wordpress.com

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