Trading Standards Officer Careers

How to become Trading Standards Officer

What does a Trading Standards Officer do?

Trading standards officers are employed by local government to enforce the law and regulations that govern goods and services which are bought and sold. The work involves investigating complaints and monitoring quality by visiting businesses and traders.

The type of work may differ depending on location, for example a city-based officer could deal with street traders and counterfeit goods, whereas those based in rural areas may deal more often with livestock issues. Typical duties include:

  • testing traders’ equipment
  • taking samples
  • checking that claims about products are accurate
  • checking legality of imports
  • writing reports and keeping records
  • advising consumers and traders.
Trading standards officers are often required to give evidence in court. Many will also have a public relations and education role, giving talks to schools and community groups.

They are supported by enforcement/fair trading officers, who undertake similar work with some exceptions, and consumer advisors, who are often the first point of call for informing the public and traders on consumer law.

What's the working environment like working as a Trading Standards Officer?

Trading standards officers often work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Flexible hours are usually available and part-time working and job sharing may be possible.

They are office-based, but spend much of their time visiting businesses and traders. Trading standards officers enter all sorts of premises, some of which can be unpleasant. They are also frequently required to attend court.

Travelling is an essential element of the work.

What does it take to become a Trading Standards Officer?

To be a trading standards officer, you should:

  • be able to pay attention to detail
  • be able understand the practicalities of proposals for a business
  • be able to absorb technical and complex information
  • have sound judgement
  • keep up-to-date with technical and legislative changes
  • be able to work alone or as part of a team
  • be patient, resilient and diplomatic
  • have good written and spoken communication skills
  • have good IT skills.

Trading Standards Officer Career Opportunities

Trading standards officers are employed by local authorities. There are around 1,500 trading standards officers in the UK. There are opportunities to work in private industry in an advisory capacity and you may also set up a consultancy giving specialist advice.

There is a clear promotional structure to senior officer, section head and divisional officer; however, departments are often small so a move may be required for promotion. There may be opportunities to move into general management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Trading Standards Officer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Trading Standards Institute
First Floor
1 Sylvan Court
Sylvan Way
Southfields Business Park
SS15 6TH
Tel: 0870 872 9000

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