Building trust – Norfolk County Council strengthens Trusted Trader scheme
17 November 2020Norfolk residents can search for local traders with more confidence as Norfolk County Council Trading Standards strengthens and expands its Norfolk Trusted Trader scheme.
A £168,898 grant has been awarded by the Norfolk Strategic Fund (NSF) in recognition of projects that support the county’s economic recovery during and after Covid-19.
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships said: “I am delighted the NSF has made this award which will be used to expand and strengthen the Norfolk Trusted Trader scheme.
“This is an excellent scheme which supports Norfolk businesses and helps to increase resident’s confidence by giving them access to carefully vetted local companies and protecting them from rogue traders and doorstep crime.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many of our local businesses have had periods when they have been unable to trade, and some face an uncertain future. Norfolk County Council is committed to ensuring Norfolk has a strong economy and this grant will enable us to support local businesses with a range of new initiatives as they recover from the impact of Covid-19.
“We will be recruiting new members and widening Norfolk Trusted Trader’s reach across the county, especially in areas with lower member numbers and under-represented trade sectors, such as Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and North Norfolk. I would encourage any residents who use a quality local business to suggest they consider joining the scheme.”
The new initiatives planned for members include additional advice, training and skills development to support and develop their business. This will include quarterly webinars covering topics to aid business recovery, greener business working and customer feedback.
The scheme is also developing a member panel to build member led improvement of the scheme and all Norfolk Trusted Traders members will be receiving additional advice to ensure they are using COVID-19 Secure working practices and have appropriate risk assessments in place.
The funding has enabled Trading Standards to kick start the recruitment drive with a special offer for existing members and new members.
Existing members have been given a six-month free additional membership to support them during Covid-19 which has been added to their current term. Whilst the first 300 new members to successfully pass the application process will receive a 50% discount on their first-year membership fees.
To find a Trusted Trader or to join the scheme visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader
Case study – RLS Computer Services LimitedRob Lucas, Company Director of RLS Computer Services Limited, is proud to be the first IT company to be listed on the Norfolk Trusted Trader scheme, when it was launched just over ten years ago.
The company, which is based in West Norfolk, provides IT support and supplies equipment to customers in their own homes as well as a range of other settings, including schools, care homes and commercial premises.
Rob recalls what led him to the Norfolk Trusted Trader scheme. “An elderly lady had called us out but when I arrived at her house, she had forgotten the call and became extremely anxious and scared to see a stranger at her door. Fortunately, a neighbour was able to contact the family who helped to resolve the situation.”
For Rob, this upsetting incident highlighted the need for businesses to have valid proof that they are who they say they are. “Being a member of Norfolk Trusted Trader has benefited our business. To join the scheme, we went through a strict vetting and validation process, which we were very happy and willing to undertake. Knowing a company has been thoroughly checked is reassuring and gives customers peace of mind. We display our Norfolk Trusted Trader membership wherever we can - on our website, social media, printed literature and adverts.”
The Norfolk Strategic FundIs a £6.75 million fund to provide funding for Norfolk’s local authority/New Anglia LEP led projects aimed at supporting the county to recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic through specific targeted projects or by bringing forward the delivery of key infrastructure.
Norfolk County Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Norfolk’s district councils have all invested in the fund.
Trusted Trader schemeTo join the Trusted Trader scheme, all businesses must undergo a series of background checks by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and agree to comply with strict standards as part of the accreditation process.
Current members include trade sectors such as home improvements and maintenance, personal care services, professional services and garages. The scheme has an online directory which consumers can use to find an accredited trader.