Safety recommendations do not go far enough, according to consumer watchdog
Consumer watchdog Which? has slammed the Working Group’s report into Product Safety, following its recent publication, stating it does not go far enough
The group which was formed by consumer minister Margot James, explored the recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood in her independent review of consumer products.
Which? is calling for “a well-resourced independent national body, which puts consumers first, operates transparently and with a duty to directly communication with consumers, identifying dangerous goods and making sure they are removed from people’s homes.”
The Working Group has currently outlined a central resource that will support local authorities but, in Which?’s opinion, this is not far enough.
Instead, Which? is calling for a “single, reliable and authoritative website that will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information and advice when dangerous products are identified or recalls are required.” It believes the Government should do that as a matter of urgency.
Although Which? reocgnises a website has been set up, it states “but this only co-ordinates links to a range of relevant sites. This is not a true ‘one-stop-shop’, where consumers can quickly and easily see which products are affected.”
Which? further criticises the promotion of primary authority partnerships between businesses and local authorities, as it states this failed consumers in the case of Whirlpool tumble dryers that posed a fire risk.
It states: “We are concerned that primary authority partnerships can lead to a potential conflict between local authorities acting in their advisory capacity and thier ability to step in and enforce when needed.”
According to Which? although the report has developed a code of practice on recall and emphasises the role of voluntary standard ut its claims it would mean a continued over reliance on businesses to ‘do the right thing’ across a range of products.
Instead, Which? is calling for a reviwe of the regulatory framework, as the country leaves the EU, including a balance between industry-led compliance and independent oversight.
Chief Executive of Which? Peter Vicary-Smith commented: “These recommendations are not the fundamental reform needed to fix the UK’s broken product safety system, which currently poses grave risks to consumers.
“Which is calling on the government to take urgent action to put consumers first and to create a new national body to lead on product safety, as well as a genuine ‘one-stop-shop’ to provide authoritative information and advice when dangerous products are identified or recalls are required.”