TrustMark, the Government-backed quality mark for reputable tradesmen, will be relaunched today by Consumer Minister Jenny Willott with new improved standards of consumer protection under a renewed master licence from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Peter Hansford, the Government’s chief construction adviser, will also emphasise the Government’s strong commitment to TrustMark and call upon more firms to get behind the scheme.
TrustMark’s relaunch will bring together more than 100 invited guests from industry and consumer protection groups at a reception in Westminster.
The Consumer Minister will announce the new core criteria and will urge the whole industry to meet these new standards, which cover customer service, good trading practices and technical competence.
Some of the key changes to the TrustMark core criteria include:
- Firmer standards. The old requirements in the licence and core criteria spoke about scheme operators using “best endeavours” to meet certain standards, and gave “examples” of checks and activities that they might use to demonstrate compliance. Now the core criteria talks about scheme operators’ requirements.
- More specific standards. For example, whereas before scheme operators had to have a general commitment to raising standards, now they need to show how they are raising standards to address identified areas of consumer detriment and other trade-specific issues.
- More vetting of tradesmen, including specific checks that must be done on firms upon entry to the scheme, but also at renewal stage or on an ongoing basis.
- More proactive use of complaints data by scheme operators, more reporting of that data, more transparency in the complaints process.
- Changes to protect the brand and reduce misuse of the TrustMark logo.
- A new requirement for scheme operators to develop ways to measure the effectiveness of their code of practice and how it reduces consumer detriment, and to keep it regularly reviewed in the light of changing customer expectations in their sector.
Existing scheme operators will have 12 months to adapt to the new core criteria, and TrustMark will give them every assistance.
All new scheme operators who apply after the relaunch will be assessed against the new core criteria from day one.
The core criteria will also be reviewed and updated every year from now on to maintain the drive for higher standards.
TrustMark chairman Liz Male said: “The relaunch of TrustMark is a clear sign to industry and any reputable firm in the domestic sector that Government wants to give more recognition. TrustMark provides the best tradesmen with the opportunity to thrive through reputational benefits, increased business opportunities and quality referrals from the TrustMark website and other signposting channels.
“The new core criteria also reflects that so much has changed since 2005 - including new laws and much higher expectations and understanding of ‘what good looks like’ by industry, consumers, Government and all stakeholders. The ‘new TrustMark’ aims to increase confidence among consumers, which is at the heart of a successful and economically strong market.”