The government has announced the creation of the new ‘Office of Product Safety and Standards’. But will this new department be the fix we desperately need to improve our safety system?
Over the past year, the evidence has continued to build that the product safety system is failing with yet more unsafe products hitting the headlines.
As many of you will know, we’ve been pressing for the government to bring forward reforms to fix the broken system. Well, today the government has announced that it is recognising the need for action. It will be creating a central resource within the government department responsible for product safety, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
While we’re pleased the problem with product safety is finally being recognised, the announcement falls short of the full overhaul urgently needed.
Product safety reform
We want the government to introduce an independent national body that has real powers to protect consumers.
Following the concerns about the product safety system raised by us, Lynn Faulds-Wood and then the BEIS Select Committee, the government has announced a new ‘Office of Product Safety and Standards’ team. However, this is not independent as it sits within the government.
BEIS states that this new ‘Office of Product Safety and Standards’ will:
- Co-ordinate work across local authorities where action is needed on a national scale
- Ensure the UK continues to carry out appropriate border checks once the UK leaves the EU
- Be responsible for general (non-food) consumer product safety in line with the current responsibilities of BEIS on product safety
- Have a budget of around £12 million per year when fully operational
With the whole Whirlpool tumble dryer saga and our report on the failings of the product safety system, the lack of protections in place to keep people safe from dangerous products has become more obvious.
We think an independent national body which has real powers to protect them and get dangerous products out of their homes is necessary. We don’t believe the government is going far enough, do you think they should do more? What’s your view of the product safety system?