Consumer Minister Jenny Willott today announced TrustMark approved trades people will be measured against a new core criteria and urged the industry to meet these new standards, which cover customer service, good trading practices and technical competence.
Some of the main changes 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 ("scheme operators must...").
- 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.
TrustMark chairman Liz Male, who spoke at the recent Association of Professional Landscaper Awards (APL) about the benefits of the scheme, 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.
"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. We can now show that TrustMark is truly fit for purpose in a modern market."
Consumer Minister Jenny Willott, said that TrustMark gave consumers confidence and put rogue operators out of business. She added: "I would encourage all legitimate and honest tradesmen to sign up to this scheme."
The Government's chief construction adviser Peter Hansford said that improving the image of construction was central to the Government's industrial strategy.
The launch also marks the start of a new marketing and PR campaign to push TrustMark to both members and users. In January the organisation reported big rises in the number of searches for registed tree consultants, tree surgeons and garden landscapers after the winter storms.
All APL members must sign up to the TrustMark scheme.