The Government has set up a new “national oversight body tasked with identifying consumer risks and managing responses to large-scale product recalls and repairs” in response to the Working Group report on product recalls and safety, which was published in July 2017.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards – which will be part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – will “enable the UK to meet the evolving challenges of product safety by responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online shopping and the increasing rate of product innovation”, the Government said.

The new office – which will have a budget of around £12m per year – will provide support and advice for local authority Trading Standards teams, as well as working across local authorities “where action is needed on a national scale”. It will also be responsible for ensuring “appropriate border checks” are made on imported products once the UK has left the EU.

The Government said it will continue to work with consumer groups, manufacturers and retailers to “ensure the office coordinates the UK’s product safety regime as effectively as possible”, but noted that the creation of the new office “will not lessen any of the legal responsibilities that sit with manufacturers, importers and retailers to present safe products to the market, and to take rapid effective action when safety issues arise with their products”.

“The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety regime and will allow consumers to continue to buy secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced,” said business minister Andrew Griffiths.

The Government said it is also working with the British Standards Institution to provide guidance on product recalls, as well as conducting research to “help manufacturers and retailers develop technological solutions to product marking and identification”. It will also be creating an “expert panel” to bring together trade associations and consumer and enforcement representatives to advise on product safety issues “as they arise”.

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