Headlines: November 15th, 2007

Trading standards staff at Cambridgeshire County Council have become the first ever winners of the Better Regulation Award at the National Business Awards. The so-called ‘Business Oscars’ are givern annually in recognition of excellence in business achievement, innovation and success.

The new award is sponsored by the Better Regulation Executive, part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Business Secretary John Hutton, who was at the awards ceremony in London to give the opening address, said he was pleased his own department was sponsoring the new prize as it was in line with the mission to create the right conditions for business success and to foster an enterprise culture and reduce the burdens on businesses.

Cambridgeshire’s Tradings Standards Team took the award for their “Think 21” campaign, which was designed to cut the sale of age-restricted goods, such as alcohol, solvents, blades and some DVDs, to under-age customers and therefore to reduce the number of prosecutions for illegal sales. It works through a combination of enforcement, consumer education and links with businesses and has cut the sale of alcohol to minors by 43 per cent. The project is run with partner organisations including the police, the primary care trust and schools and aims to keep young people safe as well as reducing cases of anti-social behaviour in the county. A series of seminars were organised to explain the campaign to retailers.

The award was presented by William Sargent, the Executive Chair of the BRE, who said, “Light touch regulation, whilst upholding essential protections, is crucial if we are to make regulation work for everyone. Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards Team’s “Think 21″ campaign shows this can be done innovatively, efficiently, and with successful results.”