Senior representatives from UK consumer protection organizations form the Consumer Forum Council, which:
takes a strategic overview of consumer issues
explores potential standards solutions
guides CPIN’s priorities
provides the consumer perspective to BSI’s Standards, Policy, and Strategy Committee (SPSC)
BSI Consumer Forum Council draws together strategic thinkers from 16 Consumer Organisations (see list below) to work in the interests of protecting the consumers they represent, through British Standards. The CPIN Chair sits on the council alongside other organisations and this collaboration strengthens the consumer stakeholder voice in standards and helps to achieve a shared ambition to enhance consumer protection.
Nikki has more than 20 years’ experience in consumer research, publishing, advocacy and policy. She has held executive and non-executive positions and has significant strategic and organisational leadership experience. Nikki has worked on many areas important in standards – including safety and reliability, customer service, complaints and resolution, customer vulnerability, sustainability and digitalisation.
“I’m thrilled to be working with the big thought leaders in this area to strengthen the consumer stakeholder voice in standards and ensure that consumer interests shape BSI’s strategic priorities.’’
Case studies: Consumer Forum collaboration
CPIN and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) at BEIS collaborated to improve the product recall system for consumers. An OPSS spokesperson says: “Standards are part of the toolkit for tackling consumer problems, working alongside education and legislation. We had evidence that the product recall system was not well understood and therefore was not protecting consumers from unsafe products. We worked with BSI, through the Consumer Forum Council, to develop a PAS on Product Recalls to outline good practice for businesses and regulators. This proved to be a quick and effective way to raise awareness and improve processes.”
Domestic appliance fires
Which? research and data provides valuable evidence to support CPIN representatives in their work. In 2018 CPIN collaborated with Which?, Electrical Safety First and the London Fire Brigade to improve safety standards for domestic appliances to reduce the risk of fire. A spokesperson from Which? says: “Standards play an important role in consumer protection by providing a framework that helps businesses comply with legislation. British standards are also used in a lot of the comparative product testing that Which? undertakes.”
Button battery safety: New British Standard sets out safety requirements
The newly published PAS 7055:2021 specifies the safety requirements for button and coin batteries. CPIN Rep Michelle McKenna, who advocated for consumers on this standard, explains why the PAS is so important for consumer safety, and why CPIN involvement was crucial.
"Consumers expect that if a product is dangerous, there will be a warning attached. In practice, many button batteries, or products that contain them, have come with inadequate or non-existent safety warnings." Michelle McKenna
Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, said: “We have been collaborating with CPIN to contribute to a new standard for button batteries to make it harder for children to access potentially lethal batteries in everyday household products such as remote controls, gaming headsets and tea lights. Standards are vital in helping to protect children and reassuring parents that what they’re buying is safe. The organisations have all worked hard together with other stakeholders to produce a standard for button batteries.’’
Ashley Martin from RoSPA said: ‘This is an important step in protecting consumers and helping businesses adopt a consistent approach to product design with button batteries.
-We are proud to be one of the consumer forum members who collaborated in the steering group to advise on the new PAS 7055 safety standard for button batteries ‘
Electrical Safety First:
‘’In recent years, a number of children have suffered appalling injuries from ingesting coin or button batteries, which are of a similar size and shape to some sweets. As the recognised expert in home electrical safety, Electrical Safety First was delighted to work together in collaboration with other members of the Consumer Forum to develop the new PAS 7055 for these batteries. We believe this new standard will do much to help reduce the likelihood of further tragic accidents. And, as a free download from the BSI website, it can be widely distributed and easily accessible – particularly for small and medium sized businesses.’’
How to get involved
Join the BSI Consumer Forum
If you work in consumer protection, join the Consumer Forum to network with other organizations about topical consumer issues and find out about CPIN’s work in key consumer standards.
Become a CPIN rep
If you would like to make a positive difference to consumers through standards, apply to become a CPIN representative. We welcome consumer champions with a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience. Full training and support will be given.
Contribute to standards in development
Directly - Where a standard is particularly important to your organization, a member of your team can join the relevant committee as a consumer expert. You may work alongside other consumer organizations, such as CPIN, in the consumer stakeholder group.
Indirectly - Liaise with CPIN reps working on specific standards to:
brainstorm key issues
share your expertise
provide evidence of consumer harm
This will help to inform their work and strengthen the consumer voice. CPIN runs ad-hoc stakeholder workshops throughout the year.