Trusted Trader in Review 2020News: Friday 18 December 2020
2020 has been a challenging year for pretty much everyone. But it has not been all negative, so it is nice to reflect on some of the scheme’s achievements over the last 12 months.
Covid guidanceWith so much confusion about rules and regulations around tradespeople, a Coronavirus Support and FAQ page was set up specifically for Trusted Traders which was shared over 1,500 times on social media. This has now been superceded, but you can see the current guidance here.
Work requestsRegardless of the Pandemic, more than 12,500 trader work request forms were filled in this year, with another 900 requests for traders from the South Queensferry Trusted Trader contact centre. Overall work volume is still high, with 12 members requesting to be temporarily suspended as they are unable to take on any more work!
New schemesThe Angus Trusted Trader Scheme formally took over from the Angus Reputable Traders Scheme (ARTS) on the 31 March, and currently has 33 members, with a further 10 applications being vetted.
In May we welcomed the East Ayrshire Trusted Trader Scheme to the network, which currently has 27 members, with three more going through the vetting process. We are hoping to be able to welcome some more schemes onboard in 2021, so watch this space!
Shared repairs schemeIn Edinburgh we are working closely with a new shared repairs scheme aimed at tenement occupants, but utilising Trusted Traders. The project is undergoing final tests and is due to launch in the New Year. The ambition is to see this service rolled out to other areas in the near future.
ResubscriptionsWith the news full of reports of failing businesses, there was a genuine concern for a lot of members as many were unable to trade at all during the height of the Pandemic. But as the year draws to a close, we are pleased to report an overall resubscription rate across all the schemes of 96.8% which is better than the 96.2% resubscription rate for 2019.
New applicationsAnother optimistic point is the number of new applications across all the schemes, which was 210, and up from 155 in 2019. This also takes into account the fact that the largest scheme Edinburgh, was closed to new applications for three months during the peak of the Pandemic.
Reviews and complaintsReviews are overwhelmingly positive, as you would expect for a vetted trader scheme, but 0.7% of the reviews published were negative. This shows any member can have a job that does not go to plan or a customer who is not 100% satisfied. But as always, it is how a member reacts and deals with issues that is important, allowing a potential customer to make their own mind up when reading any public comments.
All reported complaints are taken seriously, but the majority are easily resolved as a simple breakdown in communication or misunderstanding. For any complaints that cannot be resolved by the Trusted Trader team or Trading Standards, then these are escalated to our Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.
This is managed by Kent Trading Standards as they are completely impartial with no connection to the Trusted Trader scheme, and they can provide legally binding arbitration. This allows consumers and traders the chance to legally resolve a dispute without the costs involved in going to court. In 2020 only two cases have had to be sent to the ADR team, one of which has been completed, and one is still under way.
Summary and thank youThe sheer volume of work requests and positive reviews, versus the relatively few negative reviews and complaints is a superb testament to the professionalism of the Trading Standards Trusted Traders that make up the various Trusted Trader schemes.
Thank you to all our Trusted Traders for their hard work and flexibility, as well as thank you to the thousands of residents and consumers who requested work from our members and who also showed great patience and flexibility during the most demanding of circumstances.
With Covid vaccinations now under way, let's all look forward to a safer and more productive 2021.
If you know of anyone who you think could benefit in becoming a Trusted Trader, then please tell them to visit our signup page or contact us.
The Trusted Trader team will be breaking up for Christmas from lunchtime on the 24 December and returning on Monday 4 January.
We hope you and your families have a safe and relaxing festive holiday.
All the best
The Trusted Trader Admin Team
Miranda, Natalie, Hayley and Steve