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May 25, 2009

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Bosses return to the shop floor in better-regulation initiative

Two of the UK’s biggest supermarket retailers played host last week to the chiefs of local regulation bodies, as part of an initiative to demonstrate how council inspection and enforcement operations affect the day-to-day running of businesses.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s welcomed, among others, the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Graham Jukes, his counterpart at the Trading Standards Institute, Ron Gainsford, and the respective chairs of the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) and LACORS, Clive Grace and Derek Allen, to its stores to gain an overview of their operations, speak to staff, and get to grips with routine regulatory issues.

It was all part of the ‘Trading Places’ initiative, which was originally piloted last year by the LBRO and also involved Asda and B&Q. Its aim is to foster understanding between regulatory services and the companies they monitor, in order to strengthen relationships and promote a partnership approach. Said Clive Grace: “You can’t regulate what you don’t understand. That’s why Trading Places was developed — to give local-authority inspectors the opportunity to experience for themselves the impact regulations have on the daily running of a business.
“It has been fantastic to get the heads of so many regulatory organisations directly on board with Trading Places, experiencing the daily issues that Tesco and Sainsbury’s have to deal with in order to be compliant.”
Steve Edwards, director of operational standards for Tesco, commented: “Trading Places is an extremely valuable exercise for retailers such as Tesco and the regulatory authorities, as it encourages a partnership approach and strengthens working relationships.
“We have robust measures in place at every level of our business to ensure compliance with the many regulations, and it is very worthwhile for the enforcement community to gain a better insight into our business activities and the steps we take to deliver compliance for our customers, both in our stores and behind the scenes in head office as well.”
Sainsbury’s head of regulatory affairs, Alan Lacey, added: “This scheme gives us the opportunity to develop the relationship between business and regulatory services, which will enhance our ways of working and ultimately get a better result for consumers.”

The LBRO is actively looking for businesses from a range of industries and local authorities that would like to take part in Trading Places. To find out more, contact the LBRO on 0121 226 4000 or visit

Pictured from left to right: Tracy Hedges (store manager, Sainsbury’s), Clive Grace, Daniel Malyon (store manager), Derek Allen, Ron Gainsford, Jacqui Kennedy OBE (chair of the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers).

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