Place Category: Business Services
What makes selecting TrustMark tradespeople so worthwhile?
- A firms technical skills have been independently checked through regular on-site inspections by qualified inspectors, as well as checks on their trading record and financial status;
- Firms have signed up to a code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care;
- The approved scheme operators ensure that all of their TrustMark registered firms are regularly vetted, inspected and agree to abide by Government-endorsed standards of competence, customer care and good trading practices, and are monitored for compliance.
- Firms are able to offer customers an insurance backed warranty to cover all work from £500;
- Deposit protection insurance is available for consumers in the event a firm should cease trading;
- Firms will be able to tell you about any building regulations you must comply with and may also be able to provide appropriate certificates;
- If you have a problem or disagreement with the firm, there will be a low-cost and user-friendly alternative dispute resolution service to help resolve the issue;
- The scheme is fully supported by Government, the industry and consumer organisations, including Citizens Advice, Chartered Trading Standards Institute and Age UK;
- Skilled, reliable and competent local experts
- All of these checks will give you – Peace of Mind and that extra security in your home.
If a firm displays our TrustMark logo you know that we have approved and inspected the firm through one of our scheme operators and found that the firm meets the required Government endorsed criteria as described above.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_TrustMark1.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
1) Improving professionalism for tradespeople
We are the only not for profit Government licensed scheme operating in the domestic building services sector with a clear remit to reduce rogue traders and improve the professionalism and recognition for the trades delivering services. Having this as an objective supports the consumer in achieving cost effective services, delivered effectively and in compliance with the required standards.
We provide vulnerable and isolated people with a platform to make home improvements from vetted and inspected firms in their local area who strive to surpass industry standards. We aim to tackle this further this year through our recent collaboration with the Welsh Government, which supports homeowners finding firms that they can trust in Wales. We also act as an impartial body for any disputes between tradesperson and homeowner, providing consumers with a safe and unintimidating means of bringing a dispute forward against work carried out below our raised standards.
In October 2015, TrustMark partnered with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards to provide assured advice to TrustMark’s Scheme Operators and registered firms. This enables TrustMark to obtain trustworthy, regulatory advice on any consumer issues relevant to the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement sector and where necessary, deliver bespoke guidance for TrustMark registered firms.
Through our partnership with Gas Safe Register, we are piloting a scheme that offers gas engineers and their customers advice relating to non-gas related queries, which makes up just over half of the disputes Gas Safe Register receives each year. We intend to reduce the pressure on non-gas related queries so that gas engineers and their customers are provided with a more efficient and specific service. If necessary, customers will be referred to a process of dispute resolution specific to their situation.
In addition to those enterprises undertaken over the past year, we are planning to work more more with the local community, and will support our local area in Hampshire by providing help to charity franchise FareShare, who provide and deliver food to deprived communities this. Having recently met with FareShare for the first time, we are at the preliminary stages of deciding the various ways we can get involved and are intent on ensuring this is a key priority for TrustMark this year.
We are working to increase the reach of TrustMark to establish much wider support for the consumers through education and awareness but will also be working with businesses to develop the levels of consumer support and protection they deliver. We are engaged with a national group of trade and industry schemes to deliver clear and concise messages on the benefits of choosing the right trades.
2) Key activities
We provide support for the local community through cost-saving principles. By reducing costs through effective services, we deliver support for small and local businesses, the heart of localism. Our cost-saving principles support the end consumer, as TrustMark’s profits are fed back into the business to enhance and broaden the services we offer to both tradespeople and their customers.
We are increasing our social media presence through more frequent and engaging activity on social media channels and have improved our response time when answering a customer query through Facebook or Twitter. We will develop our mobile application this year to make it more user-friendly. Videos of how to use the app will also be launched on YouTube later this year.
Our campaign with the Welsh Government, which launched in March 2016, aims to help consumers in Wales and particularly vulnerable and isolated people. This provides protection against rogue traders in an area that has received very little support up until this point. We have launched two breakfast briefings in Wales to reach Welsh tradespeople and help them and show how we can help them secure more business, as well as raising industry standards in Wales. We have used a number of different methods to reach our audience, including YouTube animations, social media advertising, a new bilingual section on our website and a variety of bilingual materials including leaflets.
Through its partnership with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, TrustMark has drafted joint guidance on the new Consumer Rights Act 2015, which is now available to view on the TrustMark website. As such, tradespeople registered with us have easily accessible information that will help them stay compliant with the law, and reducing the number of disputes between tradespeople and customers.
Our collaboration with Gas Safe Register launched an in-house contact centre in March 2016, enabling gas engineers and their customers who are registered with TrustMark to get in touch and discuss their disputes with an advisor who can take the time to understand their specific case before advising them on the best next steps to take, as well as reducing pressure on an extremely overcrowded resource at Gas Safe Register.
Through the initiatives launched and those set to take place later this year, TrustMark ensures it keeps to consumer at the heart of all activity and targets groups needing particular protection. We have attempted to ensure this through our various projects, and the campaign launched with the Welsh Government is a clear example of TrustMark’s efforts protect a vulnerable consumer group. We ensure all outputs go towards improving efficiency, quality and protection for all of our customers.
3) Benefits to society
The TrustMark team care about the end user, the contractor and all those engaged in delivery of a supporting scheme that will make a difference. Any initiatives we undertake are carefully chosen for their social benefit, and to help those most prone to falling into the trap created by rogue traders. As such, we have and continue to expand our presence and reach as many people as possible, introducing new campaigns aimed at bringing down rogue traders and supporting reputable firms.
Our marketing team are steadily developing the services we provide and driving them towards clear support for the person employing a trade. In 2016 so far we have created new animations, and expanded our Facebook and Twitter reach. We will continue to develop better social media coverage and change our online digital engagement strategy. We are also ensuring that hard copy information is distributed to consumers through the businesses we register. Again, this supports consumers making the right choice when selecting a tradesperson.
Our campaign with the Welsh Government has just been launched, and we are expecting to see a significant increase in the number of firms registered with us operating in Wales. Whilst we cannot quantify the value this protection will add, through our collaboration from the Welsh Government we are supported by a social enterprise. We hope that over the course of the next year we will see a significant reduction in the number of cases of isolated or vulnerable people being taken advantage of by rogue tradespeople who spot an easy target. We continue to advertise on social media and ensure we present materials in bilingual forms to reach these groups, as well as the Welsh population as a whole.
By providing guidelines on the New Consumer Rights Act 2015 with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, TrustMark has prepared a user-friendly manual for registered firms to ensure they stay compliant with the new regulations and pointed out areas where it is important for firms to take particular notice. This enables our registered firms to ensure they stay compliant with the law and continue to raise standards to protect themselves and their customers.
Our partnership with Gas Safe Register has enabled our in-house team to signpost consumers to the appropriate information in an effective and efficient manner. This has helped to ensure that our customers and registered firms receive another means of receiving help that will be less time-consuming and more specific to the context of their issue. The number of calls being received is steadily increasing, and as this is a 12-month pilot scheme, depending on its uptake this year may turn into a longer-term project with in-house expansion.