Place Category: Business Services
- Website & Social
- Social Impact Declaration
- Social Impact Statements
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.
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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.
Updated July 2017
1) Raising industry standards in RMI sector
Our ultimate goal is to make improvements to the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) sector that reduce the risk of homeowners being victims of rogue traders, and raising industry standards to build trust between tradespeople and their customers.
We have worked closely this year with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to strengthen consumer protection through joint services. TrustMark and CTSI will be building greater synergy between CTSI’s own Consumer Codes Approval scheme and the TrustMark Core Criteria. Together, the organisations will support honest, reputable tradespeople and protect consumers in decision-making to build confidence, reduce consumer detriment and drive up standards in the RMI market.
We have also been working closely with our primary authority partner, Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards to invite all TrustMark Registered Firms to apply for ‘Trading Standards Approved’ status. This goes one step further than TrustMark’s ‘Core Criteria’, by looking into the firm’s trading history. Firms that apply will need to pass Intelligence and DBS checks in order to complete the process. By using the ‘Trading Standards Approved’ logo across the firms marketing materials, vehicle livery and profile on the TrustMark website, the firm is able to show customers that they are one of the best in the business and have gone the extra mile to show customers that they have quality practices in place.
TrustMark received a special mention in the ‘Each Home Counts’ review, which was published in December last year, for delivering an exemplar consumer protection scheme with Gas Safe Register. The scheme ran from 1st April 2016-30th March 2017 and delivered consumer protection services for non-technical issues to gas engineers and their customers. This was a free pilot for one year, and as such we received no remuneration for delivering this scheme. In order to continue the services offered through this scheme after the pilot ended, we have continued the scheme through other scheme operators after 30th March 2017. We now charge engineers to be part of the TrustMark scheme, but this is at a low cost to cover our outgoings such as admin, non-technical support and welcome packs.
We have also used profits made to help our local community in Hampshire. Over the past year we have been supporting local charity, FareShare, but sponsoring three SureStart centres in our local area of Basingstoke. These centres are set up to give all children a sure start in life with access to healthy, fresh food that they would struggle access otherwise. We are also fundraising to provide more income for FareShare, by doing a charity TrustMark sky dive in June.
Generally speaking, year on year, TrustMark’s aim is to raise industry standards. It is therefore very important that procedures we set are stringent and adhered to. We review our Scheme Operators annually to ensure this is the case and any concerns will be sharply addressed. As part of our contribution to Social Enterprise Mark’s ‘Beyond the Badge’ campaign – we set out a week in the life of TrustMark’s Audit & Compliance Officer. It is his job to review our Scheme Operators annually, as well as our definitions of quality and the minimum standards we set. Our Core Criteria, which governs how they and Registered Firms should behave is currently under review to make marked improvements based on industry changes and case studies.
2) Key outcomes of our activities
As a result of our efforts to improve consumer protection, our ‘Trading Standards Approved’ scheme gives an additional layer whereby homeowners can distinguish the quality firms from the rogues and ensure they stay protected. These firms can be easily found on the TrustMark website, and build a bridge between trader and consumer. Their ‘Trading Standards Approved’ status and logo will mark them apart from others.
By delivering consumer protection services to gas engineers and their customers, we have extended the support on offer to this market. By allowing engineers to trial the service for a year, they can make an informed decision about its benefits before joining TrustMark longer term. Over the course of the last year however, they have benefitted from help handling non-technical issues via the contact team at TrustMark, as well as all of the other benefits that come with being TrustMark registered, such as being searchable on the TrustMark website, have access to our dispute resolution service and being able to use the TrustMark logo on their marketing materials, which is a badge of quality.
By supporting our local charity of choice, FareShare, we are also helping the local community to flourish. As we are sponsoring three SureStart centres in Basingstoke, we are giving young children in our local area a better start in life. We will continue to take part in fundraising initiatives this year to boost funding for FareShare.
We will work closer with the CTSI this year to signpost consumers to reputable tradespeople and put systems in place to tighten up standards, as well as providing a means for quality to firms to be recognised and rewarded for their efforts.
3) Benefits to society
TrustMark provides a safeguard for consumers when finding reputable tradespeople, particularly when moving a new area or for those who do not have personal recommendations. It puts homeowners in touch with local firms who have been vetted and inspected to ensure they are the very best in their sector. By recently launching a scheme for tradespeople to apply to be ‘Trading Standards Approved’, we are giving reputable firms a way of showing their quality to potential customers and going the extra mile to distinguish themselves from rogue traders.
Over the past year we have also offered a free pilot scheme to provide consumer protections services to gas engineers, delivered in partnership with Gas Safe Register. As part of the scheme, we had a contact team at the TrustMark offer who dealt with gas disputes and non-technical issues. This was a service that engineers previously didn’t have. The scheme was free for one year in order to give engineers a feel for the services on offer. They can now join TrustMark at a low cost of £40 + plus Scheme Operator admin fee.
By supporting our local charity, FareShare, we are also making steps to look after the local community in Basingstoke and help all children in our area to have a healthy start in life. We will be fundraising more throughout the year to offer more support for FareShare, such as doing a fire walk and participating in our team sky dive in June. We are also committed to 2 volunteer days per member of staff per year in order to offer operational help and ensure TrustMark employees have a full understanding of the work that TrustMark does.