The first ever TSSW regional conference and awards ceremony was held on 12th/13th October 2022 at Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton, a delightful venue which sits amidst a backdrop of the Quantock and Blackdown hills, with superb views overlooking the cricket pitch itself as well as Taunton’s churches.
With two large conference rooms at our disposal, there was plenty of room for everyone in this idyllic setting, and even a dance floor for the eighties-inspired disco enjoyed by the evening attendees after the meal and awards ceremony.
The most notable part of the conference was the way in which it brought together colleagues, old and new, under one roof, after all the Covid restrictions of recent years.
As Charlie Morrow, the organiser of the event, said:
‘We used to take personal engagement at work for granted: face to face courses; office lunches; banter; the list goes on. From a money-saving, green, and technical perspective, Teams is fantastic; however, personal interaction is essential and, once over the worst of the pandemic, the time was right to organise an event to recognise the achievements of TSSW members, and to offer face-to-face training.’
After an opening plenary session, the first day of the conference provided CPPD sessions on subjects as widely varying as OCG & Intelligence, Food Risk Assessment, Scams, CFAS & Land Registry, Metrology (Introduction, Weighbridges, and a Q&A session), as well as Electrical Safety First, and a Basic Introduction to Intellectual Property.
Day Two’s opening plenary session on Alternative Enforcement Solutions, including Criminal Behaviour Orders & Closure Orders, was followed by sessions on Intellectual Property, Feed, E-crime, Allergens, Vapes & Cigarettes, Food Improvement Agents and Animal Health.
TSSW would like to thank all of the speakers – Dolores Riordan, Spencer Marsh, Kirsty Scully, Lucy Breakspear, Helen Heskins, Andy Watson, Martyn Allen, Alan Cronin, Gavin Terry, Francesca Tween, Hannah Sargeant, Mike Andrews, Andy Wilson, Dave Hunt, and Carmen Lopez Ramirez – for their informative and interesting presentations.
The feedback received after the event described the course content as ‘great‘, ‘very engaging‘ and ‘interesting‘, allowing delegates to ‘brush up on the fundamentals’ with a ‘great variety of presentations‘ by some ‘excellent speakers‘.
In an evening event, after the first day of the conference, TSSW presented awards to outstanding officers in the region. These awards recognised the best Rising Star in the South West (and runner-up); the best project team (and runners-up); and the best lead officer in several crucial Trading Standards discipline categories: Doorstep Crime and Scams; Metrology and Public Safety; Public Health; Animal Health; Food and Feed.
The awards ceremony was compered by Nigel Strick, now retired from Cornwall Trading Standards, who was dressed in eye-catching, traditional, Cornish Tartan. But, as Nigel himself said:
‘I am sure that even my outfit will be eclipsed by the amazing awards that are to be presented this evening and no doubt, by the stories that sit behind them.’
Those receiving the awards were clearly delighted by them and very appreciative of the honour.
Described by one attendee as ‘a really valuable and refreshing two days‘, the outstanding success of this year’s event, of course, begs the question: what about next year?
The feedback we have received clearly indicates that both the awards and the conference – with its opportunities to learn, collaborate and network – would be welcome additions to the annual calendar and we look forward to seeing even more delegates joining us in 2023.