Understanding the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS): What it means for consumers
When you are searching for a reputable company in the healthcare or assistive technologies market, you will find BHTA members displaying the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme logo next to our badge. Do you know, however, why this logo is so important for providing consumer protection and peace of mind?
This guide will help you to understand what this logo means and represents, and why you should look for it the next time you are purchasing products or services in the healthcare, mobility, independent living and assistive technologies market, as well as other sectors.
What is the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)?
Launched in 2013 by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) is an initiative to improve customer services standards and bolster consumer protection through ‘facilitated self-regulation’.
It seeks to achieve this through having businesses sign up and abide by voluntary codes of practice, administered by Code Sponsors, such as the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and our Code of Practice.
Only Code Members who belong to a Code Sponsor and have proven that they meet the requirements set out in a code can display the CTSI approved CCAS code logo. This logo means the businesses are reliable, trustworthy and ethical. (Back to top)
What is the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)?
The operator of CCAS, CTSI has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881. The organisation works towards creating fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. (Back to top)
What is a Code Sponsor?
Code Sponsors are organisations that represent market sectors and have a membership base, and are themselves carefully selected and vetted by CTSI for their expertise in a field.
These organisations are responsible for the administration and promotion of their codes of practice, helping to reduce consumer detriment and raise standards within their membership.
There are currently 18 code sponsors who have 23 approved codes of practice and almost 80,000 businesses that are Code Members who can display the CCAS logo.
The BHTA is the Sponsor of our Code of Practice – the first and only code in the healthcare, mobility, independent living and assistive technologies industry to have been approved by CCAS. (Back to top)
What is a Code Member?
A Code Member is an organisation that has signed up to a Code Sponsor’s code of practice, and has been approved by the Sponsor. These organisations commit to upholding the requirements set out in the respective code of practice.
Only businesses that belong to a Code Sponsor can display the CTSI approved code logo, helping consumers to identify that organisation as trustworthy and reliable.
There are around 400 Code Members of the BHTA, all dedicated to providing customer service that goes above and beyond their legal requirements. This includes having clear pre-contractual information, transparent terms and conditions, a robust customer complaints procedure, and access to mediation in the event of a dispute. (Back to top)
How do CTSI, Sponsors and Members help to protect consumers?
The robust, independent code approval scheme ensures that all parties involved are doing their part to raise customer service standards and protect consumers through strict, comprehensive audits, assessments and monitoring.
The CTSI process for approving a Code Sponsor is rigorous, and organisations, such as the BHTA, are only approved once they have clearly demonstrated that they are committed to the reduction of consumer detriment and improving service standards.
Once approved, CTSI also regularly audits its Code Sponsors, ensuring the codes of practice are being correctly administered and its Code Members are complying with the requirements of their respective code of practice.
To ensure Code Members are meeting their requirements, Code Sponsors also conduct ongoing Code Member audits and compliance checks. At the BHTA, this also includes conducting a number of mystery shops on a percentage of its members each year, alongside rigorous member audits.
Through this continuous assessment, auditing and monitoring by CSTI and Code sponsors, consumers can have full confidence in using companies that proudly display the CTSI approved CCAS logo. (Back to top)
What to do if you have a complaint about a Code Member?
If you have had an experience with a Code Member that you believe contravenes the requirements of the code of practice that the company has committed to abide by, then you can raise this through the respective Code Sponsor.
What to do if you have a complaint about a Code Sponsor?
As per the CTSI’s policy, consumers wishing to make a complaint about a Code Sponsor should raise the issue with the Code Sponsor first, to give them the opportunity to resolve the matter. In the event a resolution cannot be agreed upon, consumers can raise a complaint about a Code Sponsor (not individual Code Members) by emailing email@example.com (Back to top)