ACS provides clarity for retailers with new assured advice updates

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched the latest set of its industry leading Assured Advice guides at the 2019 Responsible Retailing Forum.

ACS works with Surrey/Bucks Trading Standards to provide comprehensive advice for members that if followed, must be respected by enforcement authorities. Assured Advice is backed by the Government to help businesses avoid confusion over different interpretations of the law in different areas across England and Wales. To date, over 3,500 retailers have signed up to Assured Advice.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The latest set of updates to our Assured Advice provide further clarity to retailers who can rely on our guides to help them do business without worrying about intervention from trading standards or environmental health.

'Our Assured Advice is one of the most comprehensive schemes available anywhere for retailers, and has been used by large and small businesses alike to ensure compliance with regulations and train new and existing colleagues.”

Steve Ruddy, Head of Service, Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards, said, “The ACS guides are a fantastic resource which dramatically extend our ability to provide regulatory support and guidance to smaller businesses across the country.

'Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards value the opportunity to work jointly with Surrey Fire and Rescue and Woking Environmental Health to support ACS in keeping these guides current and relevant to their membership.”

The updates that have been made to the guides are as a result of a combination of changes to legislation, review and discussions between Surrey/Bucks and the ACS team, and feedback from retailers who have experienced issues in areas that we have the capacity to issue advice on.

Some of the notable updates to this wave of ACS Assured Advice guides include:
Handling Food / Cash: With retailers growing their food to go offer, in many cases they will find themselves having to juggle serving food with handling cash/card readers. The updated Food Safety and Hygiene guide provides advice on this issue to ensure that they do not experience problems with Environmental Health.

Online Sales: Retailers are increasingly looking to reach a wider base of customers by offering delivery of products, either through their own platforms or recognisable businesses like Deliveroo or Uber Eats. The Preventing Underage Sales guide now includes new information on how retailers can offer delivery of age restricted products, and how to ensure that they are being sold and delivered to customers over the age of 18.

Digital ID: The Preventing Underage Sales guide provides clear information for retailers on what to look out for when providing the option for customers to present digital ID through solutions such as Yoti, when paying for age restricted products excluding alcohol.

Surge Pricing: The introduction of electronic shelf edge labels in the sector has led to retailers exploring the idea of providing offers or differential pricing for limited times during the day. The Fair Trading guide covers the logistics of surge pricing to ensure that customers are not misled.

All of the updated Assured Advice guides are available to download free of charge at www.acs.org.uk/advice, but only members who are signed up to the scheme will be able to benefit from the protection that Assured Advice provides when dealing with enforcement authorities.