We are an effective and influential voice on behalf of the UK’s 11,200 charity shops and when required, are able to coordinated all of our resources and expertise to deliver impactful cross-channel campaigns.
For example, in the last few weeks we learned from our members about a threat to our sector in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. In this eventuality, the government had said that they would replace CE markings in the UK with a new national kitemark. As most of the goods charity shops sell are second hand, this could have meant that in future many perfectly safe items, produced with a CE marking when the UK was part of the EU, would be banned from sale.
We wrote to the Secretary of State responsible for Business to highlight this unintended consequence and ask for action. However, it was clear that with 29 March approaching rapidly, and with a myriad of other organisations contacting the government about Brexit consequences at this time, more work had to be undertaken to ensure our problem was prioritised by the Department.
Our whole team went into action to achieve this.
Our Research Manager, Olaia Alamos Castresana, produced a survey that members could complete to demonstrate how many products they sell require markings, and how much profit they would lose if these sales were banned.
Our Communications and Digital Manager, Mark Chapman, promoted the issue in the press, including securing a radio interview on the subject with our Chief Executive Robin Osterley.
I used contacts I have developed in the Houses of Parliament to get questions on the subject tabled in Hansard and on the political agenda.
As a result, the government was forced to take this issue seriously and gave us positive soundings through various outlets. In addition, I am pleased to confirm that we received a final written reply from the relevant Minister this week. In this letter she confirms:
“With regards to second hand goods – the CE Marking, where it is required, must be applied at the point a good is placed on the market for the first time. lf a product has already been placed on the UK market, and is then later sold as second hand, the CE marking requirement does not apply and the goods do not have to be relabelled.”
This case demonstrates the importance of a multi-channel approach to achieve goals on behalf of our members.
Head of Public Affairs and Research
Charity Retail Association