Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP, has approved a new Primary Authority Coordinated Partnership between the National Pawnbroking Association (NPA) and Surrey County Council.

The Partnership will provide assurance to NPA members across the UK who opt-in to the scheme that the policies and procedures in place in their premises cannot be challenged and changed from one local authority to the next.

Scheme members will be able to seek ‘assured advice’ to deal with problems or issues as they arise and consumers should also be able to rely on the fact that opted-in NPA members are operating to the highest standards. A special logo for the businesses that opt in - which can be displayed - is being planned.

It is envisaged that the scheme will help in terms of both increasing expert knowledge of pawnbroking and ensuring consistency across the country. The NPA is committed to promoting the professionalism of the pawnbroking industry to current and future customers.

NPA Chief Executive, Ray Perry, says:

“Working with Surrey Country Council is a great step forward for the pawnbroking industry. The new initiative will provide all Trading Standards officers with the information and legal guidance they require to deal with queries fairly and consistently. It will also help to demonstrate how our members are professional, open, accountable and meet the needs of a dynamic marketplace.”

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Helyn Clack, says:

"Surrey County Council is committed to supporting businesses and ensuring that consumers are protected from unfair practices and unsafe goods. We are delighted to be working closely with the NPA to achieve those aims together."