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No cold calling zone guidance

Document summary

Guidance on setting up a no cold calling zone.

Trading Standards
July 2017


Introduction

This guidance will help you to set up a No Cold Calling Zone.

The idea behind the zones is about local residents or communities having the confidence to say “NO” to uninvited salespeople or to warn rogue traders and cold callers that they are being watched.

Hundreds of zones are now operating successfully across the UK with reports of significant crime reduction and a greater feeling of security amongst residents.

This information pack has been put together to help local communities set up their own No Cold Calling Zones.


1. No Cold Calling Zones. What are they and why should we have them?

The aim of a no cold calling zone is to work in partnership to reduce the overall incidents of rogue trading and distraction burglary in East Sussex.

Quite simply, No Cold Calling Zones (the Zones) are about local residents or communities having the confidence to say “NO” to uninvited salespeople and to warn rogue traders and cold callers that they are not welcome in an area.

Incidents where people have lost thousands of pounds to rogue traders are now not unusual and what has become clear is that legislation has not kept pace. The Zones are an initiative that helps to provide support to residents and send a clear message to rogue traders that they are unwelcome and their trading practices will be investigated if they cold call residents within the designated area.

However, the Zones have no legal status and it would not be illegal for traders to call at homes that did not display a door sticker.

The door stickers have been specifically designed so that they can be considered as a request for a trader to leave the property under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. We urge each homeowner in a Zone to display it.

Key partners

The support of partner organisations is essential to the success of any Zone. You need the support of local organisations such as parish councils and the support of all the residents of the Zone itself.

Street signs

Fundamental to the success of the scheme will be to mark the area’s boundaries with signs that clearly say that it is a "NO DOORSTEP CALLERS HERE!" area. These signs are likely to be fixed to a lamp post, wall etc or used in conjunction with other signs such as the Neighbourhood Watch signs.

Door stickers/notices

These have proved to be a useful way of deterring callers in the past. Each house in the Zone should be provided with a sticker to display on their door or window. On the outward facing side is a clear message such as "Warning: The residents of this property do not deal with uninvited traders – Please leave and do not return".

Basic crime prevention measures

An essential part of the scheme is to educate local residents about how to deal with cold callers and to give them the confidence to say "NO". Studies have shown how few people request ID from cold callers and even fewer actually take the time to check it. Residents should be provided with information packs detailing basic measures to protect themselves from doorstep crime and improve their home security.

If somebody cold calls in the Zone

Residents will be encouraged to report doorstep sellers to Trading Standards on 03454 040506.


2. How to set up a Zone

Contact all partners

Contact the Neighbourhood Watch, County Councillor, Parish/Town Council, District or Borough Council.

This is just a courtesy email or phone call to let them know that you are hoping the Zone will go ahead and you will be starting a consultation. If the driving force is not the Town or Parish Council you will need to get their approval as the licence for signs will go in their name.

Population, areas

The suitability of an area as a No Cold Calling Zone needs to be considered in relation to the following criteria. However, it is recognised that each request may carry a different emphasis.

  • The area has a strong enough community bond/spirit and desire on which to bare the initiative (e.g. Neighbourhood watch, Residents Associations, etc.)
  • There is relevant evidence of a history of doorstep rogue trading/bogus calling.
  • The age and/or vulnerability of the residents cause them to be at greater risk of detriment and crime through cold calling.
  • The nature or type of housing is considered to be potentially attractive to doorstep rogue traders.
  • The area is distinct and can be clearly identifiable as a Zone.
  • The Parish/Town Council supports the establishment of such a Zone.

Consultation letter sent to residents

No Cold Calling Zones are not imposed or created by Trading Standards or any other organisation. It is important that the majority of residents want the Zone.

Consult partners on whether a letter will go to all residents (this depends on the size of the Zone). Who will send this? Some local councils incorporate the letter into a newsletter they are already sending; you may need to help them with this.

It’s advisable to also do a press release in relation to the launch of a new Zone.

Once the consultation has been carried out, you will now be able to decide if the zone should go ahead. Speak to all partners and review the feedback from residents; do the residents want it?

Signs

Once you decide to go ahead, ask partners how many signs they require and where they will be located. Remember, partners are better placed to give you lamppost numbers/letters and road locations.

There is a cost implication to this; approx. £157 per sign. The Sussex Sign Company Ltd has the templates which have been previously used. Contact details below.

Address: Foredown House, 2-4 Foredown Drive, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 2BB

Telephone: 01273 417057
E mail: sales@sussexsigns.com

Highways

In accordance with Highways Licensing Conditions, all signs must be erected with the approval and authorisation of ESCC Communities, Economy & Transport Department (Highways). All sign locations (if on Highways maintained land) must be notified to Highways and authorisation received before signs are erected.

The licence for the signs needs to be granted to an organisation that has public liability insurance. Highways can provide more advice on this.

Feedback from residents in other Zones has shown that the acceptable size of signs is 400 x 500mm (the same size as Neighbourhood Watch signs), although in some locations an A3 size (330 x 420mm) may be more appropriate.

Email highways with sign locations Highways@eastsussex.gov.uk

Please ensure you check partners are happy with the sign that you are proposing as they are very expensive to reproduce if the logos are incorrect. The Sussex Sign Company has all details of past signs and they will send them to you for proofing before they produce them.

Email to the relevant Planning Department

NCCZ (No Cold Calling Zones) signs are not legally considered to be signs, they are actually an advertisement and therefore you need to seek permission from the local planning department before the signs go up. This is under the Town & Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations.

You only need to tell the local planning department about the signs. They are not granting permission, they just need to be informed and this should be done 14 days before the launch. You need to advise them that you have highways approval. It is, therefore, probably better to send the licence from Highways once you have it.

You do not need a response but you may need proof that you have sent the email or letter to the relevant planning department.

The relevant planning department depends on where the Zone is.

The Planning Departments are:

Planning - Lewes and Eastbourne Councils

Email: customerfirst@lewes-eastbourne
Website: www.planningportal.co.uk

Planning - Hastings Borough Council

Telephone: 01424 783259

Email: planadmin@hastings.gov.uk
Website: www.planningportal.co.uk

Planning - Wealden District Council

Telephone: 01892 602010
Email: planning@wealden.gov.uk

Planning - Rother District Council

Telephone: 01424 787600
Email: planning@rother.gov.uk

Launch

The date for the launch of your Zone should be decided between partners and a suitable venue organised.

Invitations should be sent to residents and members of community inviting them to the launch.

This is an ideal opportunity for local County Councillors, District and Parish Councillors, and representatives from Sussex Police and Neighbourhood Watch, to say a few words.

It can also be used to promote other initiatives and you can invite people to have stands at the event.

Invitations should be sent to officials from the County Council, District and Parish Councils, as well as any other interested parties or organisations.

Invitations can be sent individually to residents (included in resident’s packs), or notices can be displayed in the local area to advise residents of the time and place of the launch.

If the Zone is very small it may be worth considering writing to each resident and letting them know a date when you will be calling on them to hand them a pack and answer questions they may have.

Resident’s Information Packs

Resident’s Information Packs can be provided as part of the scheme. It is an opportunity to provide residents of your Zone with useful information relating to their security and protection.

It would also be advisable to do a press release to advertise the launch.

Evaluation of Zones

6 months after the launch you could contact all residents in the Zone and carry out an evaluation questionnaire. This could be via:

  • Partners such as Neighbourhood Watch or the Parish Council
  • Email networks
  • Press release

Smaller Zones could be surveyed door to door, but you would need to write to let them know you are coming so it is not a cold call.

Once you have assessed the results you can do a press release.


3. Non compliance with the zones what to do

In situations where an uninvited salesperson or trader does visit a resident in a No Cold Calling Zone, the resident would be expected to notify either Sussex Police or Trading Standards.

Trading Standards will assess each incident on a case by case basis to consider what action is required.

If an unwanted visit is made by a national company, then you can send a letter to the

company advising that the area is now a No Cold Calling Zone and therefore such visits are not welcome.


Useful contacts

Lewes & Eastbourne Community Safety Partnership
Mr Harry Williams
1 Grove Road
Eastbourne
BN21 4UG
Harry.williams@eastbourne.gov.uk

Safer Hastings Partnership
Mr John Whittington
Hastings Community Safety Hub
Aquila House
Breeds Place
Hastings
TN34 3UY
Jwhittington@hastings.gov.uk

Rother Community Safety Partnership
Ms Carol Studley
Partnerships & Community Safety Co-ordinator
Rother District Council
Bexhill Town Hall
Bexhill on Sea
TN39 3JX
Carol.studley@rother.gov.uk

Wealden Community Safety Partnership
Dr Jeremy Leach
Wealden District Council
Vicarage Lane
Hailsham
BN27 2AX
Jeremy.leach@wealden.gov.uk