The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recently hosted a visit from members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Market Surveillance Agency (MSA).

The visit, part of an EU ‘twinning project’ to promote best practice amongst EU member states, was designed to introduce the agency to the range and scope of the ESC’s work, as no similar body exists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The MSA, which is part of the Bosnian national government, has a high level of expertise in consumer product safety matters but focuses on regulatory enforcement, rather than supporting business compliance. As the country has a complex government structure, with a number of related market surveillance bodies operating at a regional and local level, there is a lack of coordination between individual organisations and their activities.

“In a global economy, effective market surveillance and international cooperation is essential for consumer safety”, explained Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC. “So we were delighted to contribute by hosting this visit and sharing our expertise.”

MSA members were provided with an outline of ESC activities, which range from consumer campaigns and partnership work with Trading Standards, to government lobbying for better regulation and industry liaison to support best practice.

“The aim of the project is to help the MSA establish a strategy for an integrated approach to market surveillance,” added John Lawrance of NI-CO, the Northern Ireland Cooperation Overseas body, who is leading the delegation.

“A key part of this is to improve the system for dealing with consumer complaints – including using the information they provide to help plan and improve services. And there is an urgent need to move the emphasis back up the distribution chain, to the point of manufacture or export. The team found the visit to the ESC incredibly useful and were very impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of its staff.”