Friday, 3 February 2012
Following on from my theme for the year of Marketing: the business driver, it follows that business must trade fairly if it is to survive and succeed. It must therefore conform to legislation and also follow ethical codes. Clearly our visit to the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) was going to show us how this should be approached and the consequences for those who do not, and they did not disappoint.
Housed in a modern building in
, close by St Brides Church, the mission of the OFT is to make markets work well for consumers. A simple goal but, as we were to learn, it was an extremely complex task. However, Judith Frame, Head of Marketing and Campaigns for the OFT, and her team clarified many of the issues they face.
The presentation covered the history of the OFT through to its present structure and responsibilities. Divided into three divisions covering Markets & Projects, Policy & Strategy and Corporate Services the OFT is arranged around markets, rather than legislation. This enables it to look more easily at whole markets and to use all the tools available to it effectively in uncovering the questionable approaches adopted by some businesses. The tools include consumer and competition enforcement, market studies and references, education and communication in whatever combination is appropriate
Indeed the second half of the morning addressed one specific sector, that of medical equipment, and how those companies involved in the provision of this equipment approach the broad spectrum of business activities.
Having been suitably entertained, educated and, at times, concerned we, together with our hosts for the morning, transferred to Che Gerrard for lunch. Here Fellowship was in abundance as we had the opportunity to both renew, and create anew, acquaintances. It was a delightful lunch, in pleasant surrounding, with excellent company as always.