When the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team entered the Government Counter Fraud Awards for the first time in 2016 they did not expect to win. With three years plus a new initiative under their belt the NTS team took a leap of faith and entered the Government Counter Fraud Awards for 2016. NTS Scams Team manager, Louise Baxter, said; "At the outset we hoped we would be shortlisted, so we were over the moon and genuinely surprised to win the Excellence in Fraud Awareness category at the 2016 awards.”
Launchpad to success
The win secured the team far more than recognition for a job well done. The NTS Scams Team had recently completed a ‘soft launch’ for a new initiative, Friends Against Scams, and were able to use its early success as the basis for their Government Counter Fraud Awards nomination. Aimed at consumers, Friends Against Scams featured a dedicated website packed with guidance on how to recognise scams. The campaign was designed to target whole communities to ensure that even those who are hard to reach and often forgotten, receive awareness messages.
Baxter added; "Getting public buy-in to a new scheme can be tricky. The Award win came at the perfect time. Early feedback and results from the soft launch were really positive. But, being shortlisted and then winning the award helped us to gain traction with external audiences. It definitely lent a degree of gravitas and credibility to our campaign. The Award acted as a launchpad to help us to continue to raise the profile of the website and to encourage people to become a ‘Friend Against Scams’. This was no mean feat.” The win ensured a greater reach, particularly amongst more vulnerable community members.
Entering is easy
Whilst judging is rigorous, entering the 2017 Government Counter Fraud Awards is straight forward. Commenting on the process, Louise explained; "Sometimes teams do not enter awards because there is the perception that the process of entering will require a lot of effort. The Government Counter Fraud Awards are not onerous to enter and you very much get out of it what you put in. From our viewpoint, the whole exercise was incredibly worthwhile. Even being shortlisted for such an award gave individuals and the team a boost.”
The NTS Scams Team success at the Government Counter Fraud Awards was celebrated across the trading standards profession. The Excellence in Fraud Awareness award drew attention to an innovative, new programme. Along with professional recognition, the NTS Scams Team also benefited from attending the award ceremony as it increased their opportunity to network and make useful contacts for the team across the counter fraud industry.
"We were delighted that many of our industry peers celebrated and were genuinely pleased for us. Our team moral received a welcome boost too, and there were tears on the night as we collected our award for excellence. If you are thinking about entering the awards this year, I’d encourage you to really go for it!” said Baxter.