Version Three of the National Bed Federation’s (NBF) rigorous Code of Practice has been accepted as Assured Advice by trading standards. This essentially means that all approved members of the NBF complying with the code can rely on this to demonstrate they are exercising an acceptable level of due diligence in complying with the law in those areas under the jurisdiction of trading standards – namely, product safety and trade descriptions.

All trading standards authorities in England must have regard for Assured Advice, while those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should also take it into account.

The NBF has partnered with West Yorkshire Trading Standards as its Primary Authority since the launch of its Code of Practice in 2013, and the first two versions of the code were also both given Assured Advice status. Version Three of the Code of Practice now covers 10 key areas, including new additions and adjustments to existing requirements. The NBF Due Diligence Programme of random purchase and testing has also been incorporated into the latest version of the code, and included in the Assured Advice.

The introduction of the new PAS 7100 Product Recall standard issued by the new Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) means members are to ensure they are aware of the requirements. Auditors will check the progress members are making on incorporating them into their existing product recall procedures.

Auditors will also have a watching brief on health and safety (any concerns potentially triggering a more comprehensive separate audit) and will be checking awareness of the Modern Slavery Act of 2015. These areas do not come under the jurisdiction of trading standards.

Amendments have been made to cleanliness of fillings to cover responsible use of any used components or materials or re-sale of used mattresses. There are also clearer requirements on trade descriptions and further checks on process controls and procedures such as batch control, broken needle and sharps policies.

“The Code of Practice has gone a long way towards raising standards, improving awareness and tightening procedures in bed manufacturing in the UK,” explains NBF executive director, Jessica Alexander. “All this helps to level the playing field for reputable manufacturers doing the right thing. Since its launch we’ve seen more and more retailers expect their UK suppliers to join the NBF so they can demonstrate their compliance both to required regulations and to basic standards of honesty. The robustness of the scheme is further validated by its adoption as Assured Advice by trading standards.”

Audits for the new, third version of the NBF Code of Practice are due to start in March, with all manufacturer members and eligible supplier members due to have been audited by October 2019. Feedback on the results of the first round of testing under the Due Diligence Programme is expected to be released soon.