"To achieve a Preferred A rating a company must have no major Non Conformances (NCs) and only up to five minor ones," states the NBF. "An Approved B rating is awarded for no more than one major NC and no more than 10 minors with a maximum of 10 NCs allowed. A Not Approved C rating is awarded for two or more majors and/or up to 11 or more minor NCs, with no more than 11 altogether where at least one is a major."
Version Three of the NBF Code of Practice was accepted as Assured Advice by trading standards earlier this year. This means that all approved members of the NBF complying with the code can rely on it 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.
"It should also be stressed that the audit process is based on a random selection of products by the auditor on the day of the audit, with the emphasis on looking for the evidence of compliance via reports, certificates, etc," continues the NBF's statement. "No physical testing of products takes place during the audit. This is done under the Due Diligence Random Testing Programme, for which products are purchased in the marketplace. An audit failure does not automatically mean a company is placing illegal or unsafe products onto the marketplace.
"Dura Beds’ suspension is on the basis of having been allocated two major NCs by the independent auditor due to a lack of evidence available to demonstrate that the products audited on the day had satisfied the relevant requirements of the Code of Practice."
Dura Beds is currently appealing the result of the audit and length of the company's suspension, comments Dura's MD, Imran Akhtar. "As we are currently in the midst of the appeal process, we have no wish to prejudice our case by commenting on this particular article at this time," he says. "Once the appeal process is completed, we will be happy to then issue a full and detailed statement."