Carmarthenshire County Council is one of only three Welsh local authorities to be named a finalist at The MJ Awards 2016.
The authority’s Trading Standards team is leading the charge for the coveted awards across three separate categories, for its innovative work in protecting vulnerable people against scams and fraud, and educating the next generation about financial management.
The team is up for awards in the Delivering Better Outcomes and Innovation in Partnership categories for its Financial Exploitation Safeguarding Scheme (FESS), a multi-agency scheme established by Carmarthenshire Trading Standards in 2014.
The first of its kind in Wales, FESS works not only to prevent fraud and identify victims but also protects them from further exploitation by putting support in place from social care and housing teams.
All Halifax and Barclays branches in the county are members of the scheme, as are every Citizens Advice Bureau in Carmarthenshire. Staff receive specialist training to help them recognise the signs of financial abuse, and if they believe one of their customers is a victim, they refer them to Trading Standards for an immediate intervention, which may also involve the police.
A third award is up for grabs in the Trading Standards and Environmental Health category, where the team has chosen to showcase its innovative Money Wise project.
Money Wise is a web-based resource designed by the team to help people, in particular children and young families, to understand the concept of money – where it comes from and how to save and spend wisely.
Cllr Jim Jones, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said:
“The MJ Awards are hugely popular with local authorities from across the UK, so to be a finalist in three categories is a big honour. We’re incredibly proud of the work our Trading Standards team are doing here in Carmarthenshire, and delighted that this has been recognised at a national level.”
Winners will be announced in London on June 16.