The Trading Standards team from Barking and Dagenham Council has won recognition as the Overall Hero in the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s (CTSI) annual Hero Awards ceremony for their Hajj Enforcement and Awareness Project.
Hajj is the religious pilgrimage to Makkah and is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it and are physically able.
The council’s Hajj project adopted a two-pronged approach to tackle Hajj-related scams: firstly, siting a ‘consultation bus’ outside selected mosques in the borough during Friday (Jummah) prayers over a five-week period to provide Trading Standards and health and safety information to mosque-goers; and secondly, visiting premises known or registered to provide Hajj travel packages with a checklist to ensure compliance with package travel regulations.
Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “I’m really pleased the Trading Standards team have been recognised for their work in highlighting the risks that people need to look out for when preparing for, and planning a pilgrimage to Makkah.
“I’d like to congratulate the team for their award and thank them for their continuous hard work in keeping our residents safe.”
In June 2022, the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia announced a new online portal for electronic registration for pilgrims from Europe (including the UK), Americas and Australia. It announced various packages, support services and a 24/7 call centre in multiple languages. For 2022 the new portal was the only way that pilgrims were allowed to book the Hajj.
The awards took place on Wednesday 23 November at the House of Lords.