ORIS Forums has once again graced the stage in the Best Collaborative Solution category at the Retail Fraud Awards 2014 by picking up the highly commended prize.
After winning the category last year, the runner-up award, received by ORIS Forums Director Louise Henham and John Wilson, ORIS Forums Communications Director, at a glittering ceremony at King Power Stadium, Leicester in October, recognises a dramatic year of growth and increased collaborative lobbying activity.
ORIS Forums, which now facilitates 11 sector-specific Retail Loss Prevention forums serving the Fashion, Health, Beauty & Pharmacy, Cafe, Dining & Hospitality, DIY & Building Trade, Supermarket & Grocery, Speciality, Online & Mail Order, Health & Safety, Brand Protection, Logistics & Supply Chain and a Forum for retailers in Ireland.
In addition to regular meetings of the heads of LP, risk, health & safety and brand protection – four times a year – ORIS Forums has increased its frequency of contact for the retailer’s analysts to allow them to share tips and learn from each other. In addition, there has been increased contact with eBay that, owing to intense demand, has run a series of Webinars for Forum analysts to optimise the online auction site’s suite of free-to-use LP tools.
“We are delighted to have been successful once again. To win once was an achievement, but to pick up a highly commended award in the face of tough competition is testament to the desire of the retailers to share and do more themselves against a backdrop of reduced Police numbers,” said Louise.
We are very proud of our on-going relationship with eBay, which continues to yield fantastic results for the retailers who have been able to prevent hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fraud hitting their businesses as a result of greater and more open communication, facilitated by the Forums,” she added.
There has also been a greater level of engagement at the top tables of Government and the criminal justice system thanks to the increased lobbying activity. During 2014, ORIS Forums responded to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to help shape a business crime strategy for the Capital. It has also met the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and made submissions to the Sentencing Council on its consultation on shop theft. Its voice was also sought for comment on the new Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Police Bill.
The main work of the Forums is to provide a touch point for networking both inside and outside of the quarterly meetings and members regularly contact one another to discuss common threats and issues, as well as take part in splinter group activity to research specific issues.
ORIS Forums has also introduced cross-forum Crime Alerts and Monthly Trend reports for members, a service that helps them to better share intelligence on organised criminal activity around the UK. Cross-forum questions and answers posed to members by each other range in geographic diversity on subject matters from stock takes in China to aggressive shoplifting in Ireland and guarding providers in Oslo. There are generic physical and online issues facing all retailers, but also sector specific scams and trends such as the increased theft of perfumes from gift sets and the on-going issue of delivery or supplier fraud – a topic that is to be the subject of ORIS Forums first shared forum initiative where the members of the Logistics and Supply Chain Forum and those represented on the Online and Mail order forum will come together for a day of collaborative discussions on how to reduce loss in the supply chain. The date for this meeting is to be early 2015.
At the 2014 Cross Forum event at Silverstone, one of the newest Forum members, Alec Grocott, head of Health and Safety at Waterstones and chairman of the Health and Safety Forum, addressed 80 other businesses present and said: “I have been involved in health and safety for more than 30 years and the sharing of this Forum is the best I have been involved with in all that time – it has worked spectacularly well. Both in the meetings and offline, this group has acted like a Wikipedia of health and safety information. They are happy to share in an environment where everyone contributes and provides benchmarking evidence for members who may be trying to get additional resource from their own businesses, as well as providing CPD points for attending.”
In recent weeks this engagement has been extended to Facebook where the Forums have successfully reached out to the new head of law enforcement as the issues that once blighted eBay have now migrated on to the social networking sites. An ongoing dialogue is now in motion in terms of LP and brand protection with additional support from the Anti-Counterfeiting Group.
“We will continue to grow the forums in terms of membership in order to increase networking opportunities and share of voice in order to help retailers collectively reduce their losses. We will also continue to look at ways to add value to our members by engaging with industry bodies and other appropriate external parties,” added Louise.
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