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United Kingdom Professional Bodies and Trade Associations

BackThere are many trade associations and professional bodies in the UK. A trade association, also known as a industry trade group, is an organisation founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organisation, or professional society) is a non-profit organisation seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.
This is not an exhaustive list and is not intended to suggest any approval of the bodies listed. If you cannot find an appropriate association or body please contact us and we will help source one. Please also read our definitions on the 'What does the jargon mean' page.


ABB – Association of British Bookmakers

ABB is the leading trade association representing high street bookmakers in Great Britain.  The ABB's objective is to help create and sustain conditions in which socially responsible betting shop operators can compete and prosper.


ABTA - The Association of British Travel Agents 

ABTA’s main aims are to maintain high standards of trading practice for the benefit of its Members, the travel industry at large, and the consumers that they serve, and to create as favourable a business climate as possible for its Members.


Advertising Association

The Advertising Association exists to provide a co-ordinated service in the interests of its wider membership, i.e. the individual companies that make up this large, diverse, and highly competitive business. Their remit is 'to promote and protect the rights, responsibilities and role of advertising' in the UK. This is in line with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which recognises commercial freedom of speech as a right, alongside political and artistic freedoms of speech.


Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK's independent regulator of advertising across all media, including TV, Internet, sales promotions and direct marketing. Their role is to ensure ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful by applying the Advertising Codes


The Association of International Property Professionals

By promoting the highest standards of professionalism in the international property industry, the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) has been set up to provide the consumer with confidence, and the industry professionals with a united voice.


Air Transport Users Council

The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) is the UK's consumer council for air travellers. 
They help individual passengers with complaints and enquiries about air travel and promote the interests of passengers with industry, government and regulators.


Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL)

ATOL is a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
All holiday companies selling air holiday packages and flights in the UK are required by law to hold a licence called an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL), which is granted after the company has met the CAA’s licensing requirements.
Each ATOL holder is issued with a unique ATOL number, which can be checked on the ATOL website, and must contribute to a protection fund called the Air Travel Trust (ATT). Some ATOL holders must also provide a bond to the ATT. In the event of an ATOL holder’s failure, the ATOL Scheme ensures customers who booked and contracted with the ATOL holder for an air holiday package or a flight, do not lose the money paid over or are not stranded abroad.


Association of British Introduction Agencies

In October 1981 the Association of British Introduction Agencies was created, at the instigation of the Office of Fair Trading, in response to genuine concern about the conduct of dating and introduction agencies.

The ABIA is now recognised generally as the authoritative voice of the introduction industry with its members providing a reputable and ethical service. In the absence, so far, of any official legislation, they aim to create a greater public and media awareness of our service, to raise standards across all of the industry and enhance the image of our industry.


Association of Independent Tour Operators

AITO represents some of Britain's best specialist tour operators. Members are independent companies, most of them owner-managed, specialising in particular destinations or types of holidays. The common aim of all AITO members is to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by concentrating on three main pillars: Choice, Quality and Service, enshrined in the association's Quality Charter.

Companies admitted to AITO are all vetted and fully bonded for client's protection, in compliance with UK and European regulations. They are also bound by AITO's own Code of Business Practice.


Association of Master Upholsterers

The AMUSF was founded in 1947 (then as the AMU) to protect the interests of upholsterers, small furniture makers, and soft furnishers.  In those days of post-war austerity, this group of master craftsmen (and craftswomen) were starved of many of the materials needed for their trades. They felt the need for a group voice and mutual support to tackle the difficulties this caused and, in the highly regulated environment of the time, to ensure that they could influence local and national government in the framing and enforcement of laws which affected them.

The Association recognises that the strength of these trades is dependent on the quality of the service they provide to the public. Endeavouring to underpin consumer confidence in members' work is therefore central to the Association's work.  This is why upholsterers and soft furnishers wishing to join have to have their work inspected to ensure that it is of acceptable quality.  And this vetting process is repeated periodically for existing members.  The Association also has a complaints and mediation procedure to ensure that in those rare instances where there is a dispute between a member and his customer which cannot be resolved amicably, it is settled impartially and justly. We have also published a Consumer Code of Practice outlining what consumers have a right to expect of our members and giving guidance on how to ensure that both a member and his customer are clear on what any contract involves and what the customer can expect from it.


Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)- is the leading trade association for the plumbing and heating industry in England and Wales. All members of the association are reliable, established, businesses which employ fully trained staff and have a commitment to high levels of customer service. Each member undertakes an annual assessment to ensure they are meeting the strict business standards. Part of these standards is to hold and operate an approved Customer Complaints system.

The APHC Customer Charter, to which all members must adhere, sets out the minimum terms that members must offer their customers, including:-

•  Written estimates/quotes
•  Specification of works
•  Any exclusions
•  Terms of Payment
APHC Business Performance Standards cover a wide number of areas of a firm's operation to ensure that they are committed to high levels of service. Among the areas assessed by the Association's staff are:-
•  The business must have been trading under its current name for at least 2 years
•  All operatives must be able to demonstrate suitable levels of competency
•  The business must carry at least £2m of Public Liability Insurance
•  They must work to the APHC Customer Charter
•  They must operate a documented Complaints Handling Procedure
•  They must meet the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations Approved Contractor Scheme
•  They must produce evidence of Financial Probity
For more details of APHC Licensed Plumber Scheme visit the membership page or call the membership services team on 0121 711 5031.

British Association of Removers

The British Association of Removers is dedicated to promoting professional excellence in the Removals Industry. BAR is the recognised voice of the professional moving industry. It is at the forefront of developing and maintaining professional standards and services for the benefit of its members and their customers. 
For the benefit of customers BAR:
•  Sets professional standards for the industry 
•  Provides expert training for the removal industry     
•  Provides professional information and advice to customers
•  Offers a dispute resolution service for residential customers


British Carpet Foundation

This provides an OFT code of Practice.  The Code of Practice approved by the Office of Fair Trading incorporates the highest retail selling standards and gives you absolute reassurance when purchasing a carpet from a Carpet Foundation Member.

The key features of the Code are:
•  It applies to all carpet sold by a Carpet Foundation Member (excluding rugs)
•  Written terms of business must be given prior to the purchase
•  Consumers who cancel an order "on reasonable grounds" should not be penalised
•  Verbal estimates of the cost must be supported by a written quotation which will show the total cost
•  All deposits are protected so in the unlikely event of a business failure, the order will be fulfilled without loss of the deposit
•  Free extended 2 year guarantees are provided by Carpet Foundation manufacturers for manufacturing faults and pile reversal
•  There is an agreed complaints resolution process and timetable
•  A free conciliation service is provided by the Carpet Foundation
•  Low cost arbitration is provided
•  Carpet Foundation Members are regularly monitored to ensure they do deliver the right service
•  There is a non compliance arrangement to deal with those retailers who breach requirements of the Code


British Furniture Manufacturers Association

British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) is a trade association, employers' organisation and member of the European Furniture Manufacturers' Association. BFM has been representing the interests of the furniture industry for more than 60 years. BFM has a broad based membership covering, domestic, contract, office and kitchen manufacturers as well as a number of suppliers to the industry and retailers. In addition to its representational role, BFM offers an extensive membership services portfolio focused on providing 'value for money'.


British Insurance Brokers' Association

The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) is the UK 's leading general insurance organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers.


British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA)

Established in 1967, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the trade body for companies engaged in the leasing and rental of cars and commercial vehicles.
The association regulates the industry through a regular series of quality assurance inspections and a mandatory code of conduct.


Caravan Club

The Caravan Club is by far the largest touring organisation of its kind in Europe. With over half the UK caravanning population as members, it sits at the heart of UK caravanning. With its breadth and depth of expertise, it is the premier source of services and activities for 1 million caravan, motor caravan and trailer tent owners. The Club provides members with a choice of around 200 Club Sites and some 2,500 Certificated Locations, together with an unrivalled range of exclusive services.


Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a not-for-profit, UK registered charity working in the public interest through an international network of branches. It has a global membership of around 12,000 individuals who have professional training in private dispute resolution.


The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering

Founded in 1906, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry.

Membership is made up of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds such as consultants, specifiers, designers, public health engineers, lecturers, trainers, trainees and practitioners.

The CIPHE has a membership of around 10,000 including approximately 260 manufacturers and distributors, which support its work as Industrial Associates. Whilst the majority of members live in the UK, some 750 are resident in Hong Kong and a further 300 are resident in over 30 other countries.


Communications & Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS)

CISAS is an Ofcom-approved scheme that individuals and small businesses (one with 10 or fewer employees) can use to settle their disputes with companies that are members of the scheme (‘member companies’). You do not pay any costs for using CISAS. The only costs you might have to pay are photocopying or postage costs associated with filling in the forms and providing documents. You are not responsible for any of the company’s costs.


Consumer Credit Trade Association (CCTA)

CCTA is one of the longest established Consumer Credit Trade Associations and has an unrivalled pedigree with a proven track record of serving its diverse membership dating back to 1891.


Direct Selling Association (DSA)

The DSA's role is to promote Direct Selling and uphold the highest standards of good practice by its Member Companies through its Codes of Practice.


Equality and Human Rights Commission  

The equality and human rights commission promotes equality and human rights to create a fairer Britain. They do this by providing advice and guidance, working to implement an effective legislative framework and raising awareness of the peoples rights.


Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT)

FACT’s primary purpose is to protect the United Kingdom’s film and broadcasting industry against counterfeiting, copyright and trademark infringements.


Federation against Software Theft (FAST)

The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (IiS), two of the most respected independent names in the UK software industry, have joined forces to strengthen and clarify the advice given to the end user community relating to best practice for Software Asset Management (SAM) and achieving cost efficient licence compliance.


Federation of Master Builders

The FMB is a trade association established over 60 years ago to protect the interests of small and medium-sized building firms – today it is the largest trade association in the UK building industry.



FENSA stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. It has been set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and other industry bodies with Government encouragement in response to the current Building Regulations for England and Wales.


Finance and Leasing Association (FLA)

The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) is a trade association for the consumer credit, motor finance and asset finance sectors, and the largest organisation of its type in Europe.

Their members are banks, subsidiaries of banks and building societies, the finance arms of leading retailers and manufacturing companies and a range of independent firms.


Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The Financial Ombudsman Service settles disputes between consumers and financial service providers.


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Services Authority is the regulator of the financial industry in the UK.


Furniture Ombudsman

TFO's aim is to improve the standard and service offered by retailers, manufacturers and other associated companies in the furniture and home improvement industry.


Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register is the official body for gas safety in United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey. This means that whenever a gas engineer carries out work on your property, by law they must be on the Gas Safe Register.


Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF)

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) is a trade association representing companies who make, supply or fit, glass and glass related products.

This includes replacement windows, energy efficient windows, doors, conservatories, hardware for these products, and all aspects of glass, including double glazed units, safety glazing, fire resistant glass, emergency glazing, decorative glass, secondary glazing, and solar control applied films and sealants.


Hair Dressing Council

The Hairdressing Council was set up in 1964 by an Act of Parliament. This meant that hairdressers can apply to become State Registered in the same way as doctors, dentists or nurses can. The only difference is that it is completely voluntary to belong to the UK Register of qualified hairdressers.


Insolvency Service


Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering


Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales (OLSO)


Master Locksmiths Association

The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) is a non-profit making body; established to set and promote standards of conduct, practice and materials within locksmithing.

The MLA is also Authoritative body for UK locksmithing by: -

- The Police
- Home Office
- British Standards Institute
- Risk Insight Strategy and Control Authority (RISCAuthority)
- Building Research Establishment (BRE)
- The European Locksmiths Federation'

The MLA also owns Sold Secure, an attack test house, certifying security products through attack testing. It operates its own scheme, which is recognised by the Home Office, insurers and police. All testers are relevant industry experts and most are MLA members and the testing is to its’ own high specifications developed with the relevant industry bodies. More details can be obtained at

We also run MLA Expo the UK’s Largest Locksmith & Security Exhibition for the trade, which takes place at the Telford International Centre over the course of 3 days. Details on MLA Expo can be viewed by visiting


National Assocaition of Caravan Owners (NACO)


National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)


National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC)

NFRC is the UK’s largest roofing trade association representing over 60% of the roofing industry by value.


National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)

NICEIC is the UK electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary body. We offer leading certification services, building regulations schemes, products and support to electrical contractors and many other trades within the construction industry.


National House-Building Council

NHBC, the National House-Building Council, is the standard setting body and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK.


Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (OTELO)


Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSO)

The Ombudsman looks to see whether people have been treated unfairly or inconsiderately, or have received a bad service through some fault on the part of the public body providing it.


Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF)

The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services.


Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA)

The SMTA was formed in 1903 to “encourage, promote and protect” the interest of  their members.  Their job is to look after the interests of all their members whether it’s the largest motor group in the country or whether it’s a small MOT station or even just a one man operation in a remote part of the country.


Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

They look into complaints where a member of the public claims to have suffered injustice or hardship as a result of maladministration or service failure. 


The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA)

The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) was formed in 1981 as the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. It was recognised that the requirements of the residential lettings market were so detailed and specific that a separate organisation was required to promote standards in this important and growing sector of the property market.


The Energy Supply Ombudsman

The Energy Supply Ombudsman is a membership body and alternative dispute resolution scheme.


The Housing Ombudsman 


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT)

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) exists to support and promote the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad.


The National Association of Estate Agents 

The National Association of Estate Agents has 10,000 members, all of whom are bound to a strict code of conduct.


The Property Ombudsman

The Property Ombudsman provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between sales and letting agents who have joined the TPO and consumers who are actual or potential buyers or sellers or landlords or tenants of residential property in the UK.


The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association 

VBRA seeks to advance professionalism and excellence through representation, education and the provision of member services for its members.


Funded by BIS

The European Consumer Centre for Services is hosted by the Trading Standards Institute and funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.