Age Verification Forum – April 2023
During the last week of April our Client, Sales and Marketing team came together with over twenty of our clients, to Sama Bankside in South-East London, to tackle the challenging nature of compliance in the e-cigarette sector at our Age Verification Forum. With reports of underage, proxy and illicit vape sales continuing to cover the media, we were keen to facilitate discussions and provoke conversations on best practice in this sector. The aims of our forum were to equip and support our clients in their businesses’ age verification compliance, with a focus on the emerging risks with government testing and mass media attention.
Upon arrival our clients were greeted by their client manager and welcomed by our CEO, Ed Heaver, who gave a brief overview of Serve Legal and the origins of the business. Our Data and Systems Manager, Matt, and Operations Manager, Seth, offered an insight into the logistical processes behind Serve Legal. This included how we maintain personable relationships with our auditors - supporting their wellbeing and career development, and how we are continuing to invest in and develop our data systems. This allowed our clients to see beyond the results of the audit reports, to the teams who are conducting, authorising and processing each individual audit.
The event then included seven short sessions where our team were able to present our exclusive Serve Legal market data. This was presented by our Senior Client and Sales Manager, Ali, and our Commercial and Client Manager, Matt. Through outlining audit trends, customer experience reports, auditor survey results and new legislation we were able to inform clients of the extent of challenges that the vaping sector is facing, outside of their business - on a nationwide scale.
We were honored to have UKVIA Director General John Dunne join us to discuss risks to retailers and the importance of adhering to the UK regulations around e-cigarette use and sale. John’s segment allowed clients to ask questions and discuss the repercussions of illicit vape sales with a senior member of the UKVIA as well as our contact at Trading Standards. Partner and Compliance Manager at John Lewis Partnership, Kate Thatcher, joined us to discuss her personal endeavors within Waitrose and John Lewis, to better their compliance. Kate was able to share the best practice solutions that she has encouraged within her team, as a result of their Serve Legal testing, and offer support to fellow clients in the room.
We concluded the day with a best practice workshop from our Client and Sales Manager, Jenni Garratt. Jenni was able to provoke discussions between clients from a range of businesses, trading bodies and sectors. Our clients were able to raise concerns which they felt were unique to their business, but were instead echoed and supported by the fellow attendees. Our team were able to discuss best practice solutions with clients and find both logistical and operational methods for improvement.
The event finished with a couple of hours at the bar in the venue allowing our team and clients to network and to continue to share best practice solutions. Events like this allow us to remind our clients that our offering is more than a service – we promise to support each individual business with their compliance concerns through our independent audit programmes, personal client manager contacts and vast nationwide auditor database.
Senior Director of JUUL, David Randall, commended our team for the day: 'Thank you for hosting the Age Verification forum yesterday, it was a fantastic opportunity to bring together a group of people who are passionate about improving AV in retail and have the influence to drive change. Congratulations to the whole Serve Legal team who put on an exceptional event. I was impressed at how well informed the team was on the e-cigarette category, spoke confidently to some of the more nuanced details or laws and came across professionally when challenging the norm.'