UKCA, the official marking on products that shows conformity to relevant technical requirements and the mark which shows wholesalers and consumers that a product is safe for use and saleable in the UK.
Replacing the CE marking for products as part of the UK’s exit from the EU, UKCA is now the mandatory certification for products, including toys sold in the UK.
This means if you are procuring products from overseas and importing items such as toys to Great Britain, there are set criteria you must meet and manage to remain compliant and avoid the risk of severe fines, prosecution, and even product recalls, negatively affecting your sales and business reputation.
Rules and regulations around UKCA
Standing for UK Conformity Assessed, UKCA marking officially launched on 1st January 2021 and covers toys and various other products sold in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, ensuring conformity to specific regulations and safety requirements.
UKCA marking is a non-negotiable requirement for children’s goods and toys, indicating that products meet the requirements stated in the Toy Safety Directive.
This means when procuring toys from overseas, you have a responsibility to ensure the following:
- Toy material choice is safe for use. I.e., you manufacture toys to meet certain strength, stability, and risk management areas (i.e., sharp edges).
- Toys are not flammable.
- Toys must not contain or release any harmful substances.
- Electrical safety has been considered and managed.
- Hygiene elements have been well thought out.
- Toys are labeled with appropriate age grades.
Quality checks must be carried out as standard to meet these requirements and more, with complete documentation provided to your chosen manufacturer and supplier for guidance, which leads us to…
Declaration of conformity
A Declaration of Conformity must be completed and accompany all products in question. This document outlines that the product is fit for purpose and meets all regulatory requirements.
High-risk toys, such as those that are motorised or those that produce light and sound, must have a conformity assessment showing that an approved UK body tested the product, and it meets all requirements. For lower-risk toys, manufacturers can self-certify.
It’s important to be aware that without the appropriate quality checks and UKCA markings, your product may never reach the country for which it is destined.
In addition, customs authorities have the power to check, hold, seize, and destroy incoming shipments that are not correctly labelled or don’t have the required documentation.
Your `Declaration of Conformity highlights how compliance is achieved and should include the contact details of the manufacturer, suppliers, and any storage facilities where the product may be held.
The information within this document must be clear and transparent, covering product identification and serial numbers and the date declaration was issued.
As part of your declaration of conformity, you must also:
- Produce an extensive technical file.
Manufacturers must be able to provide technical documentation outlining the design and manufacturing process the product has been through.
Providing details on how the toy will specifically comply with safety requirements, covering areas such as testing, quality control procedures, product descriptions, designs, standards, risk assessments, instructions for use, and more.
All of these details combined form your technical file, and everyone involved in your supply chain should have access to this document, which is to be kept for ten years.
- Have a test report available.
Customs can often request copies of your test reports to check compliance and ensure standards before completing the importing process; always have a copy of your test reports available upon request.
How GHL can help
We know that when procuring products overseas, the scope of regulation can differ, meaning product compliance can require so much more to ensure products are both safe and saleable.
We also understand that communication can be challenging when procuring and the main obstacle to achieving 100% compliance.
That’s why with our years of experience offering complete procurement solutions, working across supply chains of all sizes, and having teams on the ground in Xiamen, China, we provide procurement solutions that work.
We work with manufacturers with the technical expertise and manufacturing capability to produce UKCA-compliant products, avoiding communication misunderstandings and conducting quality and testing checks at regular intervals.
We’re well-versed and highly experienced in UKCA Marking, and we work closely with you and the manufacturer to ensure everyone knows expectations and requirements. Communication is clear, transparent, and includes specific instructions.
When it comes to quality checks and sampling, we build this into processes and systems. Ensuring checks are matched against pre-agreed samples to ensure consistency and continuous high quality. We aim through quality control checks to guarantee the integrity of a product before you enter into mass production.
(Make sure to read our post on “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Manufacturing Overseas,” where we also provide useful information from vetting and checking manufacturers to outlining key contract points and highlighting what you should consider if you enter into dispute resolution.)
The process of procuring products overseas comes with many benefits; however, we understand it is complex and involves many regulations.
The good news is the team at GHL is on hand to help.
Call us today at 02922 671826 or check out our procurement solutions online.