Benefits of Membership

Founded in 1944, the British Toy & Hobby Association is the official organisation representing manufacturers for Britain’s £3.4 billion toy market. The Association promotes the highest standards of safety and quality in the manufacture of toys, games and playthings.

No manufacturer is admitted to membership unless he /she undertakes to manufacture products in accordance with the requirements of the Toy Safety Directive, to hold the required documentation and is able to satisfy the Association’s toy safety advisor of a commitment to a safe manufacturing process.

The BTHA Code of Practice also requires members to commit to responsible practices on both marketing to children and environmental issues to best reflect members’ commitment to good practice

The BTHA represents the interests of the toy industry on a national and international level, addressing issues and commercial problems which could have a profound effect on the toy business. The BTHA is engaged in European discussions through an active membership of Toy Industries of Europe and other European working committees. It is an active member of a number of committees and organisations in the UK reflecting technical and security expertise to responsible marketing and IP protection, in order to reflect the facets of the responsible toy industry in UK policy discussions.

The BTHA secretariat in London is headed by the Director General, Roland Earl and seven staff. The activities of the Association are directed by Council, elected annually. The Council, in turn, is supported by the work of six committees (Technical, Sustainability, Public Relations and Public Affairs, Toy Fair, Toy Trust and Finance) whose members are drawn from the Council, as well as the wider membership, all of whom have specialist knowledge of their committee’s working area.

If you are involved in toy manufacturing, the BTHA is well placed to represent your interests.

Below are some of the benefits of membership, please scroll down for the full list. Items marked with an asterisk * are available to full members only.

Access to LEGALLY ASSURED BTHA safety guides and the BTHA Primary Authority Partnership Scheme*
   Use of the Association’s Lion Mark scheme (subject to terms and conditions) *
   A Toy Fair discount (if accepted into membership by the first Council meeting of the year prior to Toy Fair)*
   Members Only information, guidance and services on the BTHA website.*
   A vote at the Annual General Meeting.*
   BTHA weekly news email service and important website guidance documents*
   Free safety advice and subsidised visits from the Toy safety consultancy*
   Expert information on the Toy Safety Directive.
   Free access to relevant BSI standards and certain ASTM standards (U.S.A.), free access to Chemtrac and use of the BTHA’s Toyograph (toy chemical risk assessment system)*
   Access to supply chain and sustainability advice *
   Legal advice*
   Free meeting room facilities for members in Central London at the BTHA’S HQ, including free conference facilities
   Listing on The BTHA’s website www.btha.co.uk
   Protection of business interests
   Help and advice from the secretariat on any industry-related issues
   Representation at all parliamentary and EU levels
   Public relations support for the industry and allied issues
   Suppliers offers
   The opportunity to enjoy a variety of special events and social occasions which are valuable networking opportunities
   The benefit of linkage with the charitable activities of the Toy Trust
   A link, and the chance to get involved with the Make Time to Play campaign
   A concession on joining “The On Pack Recycling Label” (formally “Recycle Now”) on pack labelling scheme, depending on circumstances

Advice and Support from the Secretariat

Legal advice

– The BTHA’s solicitors, DLA Piper, offer a FREE telephone service for members who have general legal queries. The service is for issues that need a quick response of up to 15 minutes of FREE time. (Please note; more detailed legal advice may incur a fee which will be discussed before any work is done).

General Advice and Representation

– The Association has taken a close interest in many political areas that impact on members business, such as responsible marketing communications practice under the self-regulatory system.  Help and advice on best marketing practice can be found in the CSR section of the website. There are other areas too where the Association endeavours to ensure the interests of members are properly represented such as with government-backed enquiries in to areas such as commercialisation, advertising and packaging and to highlight the responsible nature of the BTHA membership, as you would expect. The BTHA is actively engaged on issues such as the new data protection regulation, counterfeiting, Brexit, plastics and advertising and marketing rules. If you have any issues you want the BTHA to address, or you wish to feed into current discussions please contact Natasha@btha.co.uk.

Public relations work

The BTHA works to highlight the importance of play and toys in child development – through the media and relevant third parties.  This is an active programme, as well as responding to numerous requests from the media. In 2009 we had a major value of play conference, with a host of academics speaking to an audience of members and influential third parties about the importance of toys and play and during 2010 the BTHA developed a campaign to promote the benefits of play to children and their parents, under the banner of Make Time 2 Play. In 2014 the campaign won the Best CSR award from the Trade Association Forum. In 2015 the campaign called on prospective parliamentary candidates to support the importance of play in the run up to the elections. In 2017 MT2P capitalised on its message on the importance of play through its social media presence on Facebook www.facebook.com/maketimetoplay and twitter,www.twitter.com/maketime2play and on the dedicated website, www.maketime2play.co.uk, as well as adverts on TV and cinema and via a free Apple and Android app. Members are actively encouraged to get involved with the campaign.

Contact rebecca@btha.co.uk to get involved with the campaign.

Publications and Promotion

– The BTHA produces a number of leaflets on the benefits of play and is currently creating a series of leaflets giving advice on the best forms of toys and play for children with special needs. All BTHA leaflets are available from the website.

National Partnerships

The BTHA, over many years, has forged strong relationships with key government departments to try to ensure fair and reasonable regulation for the conduct of the business of members. It is active in its relations with government in both Westminster and Brussels on matters affecting the toy industry and encourages dialogue with government organisations, opinion formers and key groups that affect the climate for the toy industry.

In addition, the BTHA recognises the importance of maintaining good links with related organisations and those opinion formers with an interest in children, safety, marketing of toys and sustainability.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute is extremely important to the BTHA and the wider toy industry. The BTHA places a strong emphasis on working closely with Trading Standards to create a fair, well regulated market place. The BTHA exhibit each year at the Chartered Trading Standards Symposium and run seminars during the event to impart knowledge to Trading Standards Officers about toy safety.

The BTHA also runs a toy retailer forum which brings together retailers, under anti-trust arrangements, to discuss issues issues impacting members. These events centre around the BTHA guides and technical information  and sharing technical knowledge in the belief that this will make it more likely for retailers to implement legislation in the same way as members.

Europe

The BTHA has taken major steps to ensure that there is efficient and effective representation for members in Europe. The BTHA was instrumental in the formation of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) which was established as a European toy interest group in Brussels, of which the BTHA is still an active member. The BTHA will remain a member of TIE throughout the Brexit process and sees the close relationship as a way of liaising with European colleagues for the benefit of the relationships for members beyond the current negotiations.

The BTHA has also engaged with politicians and engaged with stakeholders in the UK and Europe on issues impacting members during the Brexit discussions and negotiations.

Membership of the BTHA also ensures effective representation on international toy safety committees. Members of the Technical committee are active in European safety groups and have been successful in creating working safety documents which have been adopted by the European Commission for use throughout the EU.

Global

The BTHA is an active member of the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), with a BTHA director sitting on the ICTI Board of Directors. This group meets at least once a year to discuss global toy issues and to swap best practice to ensure members of associations around the globe are trying to achieve the highest standards possible for their membership and to discuss cooperation and alignment where possible.

ICTI Ethical Toy Program – Formerly known as the ICTI CARE Process, the Ethical Toy Program is the toy industry programme to promote ethical manufacturing, in the form of fair labour treatment, as well as employee health and safety. Its initial focus is in China, where approximately 80 percent of the world’s toy volume is manufactured. Its intent is to provide a single, fair, thorough and consistent programme to monitor toy factories’ compliance with ICTI’s Code of Business Practices.

The BTHA asks every member to annually declare their commitment to using the Ethical Toy Program factory standards or an equivalent or higher recognised ethnical compliance standard in their manufacture of toys.

The Lion Mark*

Full membership of the BTHA gives members the ability to use the Lion Mark on packaging for toys for the U.K. market. The Lion Mark continues to be an important, easily identifiable mark for trading standards officers as well as the public at large. It identifies a member of the BTHA and the associated adherence to the BTHA’s Code of Practice, notably in terms of product safety (but also in other areas; ethical and safe manufacture of toys, a ban on counterfeit goods, an assurance to market responsibly, a commitment to improving sustainability and a desire to promote the value of all play). The Lion Mark was launched in 1988 and is a unique consumer safety quality mark for toys.

Full members may apply for a licence to use the Mark.

Toy Safety

Toy Safety is the first priority of the BTHA and the Association strives to support its members in attaining the high safety standards expected of a responsible toy industry.

One of the main roles of the BTHA is to help ensure toy safety and toy business go hand in hand. The BTHA does this in five ways;

  • We work hard to try to stop unworkable legislation negatively affecting the way you are able to conduct your business.
  • We utilise industry expertise from within member companies to break down new legislation into understandable information and guidance documents.
  • We provide safety advice to keep you up-to-date with all the latest information via; safety advisory calls, visits, conferences and newsflashes.
  • We create, or negotiate access to, tools and systems to help to deliver easy ways to meet compliance
  • We subsidise toy safety expertise

Safety Advisory Service* – All members of the BTHA have access to a confidential safety advisory service which can help with safety related issues.

In the first instance the service allows you to ask, free-of-charge, about any safety issue over the telephone and our safety advisors will help with your query in a confidential and sympathetic environment. The free telephone or email service is there to answer general safety enquiries or issues you may have come across during the course of your business. There is a limit to the amount of advice that we can offer and the type of advice that can be offered without detailed knowledge of the product or trading conditions. The advisory service would be able to point members in the right direction and answer straightforward questions, limited to a few questions per year for each member. However where the advice becomes consultancy, which would require product samples or a more lengthy discussion, we suggest the subsidised consultancy offer detailed below or suggest you discuss the costs of independent consultancy offered by consultancy services.

Subsidised Detailed Toy Safety Consultancy* – In addition to the free telephone service, the BTHA offers members a more detailed level of advice.

The BTHA will subsidise a visit by one of our safety advisors to come to your offices and help with any technical advice on your products. The cost for the day would normally be £400 plus expenses, however the BTHA will subsidise the visit by £200 to ensure you have low-cost access to safety advice as you need it. Visits are limited to two visits per member per year (as availability of experts allow).

Safety Surgeries* – In addition BTHA safety advisors offer FREE safety surgeries on site at Toy Fair each year. You can book your appointment through the safety advisory service in advance of the fair.

Safety Newsflashes – Members will be kept up-to-date on the latest safety information via our regular safety newsflashes which will direct you to new information on the safety pages of the BTHA website. Once you are a member you can email the BTHA to ensure your in-house safety advisor is sent these updates directly, simply email the BTHA to let us know their contact details; safety@btha.co.uk or update your contacts profile on the BTHA website.

Safety Pages of the BTHA website – The BTHA has created members-only access for sections of the new BTHA website which only members of the BTHA have access to. Before legislation and compliance guidelines are published we give members early advice on potential issues. These pages are locked to non-members and are accessible once members are logged-in to the website.

Once guidance/legislation is finalised it may be unlocked so that retailers and other partners can access information that will help members in their industry relationships and interpretations.

Toy Safety Expertise – The BTHA retains a number of toy safety experts to keep up-to-date on the latest developments and to give advice to the membership. These experts work with a wider field of toy safety specialists from the BTHA membership through the BTHA’s Technical Committee. They also meet regularly with advisors from the wider industry.

The group meets three times a year as a full committee and smaller working groups meet between these times to cover specialist subjects. Many of the members are specialists in their field and represent the wider toy industry in discussions, helping to develop the key toy safety standards through various working groups, both inside and outside the BTHA.

The work of the Technical Committee is fed back into the European Union and into other associations and key stakeholder groups (such as Toy Industries of Europe, the International Council of Toy Industries, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Exiting Europe and others) to ensure the BTHA has a voice during discussions on toy safety issues that will affect members.

One of the committee’s main roles is to develop guidance for BTHA members and to highlight potential upcoming issues for consideration. Once an upcoming issue has been highlighted the committee establishes the best experts to look into the subject and to draw up working guidelines to help standardise the response to the issue and clarify the toy industry’s position.

BTHA coordinated Primary Authority Partnership

In March 2014 the BTHA signed a memorandum of understanding with Milton Keynes Council and entered into a coordinated Primary Authority partnership. This means that unless companies opt-out, all members of the BTHA are part of the scheme (which is free) and will get legal assurance against any prosecution within the UK if they follow the guide advice.

Primary Authorities provide robust, bespoke advice that must be respected by all other local regulators. This enables businesses to invest with confidence in products, practices and procedures, knowing that the resources they devote to compliance are well spent. When advice or documents are assured by a Primary Authority, under certain circumstances, members following the guidance can be defended against any legal action within the UK.

BTHA Standards Service – FREE access to selected product Standards from BSI* – The BTHA are able to offer full members view-only access to standards via the British Standards Online system. Many members will each spend a considerable sum each year on relevant BSI standards. This service allows you to access them for free.

You are able to visit BSI online to view a list of up to 200 selected product standards that cover toys (please be aware that these will be available to view online but will not allow you to download or print the documents). The list of accessible standards in the BTHA subscription should cover the majority of members’ needs for toys, nursery and related electrical items. In addition to the standards members can set themselves up for e-mail notifications when standards change which will help to meet legal requirements relating to monitoring and using the latest product standards.

Toyograph* – Members have FREE access to the chemical risk assessment system development by the BTHA safety experts – Toyograph. Toyograph® has been developed by the BTHA in association with Bureau Veritas as a ‘Chemicals toolkit’ exclusively for FULL BTHA members. It has been designed to help identify the restricted substances that are likely to be present within commonly used toy materials so members can decide on appropriate, targeted compliance routes.

Toyograph® is an interactive web based tool designed to allow manufacturers to use their Bill of Materials to determine which materials are at risk of containing restricted substances above the limits specified in legislation or at levels that may be a safety concern. Toyograph is constantly updated to keep ahead of restrictions to help members to stay ahead of changes to the law and consider material choices in design well in advance of regulatory changes.

The Toyograph can be used to:

  • Demonstrate compliance to standards and regulations as part of the Conformity Assessment.
  • Assist in the obligation to Ensure Conformity of Series Production with regards to chemical compliance.
  • Assist in carrying out the Chemical Safety Assessment as required by the Toy Safety Directive.
  • Assist in the consideration of chemical safety and compliance during product development and product specification.
  • Identify questions for factories concerning raw material content.
  • The Toyograph is intended to cover commonly used materials and a defined legislative scope. To find out more about Toyograph log on to the members access area of the BTHA website and visit www.toyograph.co.uk

Yordas Hive® * – With the ever increasing number of restricted substances companies need a way to stay up to date with regulatory restrictions and with full details of substances. Yordas Hive® is a database of over 150,000 substances which are matched to more than 50 EU and global regulations. Users can search, filter and sort substances and download full details of an individual substance. Users can use this information for their own product knowledge as well as in responses to media and customer concerns. The BTHA subscription service is free to full members and includes the BTHA substance watch list that will highlight possible future restrictions for the toy industry.

Public Relations Work

The BTHA takes every opportunity to promote responsible members and their products and actively engage with the media on behalf of the industry if there are issues to address in a public forum. BTHA statements written in response to public issues are shared with members to help assist them if needed.

Sustainability

The BTHA has a sustainability Committee made up of industry and sustainability experts to keep up-to-date on the latest developments and to give advice to the membership. The group meets three times a year as a full committee helping to develop advice and guidance for members and feeding into wider national and European networks to influence legislation and decisions which will impact the membership.

The Sustainability Committee have created a practical guide to help companies to better understand how to assess and reduce their environmental impact in order to make cost and environmental savings. The Environmental Impact Assessment is available on the sustainability pages of the BTHA website alongside case studies from BTHA members. The aim of these sections is to encourage best practice; to inspire all members to work to achieve a more sustainable industry; to reduce waste; reduce resources and reduce costs.

Guidance and advice on social sustainability are provided to members via the BTHA website and newsflash service including details on ICTI CARE and the Modern Slavery Act.

 

Comply Direct – BTHA members can take advantage of a free environmental review. The review will assess your business obligations across producer responsibilities under the packaging, WEEE and Batteries Directives. Comply Direct can advise if you need to registrar both in the UK and in any European counties that you sell into. Members should contact Sarah Foster  for more information.  BTHA members also have free access to Comply Direct’s environmental and sustainability webinars which run throughout the year. Please contact Natasha@btha.co.uk for listings and how to register.

Events

Toy Fair and the Industry Awards– The BTHA runs an annual trade event at Olympia Exhibition Centre, West London, in January each year. It is the largest dedicated toy trade event in the UK calendar and attracts exhibitors from small innovative start-up companies to some of our largest members. Visitors cover the spectrum of toy retailers in the UK, as well as other industry partners including licensors and inventors.

Members are entitled to a significant discount of 24% for the Toy Fair * as long as they are accepted into membership by the BTHA Council at the first Council meeting of the previous year.

Industry Awards -At the end of the first day of Toy Fair the industry comes together to celebrate the best of the business at the annual Industry Awards Evening. Organised with the Toy Retailers Association, the awards evening includes food, drink and a chance to network and the presentation of awards to the best retailers and suppliers of the year as well as recognition of individuals who have made a special contribution to the toy industry with the presentation of Golden Teddies and Special Recognition Awards. All members are welcome to attend the event; tickets are available from November.

The Training Hub – The BTHA is here to help members to understand the legal and best practice requirements of conducting their business. It organises educational workshops and events throughout the year and details will be shared with members as the events are added to the programme. In 2017 events covered Modern Slavery and supply chains, data protection regulation, new rules on marketing and advertising to children and toy safety

AGM / Industry Day – Members are encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting which takes place in June each year. To make the visit even more worthwhile the BTHA organises an Industry Day for the remainder of the day. In conjunction with the Toy Retailers Association a programme of speakers and networking opportunities are organised for members to meet guests from all aspects of the industry. Details are sent out at the end of April.

Contact Majen@btha.co.uk for more information on any BTHA events.

The Toy Trust

Membership of the Association brings you into the Toy Trust community. The Toy Trust is the toy industry’s Charity (administered by the BTHA). The Toy Trust charity committee brings together representatives from across the whole of the industry to raise money for deprived or disadvantaged children. Support comes from suppliers, retailers, licensors and media partners as well as from the industry’s trade magazines. All members are welcome to take part in the Toy Trust activities which raises an average of £250,000 – £300,000 per year for children’s causes and in 2017 surpassed £5,500,000 raised since the trusts inception. The money has helped more than 1,750 charities– with all money raised helping to support disadvantaged children.  The events are also a fantastic opportunity for networking or team building.

During 2018 initiatives include a raffle of prizes generously donated by the industry, the Toy Trust Big Challenge, the annual media auction and the Christmas Card Initiative.  Throughout the year there are other sporting events also held to raise money for the charity.

For more information on the Toy Trust contact Matt Jones or visit the Toy Trust website

Central London Meeting facilities

The BTHA has three meeting rooms available for our members to use and the facilities themselves are FREE to members, subject to availability. Free room hire includes full AV provision, SuperFast Broadband and free tea and coffee. Other catering is also available and can be arranged on request via Tracey Butcher on 020 7701 7271 or email Tracey@btha.co.uk, please note catering fees may apply.

Please see below an image of rooms on offer including room capacities.