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By Nat Daniels

CEO, Angels Media


Property Natter - day in the life of a NTSELAT policy manager

Given their leading role in the recent upfront information revolution, interest in the work of the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT for short) has risen significantly in recent months.

One of the key cogs in that machine is Emma Cooke, Policy & Information Manager at the organisation. Here, she sets out the average day in the life of a NTSELAT policy manager.

First off, a bit of background. NTSELAT is currently part-way through a three-phase plan to transform material information on property listings, ably led from the front by Emma's boss, the always measured and calm James Munro, working in conjunction with industry bodies and the property portals. Its main day-to-day role is to protect consumers and businesses by enforcing the Estate Agents Act (1979) and the Tenant Fees Act 2019.


The body is funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with letting agency regulation (covering England) led by Bristol City Council and estate agency enforcement (across the UK) operated from Powys County Council - where Emma and James work. What's more, the team work closely with local authorities who have local enforcement responsibilities.

So, now you're a bit more clued up on NTSELAT, it's time to hear Emma's average day. Take it away!

I didn’t set out to be a trading standards officer – I thought I would be a French teacher! I studied languages with business management at university.  

In 2018, I joined National Trading Standards in the Estate & Letting Agency Team as an Investigator and, in 2020, I became the Policy & Information Manager…so, here goes the day in the life of a Policy & Information Manager with NTSELAT.

5am – My alarm goes off and I get out of bed, trying not to wake up my husband. I am a morning person, it is my favourite time of day. I use the quiet time to catch up on the news, put a load of washing on, the usual boring but necessary chores. Usually, by 6am, I’m out the house for my 10 mile run. I am very fortunate to live right next to a country park, so I love running, just listening to nature. It is my time to think about my day ahead and it helps keep me sane!

By 8.30am, I have already showered and am at my desk working. I usually start by reading through the property journals, reviewing the headlines and checking my ‘to do’ list for the day ahead. The team is the UK regulator for estate agency work, and oversees lettings legislation in England.

My working hours vary, as does my work on a day-to-day basis - sometimes I manage to finish at 5pm, other times it can be much later. I catch up on emails and catch up with team members to check in with where we are with our workloads and what meetings we’re going to be attending. 

I tend to have meetings every day with various stakeholders; to have a day with no meetings is a very rare thing, but a wonderful opportunity for catching up on reports, consultations and guidance. Those are the days that I can usually finish work at a sensible time! I support James Munro, the Team Manager, with finance and budgets, and I tend to deal with procurement matters. James and I usually speak every day.

On the policy side we respond to consultations, and we review our existing guidance for industry and enforcement officers. I regularly attend and speak at conferences, and I also take part in recording webinars for enforcement officers on a variety of subjects; it could be specific legislation, such as the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, or about redress enforcement.  

I also take part in podcasts. I oversee our work on redress and alternative dispute resolution schemes and sometimes my days involve attending governance meetings with The Property Ombudsman and The Property Redress Scheme, alongside DLUHC colleagues. 

As the lead officer for the material information work, it requires my attention on a daily basis. This could vary from attending steering group meetings, attending and chairing the working group meetings, to working on industry guidance or attending various industry meetings to engage with industry stakeholders.   

Aside from my day job, I am a qualified coach and mentor, I am Chair of the Trading Standards Institute Welsh Branch and I am lead officer for the Environment for Trading Standards Wales. I am also one of three UK lead officers for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute for Property and Lettings. These areas also keep me very busy.

5pm – I try to make sure I take a break to make dinner for my family; we have two wonderful boys, aged 21 and 18. I love cooking and baking and after having a very busy day, it helps me relax and I also love hearing about everybody’s day. 

Between 6pm and 7pm – I review my ‘to do’ list and try to prioritise my tasks for the following day. I respond to outstanding emails before finally logging off.

After a hot bath and perhaps watching a programme with my hubby, I head up to bed by 9.30pm. Early to bed, early to rise…for it to all begin again the following day.

Thanks very much for the brilliant insight, Emma - and I take my hat off to you for that early morning run! If only I could say the same.

Until next time...


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