London, 12 January 2022 – The Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO), the standards body for Covid testing companies, has appointed British former politician Tom Watson as its Chair.
Watson will drive the strategy of the LTIO, leading its Advisory Board while engaging with the media and government on issues of concern to its members.
Watson joins the body after a career which has seen him work as Deputy Leader of The Labour Party and Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East; Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; and Minister for the Civil Service and Digital Engagement. Watson continues to hold roles as Chair of UK Music and President of Counter Culture LLP.
The appointment comes as the LTIO enters a 2022 in which Covid-19 testing continues to play a hugely important role in keeping people and businesses safe during the pandemic. By representing only reputable testing companies that are ethical and transparent about pricing and service levels, the LTIO differentiates from rogue operators which exploit consumers and damage the testing industry’s reputation.
To support consumers in choosing a provider for their Covid test, the LTIO has established a mark of quality to ensure providers meet the highest standards of quality and customer service. The accreditation is only available to companies who are members of the LTIO and meet the organisation’s high admission standards. These include accepting a strict code of conduct, as well as having an independent Trustpilot score of 3.5 or above.
Tom Watson commented: “I am excited to play a part in an organisation that is driving standards in diagnostic testing. Rigorous science is at the heart of this growing industry, and the LTIO’s aim is to represent robust standards to maintain public confidence at this pivotal time. I recognise that there’s a pressing need for us to improve the industry’s relationship with Government to ensure more recognition of the importance of its role – and fewer policy surprises.”
Chris Conlon, Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Oxford, supports the appointment as a positive step for the laboratory and testing industry: “Covid has revealed the need to represent the important role that reputable testing firms play in society – and for those that do not stand by the same high standards to receive censure. The appointment of Tom Watson will allow the LTIO to make this case with an even louder voice.”
Francis Ingham, Independent Director, LTIO, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Tom Watson as Chair of the LTIO. He comes with an exceptional background in public service, combined with unparalleled communication skills and strategic insight.”