Nazir’s Hajj Project wins the CTSI Hero Awards 2022

Published: 24 November 2022

By Taz Choudhury 

On 23rd November, at the House of Lords, London the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) held its 17th annual Hero Award, celebrating the achievements of the remarkable individuals and groups of people who have made outstanding contributions towards consumer protection in our communities and safeguarding businesses to ensure a level playing field and subsequently, contribute to the economic development of the UK.

Previous Heroes include trading standard officers, scam victims, charity workers, business owners and even sniffer dogs. All are nominated by colleagues and networks within the consumer protection landscape.

The 2022 Hero Award nominations were in 11 different categories:

  • Trading Standards Hero
  • Outstanding Trading Standards Project
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • CTSI Brian Smith Individual Heroes
  • Intellectual Property Award
  • Financial Institution Award
  • Business Award
  • Best Consumer Protection Campaign or Journalist
  • Product Safety Initiative
  • Political Award
  • The Institute’s Hero 2022

The Hajj Project, led by Nazir Ali, now a Team Leader at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Trading Standards Service, won in the Institute’s Hero 2022 category.

The Institute’s Hero is a special award given by the Institute to the individual we believe has made an unrivalled impression on consumer protection in the UK.

The award ceremony was hosted by Lord Jamie Lindsay, the 16th Earl of Lindsay and the current President of CTSI with a drinks and canapes reception in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords. The procession was chaired by Liz Barclay – Small Business Commissioner. Also opening remarks were from Tendy Lindsay, the current Chair of CTSI and Jerry Burnie from the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA).

Also in attendance were many dignitaries and parliamentarians including MP Rebecca Long Bailey, John Herriman, CEO of CTSI, Cllr Syed Feroz Ghani Lead Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, Barking and Dagenham, and Julia Kanji Service Manager Barking and Dagenham to name a few.

All the award winners received an engraved trophy.


Founded in 1881, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is one of the world’s longest-established organisations dedicated to the fields of Trading Standards and Consumer Protection.

 A summary of the Hajj Project – Using traditional tools to tackle modern challenges

  • Before the Covid 19 pandemic, about 25,000 people from the UK took the Hajj pilgrimage. It is a very spiritually significant and an impactful event for many Muslim residents across the UK. This cohort includes the elderly, and the vulnerable communities.
  • This ongoing project, now in its 12th year, was initiated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in 2010 after a major Hajj Fraud case involving a Mr. Faruk Ahmed and his mediocre travel agency; Qibla Hajj Kafela, defrauding almost £1M from about 700 victims.
  • The project continued in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
  • This project was also launched and discussed at the House of Lords, APPG Hajj & Umrah in October 2011.

The project

This two-pronged approach involving the civil and criminal aspects of the Package Travel Regulations and consumer rights.

The mosque tours were in partnership with Health & Safety, giving out information on health and infectious disease, as well as advice on how to protect themselves from unscrupulous and rogue travel agents.

It involved a consultation bus being stationed outside selected mosques during Friday (Jummu’ah) prayers over a period and providing trading standards and health and safety information to mosque-goers. Mosque announcements were made before the sermon and people were invited on to the bus by offering goodies such as pens, fridge magnets, shopping trolley tokens and advice leaflets with a checklist of things to ask for when booking Hajj packages, including an ATOL certificate and travel itinerary. They were also able to report any suspect trader agents.

Post-Covid changes & 2022 activities

Since the start of the global travel Covid 19 lockdowns, the Hajj & Umrah was also closed to the public. The Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia launched a new online Hajj portal. Their first electronic registration for pilgrims from Europe (includes the UK), Americas and Australia.


This high-profile project enabled trading standards to reach out to the Muslim community. The trading standards and other regulatory services were well-promoted within the Muslim community. We envisaged it has reached out to thousands of people over the weeks and years it was being delivered (including on social media).

The compliance visits carried out would have had a positive impact on the travel industry and has enhanced consumer confidence when dealing with Hajj providers, knowing that they have been monitored and inspected by Trading Standards.

The success of this project shows reduction in Hajj fraud and scams.