Policy & Research

Public services

We are no longer working on this topic due to changes in our funding and remit. See our About us page for more information. The information below reflects our work up to the end of 2012.

Consumers deserve a good experience whether a service is provided by the private or the public sector. Indeed, for many people public services are the ones that really matter to them. With huge pressure on public sector budgets, improving customer service and responding to the needs of consumers will be more of a challenge than ever.

Our approach at Consumer Focus is to help public bodies deliver services which are efficient but which are designed to meet the needs of their consumers from the very beginning.

Looking for our online public services work… see our online public services page for more information.

What Consumer Focus is doing?

We take the measure of how well public services are performing. Looking across the public sector and spotlighting particular services we are developing a unique insight into how well our essential services are learning the lessons of customer service, consumer information and complaint handling. This insight helps services improve and helps consumers get more out of the services and support they need.

The first hurdle people face is often the most difficult – how can you find out what’s available? Navigating public services and government support can prove an insuperable obstacle for many. Putting everything online is important, but just as important is involving consumers and communities to find out how they actually engage with services on and offline. The fast track to more efficient and effective services is to engage the people who use them. That is what Consumer Focus is here to promote.

Thinkpublic stage 1 and 2 reports into social care for Consumer Focus

The internet is a key information resource for consumers. We commissioned a survey into people’s responses to the prospect of online peer feedback about social care services and how to overcome the challenges (Care Homes Thinkpublic Stage 1 report – PDF 1.94 MB). Based on the findings we created and tested a design specifically for collecting feedback from care service users (Care Homes Thinkpublic stage 2 report  – PDF 1.20 MB).

Latest News

  • November e-newsletter: Bringing down energy debt, shining the spotlight on public services and more

    24 November 2011

    This month: • A new campaign to help consumers manage energy debt • ScottishPower ends doorstep sales • Young people leaving care and their experience of public services • Our public service satisfaction index • The big pocket guide to behaviour change • What's new from Consumer Focus – our latest research and reports

  • Post Office Locals must do better, says new Consumer Focus report

    1 April 2011

    A report published today by Consumer Focus highlights people’s experiences of the new Post Office Local (PO Local) scheme which could see around 2,000 traditional sub-post offices replaced.1    The report ‘Local but limited?’ argues that while the PO Local model offers benefits, significant changes are still needed to make sure it works for customers and [...]

  • Post Office loses £20million benefits contract – 250,000 people affected

    3 March 2011

    The Department for Work and Pensions has today announced it will award the contract for paying out benefits cheques to Paypoint instead of Post Office Limited. The contract is worth £20million a year to the Post Office and 250,000 vulnerable people collect their benefits in this way. Responding to the announcement, Andy Burrows, post expert [...]

  • Ratings website for private renters could help show bad landlords the door says consumer watchdog

    26 February 2011

    The private rented sector generates more complaints than almost any other. According to a new report issued today by Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog, one of the biggest issues is that private renters often know very little about their landlords before signing a tenancy agreement.  Today the watchdog has written to some of the largest [...]

more news on: public services 2

Latest Publications

  • Care leavers perspectives on public services

    Care leavers report cover

    2 November 2011

    Around 10,000 young people leave care every year in England. While these young people will have had a range of experiences of care, evidence shows that as a group they tend to be more vulnerable and more dependent on public services, than other young people.

  • Local but limited?


    1 April 2011

    The Post Office network faces significant restructuring in the next few years. One in six post offices and one in five sub post offices will be converted into a totally new operating model –Post Office Local. For millions of consumers, this means their local post office serivce will undergo major changes. As part of the [...]

  • Opening the door – Examining the potential for reputational regulation of private rented sector landlords

    Opening the door_cover

    26 February 2011

    Signing up to a tenancy agreement with a landlord is a significant commitment for the majority of private tenants. However, tenants currently do not have access to information on the track record or performance of a landlord to help them make an informed decision before they make this commitment. A survey into consumer perceptions of [...]

more publications on: public services 2