Consumer Focus is the new statutory organisation campaigning for a fair deal for consumers in England, Wales, Scotland, and, for postal services, Northern Ireland.
We will be the voice of the consumer, and work to secure a fair deal on their behalf. We were created through the merger of three consumer organisations ; energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (including the Welsh and Scottish Consumer Councils). The new approach allows for more joined-up consumer advocacy, with a single organisation speaking with a powerful voice and able to more readily bring cross-sector expertise to issues of concern.
We’re just getting started. Our priority at this early stage is to get the right staff in place, to lay the groundwork for achieving the aims set out in our Forward Work Plan, and to strengthen our relationships with our key partner organisations and individuals. Our first major programme of work will be announced in early 2009.
Consumer Focus has strong new legislative powers. These include the right to investigate any consumer complaint if they are of wider interest, the right to open up information from providers, the power to conduct research and the ability to make an official super-complaint about failing services.
We are well-resourced to use these powers and campaign on the issues that matter most to consumers. In fact, with 170 staff, we’re the largest and the best-resourced advocacy body in the history of the UK consumer movement.
We are not an advice agency nor are we a statutory regulator. Other bodies such as Consumer Direct, Citizens Advice, local authority trading standards and the Office of Fair Trading play these roles. Advice for individuals on energy and post is given by Consumer Direct (08454 04 05 06).
Consultation on regulated industries unit design principles
Below is a copy of the proposed design principles for a regulated industries unit (RIU) which will implement part of the Government’s decision on the future of the consumer landscape. The RIU will be set up within the framework of Consumer Focus by April 2013 and will become part of the Citizens Advice service in 2014. Between now and the end of September, we are consulting key stakeholders whose contributions will be critical in forging a robust and respected advocate for consumers in complex, regulated sectors.
Once we have completed the consultation on the design of the RIU we will develop the work priorities for the new body in 2013/14. Throughout the process we will provide regular bulletins so that you are able to keep track of progress.
We would like you to express your views on the proposed design principles, which have been agreed between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Citizens Advice service and Consumer Focus. We are particularly interested in views on:
- the 12 design issues outlined in the attached paper, beginning with the aims, objectives and scope of the RIU
- how the RIU can work most effectively across the regulated economic sectors
- the relevance of the RIU to your organisation and the opportunities to work in partnership
- what will count as success for the new body?
You can let us know your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org