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Voice of consumers must be at the heart of decisions in energy, water and postal services

Scotland’s leading consumer agency has pledged to make sure the voice of Scotland’s consumers informs policy and practice in the three big regulated industries in Scotland – the energy, water and postal services. 

The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland has today outlined its priorities for the next year. The main focus is to ensure that the experience of Scottish consumers is taken into account by government, regulators and businesses in these three areas. One of the biggest projects will be to gather and present evidence of how Scots are affected by fuel poverty.

Citizens Advice Scotland’s Acting Chief Executive Anne Lavery says:

“Our central principle is that using consumer evidence when shaping policy and regulation results in improved outcomes for citizens. Having independent scrutiny of policy and practice is vital in an effective system of consumer protection, competition and regulation.

“This is the first time that Scottish consumers have benefitted from a distinct programme of advocacy work since the devolution of a number of consumer powers to the Scottish Government last year.

“This plan has been developed in consultation with over thirty organisations across government, regulators and business. Our fourteen-strong team of consumer research and policy experts is now working to gather the views and experiences of Scottish consumers and  to ensure that these are readily available to and considered by decision makers.”

The Scottish government is currently reviewing whether a change in the definition of fuel poverty would more accurately identify those who need additional help. Sam Ghibaldan, Manager of the Consumer Futures Unit says:

“One of our main priorities over the next year will be to gather evidence of consumers’ experience of fuel poverty, so that we can make sure this is put at the heart of any decision on re-defining the term.

“In this and all the other areas of our work, it is vital that the voice of consumers is heard. Basing policy on solid evidence is good for government, good for business and good for consumers.” 

The CAS Consumer Futures Unit work plan can be downloaded at the link below.

For more information please contact Tony Hutson – 0131 550 1010.

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