New national board will uncover scams and rogue traders
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11 April 2012 - BIS
proposals to make the Citizens Advice service a champion for consumer
information across a range of sectors and a new National Trading
Standards Board were announced today by the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills.
Consumers need to know who
to go to when they have a problem which is why Citizens Advice and
Citizens Advice Scotland will take on responsibilities and resources
from the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) and Consumer Focus. The process
has already started, and a new advice line succeeding Consumer Direct
was launched by the Citizens Advice service on 2 April.
Citizens Advice service will also take on responsibility from Consumer
Focus for representing consumers’ interests in unregulated sectors.
This will leave a new, technical Regulated Industries Unit working with
the energy and postal services sectors and their regulators, replacing
Standards will continue to play a critical role in protecting consumers
and businesses, which is why Government is providing increased funding
of £10.5m for England, Wales and Scotland to build on local expertise
and strengthen mechanisms for cross-boundary working - making it easier
to catch unscrupulous traders.
part of the reforms, a new National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) will
bring together representatives of Trading Standards from England and
Wales to prioritise, fund and coordinate national and regional
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has also set up a task
group to look at how best to deliver the landscape changes in Scotland
in both the short- and long- term.
NTSB will be responsible for gathering important intelligence from
around the country to combat rogue traders, and tackle priorities such
as internet scams, illegal money lending and other enforcement issues
that go beyond local authority boundaries.
Consumer Affairs Minister,
Norman Lamb said:
"For too long people have
been faced with an array of different bodies for advice and support,
but its not always clear who to turn to first. The Citizens Advice
service will become the publicly-funded voice of consumers, championing
their needs and empowering them to make the right choices for
"There will also be clearer
responsibilities and better coordination between enforcers and consumer
bodies. A new National Trading Standards Board is exactly what we need
to combat priority areas such as loan sharks and internet scams.
"All of the reforms will
ensure that we have the right system of help, advice and protection for
Collinson, interim Chair of the NTSB said:
is a real opportunity for Trading Standards to improve the coordination
and delivery of national consumer protection, complementing the great
work done by local authority trading standards teams. The Government’s
decision is transformational, enabling a truly joined up approach to
tackling rogues and scammers that operate across borders.
this first year we will build upon the excellent collaboration that
exists with our existing specialists teams such as illegal money
lending and regional scam/fraud teams, as well as introduce new
national capability on e-crime.“
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive
of Citizens Advice said:
“This is good news for
consumers. With consumer advice, advocacy and education all under one
Citizens Advice service roof, consumers will get a service they know
and trust. One that helps them resolve their problem, learn how to
avoid similar issues, and get involved in making sure the same thing
doesn’t happen to other people.
“Citizens Advice has a
strong history of advising consumers and championing their problems at
a national and local level. We’re pleased that this decision will now
allow us to do more to help consumers in this way. We will work closely
with Consumer Focus and the Government to ensure a smooth transition
for the benefit of consumers.”
competition authorities will also continue to play a key role in
empowering and protecting UK consumers, following changes announced to
the competition regime in March.
new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be responsible for
promoting effective competition in markets across the UK economy for
the benefit of consumers and allow more effective co-ordination with
The reforms will also
improve collaboration and intelligence sharing between key
organisations so that they work together for the benefit of consumers.
Members from the NTSB, CMA, the Regulated Industries Unit and the
Citizens Advice service will share intelligence and work together on
enforcement, information and education.
The partnership will report
regularly to the Minister for Consumer Affairs on how the system as a
whole is delivering benefits for consumers.
Above all the proposals will
help streamline the consumer landscape and ensure a powerful consumer
voice to business, government and regulators.
You can read the full response at http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/e/12-510-empowering-protecting-consumers-government-response.pdf
Consumers who need help should contact the Citizens Advice consumer
service at www.adviceguide.org.uk
or dial 08454 04 05 06.
David Collinson, interim Chair of the NTSB, is Assistant Director –
Public Protection at Norfolk County Council
The Competition and Markets Authority, will have the power to tackle
competition problems, and practices and market conditions that make it
difficult for consumers to exercise choice in an otherwise competitive
market. For these purposes the CMA will have use of both its
competition toolkit and will have powers to enforce consumer protection
legislation. The CMA will also have primary enforcement responsibility
in relation to the application of unfair contract terms legislation.
From April 2013, the NTSB will receive additional funding from the
current OFT enforcement budget
In Scotland and Wales:
- The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) is
developing a parallel cross-authority mechanism in Scotland;
- Welsh local authorities will be fully represented on the NTSB.
- Northern Ireland already has a separate system for consumer
enforcement and this will not be affected.
7. Further quotes:
Dominic Notarangelo, Chair of Citizens
Advice Scotland said:
“Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the UK Government’s
recognition of the key role the Scottish Citizens Advice service can
play in the provision of information, advice and education in relation
to consumer matters.
“The impact of the citizens advice network in Scotland is
already positive, significant and nationwide. With consumer functions,
it will be even more so. We are embedded into our local communities; we
are trusted; we are reliable and relevant. Delivering a one stop
consumer service will help citizens across Scotland.”
Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus said:
“I welcome the conclusion of the review of the consumer
landscape. We look forward to working in partnership with Government
and the Citizens Advice service in building a Regulated Industries Unit
to represent consumers’ interests in essential markets including energy
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-04-11 13:38:28 in Business Articles