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Consultation: The Citizens Advice Draft Consumer Work Plan 2020/21

14 Rhagfyr 2018

Consultation: The Citizens Advice Draft Consumer Workplan 2020/21 [ 10 mb]

Is the regulatory regime up to the weighty challenges consumers and essential markets face? Can government and regulators navigate a path to net zero at the lowest, fairest cost to consumers? Will regulators take effective action on the £4 billion loyalty penalty without government intervention? Or will - as an emerging consensus of opinion suggests - fundamental reform of how we protect and advance consumers’ interests be necessary to deliver on these and many other pressing challenges? These questions will be central to consumer policy in the coming year.

Tackling current market failures will always be at the heart of what we do. But this work plan also brings a renewed focus to future market challenges. This is particularly critical in the energy market, where ensuring a consumer friendly and distributionally just transition to net zero, whilst also helping to design future protections for consumers when the price cap is lifted, will prove crucial pillars of our work. We will also be trying to shape Ofcom’s review of postal regulation, to ensure it’s fit for the needs of modern consumers.

The 4 themes for our work this year are:

Making markets work for consumers. We will continue to speak out on behalf of consumers where markets are tilted against them. We will work to better understand where there are market failures, like the loyalty penalty. We will work with regulators to make sure markets deliver better consumer outcomes.

Better value infrastructure. Essential markets rely on investment in both  new projects and in maintaining existing infrastructure. Investment must be well managed to ensure value for money and good consumer outcomes. In markets dominated by a monopoly provider, regulators need to act to make sure consumers are not exploited.

A fair deal for customers in vulnerable circumstances. Consumers in vulnerable circumstances are more likely to experience harm in the markets for essential services. We will work to make sure consumers in vulnerable circumstances able can easily access good value essential products and services. 

Protecting consumers in rapidly evolving markets. Consumer markets are changing fast. The low carbon transition and increase in big data will create huge challenges and opportunities to change and improve the way that markets serve consumers. Regulatory protections need to evolve to reflect this. We will develop and use compelling evidence on both technology and market design to positively shape the consumer landscape of the future.

We’re looking forward to an open conversation about these priorities. Please tell us what you think - through a formal response or through the discussions we hope to have during the consultation period.

This work plan describes the activities we will carry out to represent consumers in 2020/21. The plan is being published in draft as part of a 6 week consultation ending on 30 January 2020. We will then take feedback into account and publish a final work plan. Stakeholders wishing to respond to the draft work plan can do so by email to consumerworkplan@citizensadvice.org.uk or by post to:

Consumer Work Plan Consultation
c/o Joseph Parrott
Citizens Advice
200 Aldersgate Street
London
EC1A 4HD

We intend to publish stakeholder responses on our website alongside our finalised work plan. Respondents are requested to indicate whether any parts of their submission are commercially sensitive and should remain confidential.