This consultation seeks views on options to improve the provision of consumer advocacy in the telecoms sector, by appointing a well-resourced independent body to:
- Provide direct support and advice to consumers, particularly the most vulnerable;
- Conduct more research to better understand and highlight where the consumer experience can be improved; and
- Better represent consumers in key public debates in relation to digital infrastructure.
This follows the Consumer Green Paper (“Modernising Consumer Markets”), published in April 2018, which asked whether the current consumer advocacy arrangements in telecoms remained the right ones and Government’s announcement on 3 June 2019 that we would consult over the summer on a new independent consumer advocate for the telecoms sector, and legislate in due course.
A well-resourced advocate would play a key role in improving consumers’ experience in the telecoms market and supporting industry improving their practices, including for vulnerable consumers. Furthermore, the new body could also improve consumers’ information and boost their market engagement, supporting investment in the rollout of faster, more reliable mobile and broadband technologies across the UK.
We are consulting on three options:
- Option 1 - Replicating the arrangements in energy and post, by appointing Citizens Advice as the new statutory consumer advocate for telecoms (preferred option);
- Option 2: Expanding the funding and remit of the existing Communications Consumer Panel (CCP); and
- Option 3: Creating a new Arm’s Length Body to become the new statutory consumer advocate for telecoms.
We welcome all views on the options set out.