Working Group on Consumer and Competition Policy for Scotland
The Scottish Government (SG) welcomes the additional powers proposed for the Scottish Parliament in relation to consumer advocacy and advice and competition arising from the Smith Agreement, and will seek to ensure that provisions in the new Scotland Bill will fully reflect the spirit and the letter of Smith in respect of consumer protection and competition policy.
In this context, SG has established a new Consumer and Competition Policy Unit to develop an overarching consumer and competition strategy fit for Scotland and to progress policy development and expertise in these areas.
SG has developed plans to establish a Consumer and Competition Agency (CCA) that will help ensure optimally effective, robust and coherent consumer protection and competition regimes for Scotland.
In support of this work, SG is creating a short-life Working Group to consider optimal arrangements for delivering consumer and competition services in Scotland. The working group will comprise key stakeholders across the consumer and competition landscape.
To provide recommendations to SG on specific improvements that can be made to systems of consumer protection and competition in Scotland.
The group will deliver the aim by:
considering how best to implement changes to the consumer and competition landscape in Scotland;
developing practical outlines which optimise future arrangements for consumers in Scotland, encompassing links to relevant devolved and reserved policies and services;
making practical recommendations for an innovative and bespoke model of delivery for consumer and competition policy in Scotland, for example,
how best to support all relevant organisations to work together to
explore delivery models for consumer protection in Scotland, making use of best practice examples from overseas/ outwith UK;
shaping the development of a competition policy fit for Scotland, which places consumer interests at the heart of economic and competition regulation.
Terms of Reference
Rick Hill MBE – Chair
Sheena Brown – Scottish Government
Jamie Steed – Scottish Government (Secretariat)
Pete Moorey – Head of Campaigns, Which?
Margaret Lynch – CEO, Citizens Advice Scotland
Trisha McAuley – Consultant
Fiona Richardson – Chief Officer, Trading Standards Scotland
Jim Martin – Ombudsman, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Lewis Shand-Smith – Chief Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services
Susan Love – Policy Manager for Scotland - Federation of Small Businesses
Douglas Sinclair – Chair, Accounts Commission
Richard Khaldi – Personal capacity
Peter Freeman– Personal capacity
Roles and responsibility
Chair: Rick Hill MBE.
Membership: Members of the working group have been selected as key stakeholders that represent each of the four pillars of consumer protection (advocacy, advice, information & education, enforcement and redress) and competition.
Responsibilities: Members of the working group will be allocated an expert panel of key stakeholders from the consumer protection and competition sectors. They will be responsible for disseminating information on and decisions made by the working group to the expert panels, and for the commissioning of reports on issues to be addressed.
Expert Panels: SG also envisages the formation of five expert panels. The primary aim of each of the five panels is to produce and deliver a report to the working group on specified issues that will follow the themes of each of the four pillars and competition. Reports will identify what functions will be required to be delivered, how they should be delivered, and provide any other points for consideration to the working group. This will help build networks and demonstrate how all four pillars of consumer protection and competition policy can work in partnership to complement and support each other’s work.
We anticipate that each panel will meet twice and that they should deliver their respective reports to the working group in September. At the first meeting of expert panels in July, there will be round table discussions on the issues to be addressed and agreement on how each panel should produce its report. Reports will be signed off at the second meeting in August. These reports will be fed back to the working group to help shape overarching recommendations on the consumer protection and competition policy landscape and how the four pillars and competition will complement and work in partnership moving forward.
Governance: Expert panels will report back to the working group, which shall in turn report to the SG. The Scottish Ministers shall consider the final recommendations of the working group.
Lifespan: Objectives to be delivered by September/October 2015. The group will meet approximately four/five times with the first meeting taking place in June 2015.