A Bill to establish a national consumer body was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in June 2019. Consumer Scotland will be a dedicated consumer authority with a responsibility to implement a comprehensive, evidence-led approach to identifying and understanding consumer harm and inequality in Scotland. To this end, it will be tasked with understanding both national and local trends of consumer detriment, and will seek to identify emerging harm at the earliest stage possible.
To do this, Consumer Scotland will need to put in place mechanisms to:
- monitor and interrogate the range of issues that consumers face to identify current and emerging areas of harm to Scottish consumers
- gather evidence from the widest range of sources across the public, private and third sectors into a single, unified market view
- use this knowledge to inform, guide and deliver better outcomes for both consumers and businesses
To achieve this, Consumer Scotland must have access to a more integrated consumer intelligence system, one that enables and promotes better intelligence sharing between organisations with consumer data. Such a system must also support the wider consumer network in Scotland, and be subject to the highest safeguards and levels of scrutiny. While there are a number of challenges and barriers to overcome before an integrated system can be fully developed, there is also an opportunity to make a real difference to consumers and the organisations that work to protect them.
Although the Scottish Government envisages that Consumer Scotland will oversee and maintain the system, designing and developing it cannot and should not be a task for only one organisation. In preparation for the body’s establishment, the Scottish Government has therefore formed the Consumer Scotland Data Working Group to help oversee its development.
The Data Working Group has been established to ensure it is a collaborative process, driven by those with expertise in both data aggregation and consumer harm.
- Advice Direct Scotland (ADS)
- Advice UK
- Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
- Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution)
- Financial Services Ombudsman
- Food Standards Scotland
- Ombudsman Services
- Property Ombudsman
- Scottish Government (SG)
- Trading Standards Scotland (TSS)
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