2. Why We Are Consulting
The Consumer Scotland Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in June 2019, passed in May 2020, and received Royal Assent in June 2020. The now Act requires the Scottish Government to establish a consumer body – Consumer Scotland – to represent the needs of consumers. Consumer Scotland will be a small, nimble organisation investigating the most serious areas of consumer detriment in Scotland. It will look at a small number of issues each year, and will focus on understanding the underlying cause of the detriment and proposing solutions.
Stakeholder feedback as we developed our proposals was consistent that an advocacy body alone could not improve outcomes for consumers, and that a more comprehensive change to how consumers are considered and integrated into policy and decision-making is needed. To this end, the Act also places a new duty on public bodies to consider the impact of their policies on consumers.
The Consumer Scotland Act does not specify which public bodies would be covered by this new Consumer Duty. Following this consultation secondary legislation will be drafted indicating which public authorities will be bound by the Duty.