What we do

ESAN brings together voluntary organisations and regulators to improve services and products for consumers. We want to ensure that services which are essential to life, health and well-being (currently energy, water, financial services and communications) meet the needs of consumers, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances. Our aim is to achieve inclusive service – in other words to ensure that all consumers have affordable access to services which meet their needs.

ESAN used to be called the Public Utilities Access Forum (PUAF) which was established in 1989 in the wake of utility privatisation, in response to concerns about consumer disadvantage.  Following changes in the sectors it covers, and a review which expands its scope to cover financial services, it has been renamed the Essential Services Access Network.

We facilitate the exchange of information and opinions between organisations and others concerned with these issues, including the relevant regulators. We work with regulators to improve outcomes for consumers, and contribute to the development of policy and highlight issues of common interest across the sectors we focus on. We pay particular regard to the interests of consumers in vulnerable circumstances as the effects of lack of affordable access to essential services, or if things going wrong, are likely to be especially serious.

Members

ESAN is independent and funded by our membership. Our members include consumer bodies and voluntary organisations. We meet quarterly to discuss issues of common concern and developments that affect consumers in these sectors, as well as occasional one-off events. Members also receive a monthly newsletter which gives a round-up of information and news.  We welcome new members!

Members include:  Age UK,  Antelope Consulting, Cedar Tree Advisory Service, Centre for Consumers and Essential Services, Centre for Competition Policy, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Citizens Advice,  Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, Consumer Council for Water, Different Petal, Money Advice Trust, NEA, Stepchange, Toynbee Hall, Turn2Us,  Zoe McLeod.

Affiliate members

The following regulators and other bodies attend meetings and have affiliate (non-voting) membership:

Banking Standards Board, Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Ombudsman Service, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat, Ombudsman Services, Phone-paid Services Authority.

ESAN is independent and funded by our membership.  Our Chair is Roger Darlington, and Vice Chair is Matthew Vaughan Wilson.  Rosalind Stevens coordinates membership, website and newsletter and can be contacted from the Contact Us page.

If you would like to find out more about our work, or membership,  please contact us.