The Banking Standards Board (BSB) has published a consultation seeking views on what good banking outcomes look like from a consumer perspective. BSB wants to develop a framework to help identify good practice that will benefit consumers, the economy and society overall. The consultation runs until 26 January 2018. ESAN members’ responses are most welcome!
We are sad to announce that due to work pressures our current Treasurer, Paul Sahota, is stepping down from the Board. On behalf of all ESAN members we would like to thank Paul for his valuable contribution to our work.
We are now urgently seeking a new member of the Trustee Board to take over Paul’s responsibilities. These include: financial oversight, book-keeping, and budget advice. Knowledge and experience of these areas is desirable, as is an ability to communicate clearly. The time commitment is around 2 hours per month; with occasional attendance at quarterly half-day meetings, including the Annual General Meeting (normally held in central London), for which travel expenses can be covered. If you or a colleague are interested in the role or would like to find out more, please contact the ESAN Chairman, Roger Darlington
On 6 August 2017 the Government announced an independent review of the costs of energy. The review will provide recommendations as to how best minimise the costs of energy consistent with the Government’s overarching objectives, taking account of the costs and benefits of the recommendations. It will set out options for developing and enhancing energy policy. The review will be led by Professor Dieter Helm CBE and will report in October 2017.
To coincide with national mental health awareness week (8 to 14 May 2017) Wessex Water has launched an animated mental health awareness video. The video, developed in partnership with local mental health charity, Wiltshire Mind, highlights common issues associated with mental ill health, which affects one in for people in the UK each year. The video is part of a range of training materials developed for Wessex Water employees who deal with customers in vulnerable circumstances.
The UK Regulators Network has published a report on how regulators involve consumers in their regulatory decisions, hear their views and take their interests into account.ESAN’s recent conference and report on How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services? is given an an example. The guide includes a visual overview of the processes, broken down by key questions, with examples across different sectors.
On 28 February the Consumer Council for Water is hosting a conference that will bring together utility companies, Government and consumer representatives, regulators and the advice sector in Wales. The conference aims to raise awareness of the help available for the financially vulnerable and explore opportunities to work together to help reduce poverty in Wales. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or register here.
On 18 January Citizens Advice published the findings of its research looking at how energy suppliers could effectively signpost and refer vulnerable customers to third parties, such as debt advice and support services.
The research found that fewer than 1 in 4 consumers believe that their energy supplier had ever offered them help and support, with fewer than one in ten being able to recall being signposted or referred to a third party organisation.
The best practice guide is designed to help energy suppliers signpost and refer vulnerable consumers to the right source of help.
It is with enormous sadness that we report that Gill Owen has died. Gill chaired the former Public Utilities Access Forum (ESAN’s predecessor) for a number of years and she contributed greatly to PUAF’s work and development. Her expertise and knowledge in consumer policy and regulation, particularly on energy efficiency and fuel poverty, will be greatly missed. Above all, those of us who worked with Gill will remember her friendship, warmth and humour.
Gill’s husband, David Green, has asked that, instead of flowers, people may wish to consider donations in Gill’s memory to Macmillan at: www.macmillan.org.uk/donate.
ESAN will hold a one day conference on Wednesday 2 November 2016 focusing on the consumer voice in the regulation of essential services. The event will be held at the BT Tower in central London. All those with an interest in consumer engagement are encouraged to attend this unmissable event. To register your interest please contact email@example.com.