ESAN Conference 2018

What would really help consumers of essential services?

The next ESAN event will be held on Monday, 12 March 2018, kindly hosted by BT at the iconic BT Tower.

Please email admin@esan.org.uk to register for your place.

Provisional agenda

9.30 Registration/tea/coffee

10.00 Welcome and brief overview by ESAN Chair Roger Darlington

10.10-10.35

Session 1: Horizon-scanning: scene-setting piece on the future context for the provision of essential services: 
Ageing population, more health issues, environmental challenges, reduced benefits, continued austerity, impact of Brexit. changing nature of vulnerability.

Sharon Darcy, Associate, Sustainability First
Discussion

10.35-10.45

Session 2: Listening to the voices of consumers in vulnerable circumstances

Video clips

10.45-11.20

Session 3: Choice: how real is it and how is it exercised?
How is market share divided in the sectors of essential services? Is competition currently working for consumers? More particularly, can competition deliver for vulnerable consumers?

Tom Kiedrowski, Cedar Tree Advisory Service
Linda Lennard, Consumer Affairs consultant
Discussion

11.20-11.40 Networking break

11.40-12.15

Session 4: Switching: is this the answer or another problem?
How does switching compare across sectors? How has switching changed over time in these sectors? Why do consumers switch? Why don’t consumers switch? What more can regulators do to promote switching? What more can comparison sites do? Is there scope for automatic switching?

James Plunkett, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Citizens Advice
Hywel Lloyd, Associate Director for the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure, Institute for Public Policy Research [invited]
Discussion

12.15-1.45  Lunch break (34th floor)

1.45-2.30

Section 5: Affordability and vulnerability: connections and solutions
Should certain prices be capped? Should there be limits in the variation between the best and worst deals? Are current help schemes adequate and comprehensive? How can we better support customers in vulnerable circumstances? Should there be a register of vulnerable customers? Should we accept that there are limits to how many consumers will switch and how much savings can be made by switching and regulation and therefore look at the case for direct income support?

Claire Milne, Antelope Consulting
Caroline Wells, Customer Service Expert
Another speaker
Discussion

2.30-2.50 Networking break

2.50-3.25

Session 6: Digital: what are the opportunities for engagement and empowerment?
How do we ensure that all consumers – including those with vulnerabilities – have the necessary connectivity and skills? How useful are digital comparison tools? Can consumers make greater use of apps?

Helen Milner, Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation
Zoe McLeod, consumer affairs consultant
Discussion

3.25-3.30

Closing remarks by ESAN Chair Roger Darlington