Citizens Advice Bureau to have increased power in different sectors

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills today announced proposals to make the Citizens Advice Bureau a mainstay for consumer information across a whole range of sectors. They also announced a new National Trading Standards Board with additional funding of £10.5 million to facilitate cross-border co-operation between England, Scotland and Wales in a bid to make it easier catch rogue and illegal traders.

So that people know who to go to when they have a problem the CAB and Citizens Advice Scotland will take on the responsibilities of the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Focus. A new advice line which succeeds Consumer Direct is up and running and was opened by the CAB on April 2nd.

The Citizens Advice will also be responsible for guarding consumer’s interests in unregulated sectors. They will replace Customer Focus in this and the new Regulated Industries Unit will also replace Customer Focus working with the energy and postal sectors. The new NTSB will consist of representatives from England and Wales to coordinate and fund national and regional cases.

Also the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has formed a task group to decide the best way to work with these changes in the long and short term. The NTSB’s main priority will still be to protect consumers from rogue traders, internet scams, illegal money- lending etc. but will now be more efficient.

There is also a new Competition and Markets Authority to further protect consumers and businesses. This was announced in March and the CMA’s responsibility will be to promote healthy, fair and effective competition in markets for the benefit of the UK economy and consumers and also to ensure there is more effective communication between consumers and businesses and the National Trading Standards Board.