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National Audit Office report: Confirmed impacts: Using our expertise to help improve consumer protection across central and local government

Confirmed impacts: Using our expertise to help improve consumer protection across central and local government

This impacts case study shows how our work and identification of the cost of inadequate consumer protection was a catalyst for improvements to consumer law and delivery and accountability arrangements. It is one example of financial or non-financial benefits realised in 2014 as a result of our involvement, all of which are set out in our interactive PDF.

Impacts case study

We reported on the system of consumer protection across central and local government in 2011 and we published an update in 2014. We also conducted workshops with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and its delivery partners. We identified problems with the system for protecting consumers, finding that, although much detriment occurs at the regional and national level, incentives are weighted against a coordinated approach. Although there are no reliable figures, we estimated the cost of detriment, which cannot be tackled at local level, was more than £4.8 billion each year.  The system for enforcing consumer law was fragmented and underequipped to tackle serious consumer scams.

What are impacts?

The department cited our work as a catalyst for changing the system of consumer law and providing new rights to consumers to protect them against rogue traders. The government also sought to improve delivery and accountability arrangements, giving Trading Standards a stronger role in co-ordinating enforcement activity. We plan to revisit the new arrangements in 2016-17.

 

Publication details:

Published date: October 14, 2015