Fraud against both businesses and individuals is a serious and growing problem in the UK. The Home Office (the Department) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) are responsible for delivering many of the government’s objectives on combatting fraud. The Home Office is also developing a new Fraud Action Plan. This study will assess the effectiveness … Read more
User choice and consumer protection
Many public services are now delivered through 'quasi markets' - halfway between public sector delivery and the free market. Quasi-markets are where multiple buyers can purchase from multiple sellers, with the government able to ensure quality, conduct and, sometimes, user choice and/or price. Protection can be provided in various ways, such as government regulation, the sector's self-regulation, or through government enforcing controls.
This is a fairly new way for government to deliver public services. To be successful it must achieve a delicate balance between protective measures and encouraging competition and growth, and between choice and fragmentation. It must allow market mechanisms to work while ensuring universal and equitable services. This takes new skills, new ways of thinking and working and the recognition that for markets to work, failure must be allowed and must be managed.
Key NAO publications:
- Protecting consumers from scams, unfair trading and unsafe goods (Dec 2016)
- Market Analytic Toolkit: for assessing public service markets (Nov 2016)
- Principles Paper: Managing provider failure (Jul 2015)
- Public service markets: Putting things right when they go wrong (Jun 2015)
- Using alternatives to regulation to achieve policy objectives (Jun 2014)
This report examines the extent to which the regulation of private renting supports DLUHC’s aim to ensure fairness for renters.
10 Dec 2021
Audit committees should be scrutinising cyber security arrangements. To aid them, this guidance complements government advice by setting out high-level questions and issues for audit committees to consider.
28 Oct 2021
This report examines the extent to which the UK’s product safety regime protects consumers from harm, focusing on the OPSS.
16 Jun 2021
This report examines the extent to which gambling regulation protects people from gambling‑related harms and addresses emerging risks.
28 Feb 2020
This report assesses how well Ofwat, Ofgem, Ofcom and the FCA measure and report their performance in protecting consumer interests.
20 Mar 2019
This report aims to evaluate and conclude on HM Treasury’s overall approach to over-indebtedness.
6 Sep 2018
This report examines the progress made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Competition and Markets Authority, and National Trading Standards in building the UK’s legal framework and capacity and capability in consumer protection, competition and state aid.
6 Jul 2018
Young people are making complex choices about higher education without much effective help and advice, and the institutions concerned are under very little competitive pressure to provide best value.
8 Dec 2017
Regulators and government need to work together better to ensure that vulnerable consumers get the support they need.
31 Mar 2017