COMMONS

Representation of Consumer Interests in Wales: inquiry launched

06 September 2011

Representation of consumer interests in Wales.

Call for evidence

The Welsh Affairs Committee will hold a short inquiry into the future representation of consumer interests in Wales. Through the Public Bodies Bill, which is currently before Parliament, the Government proposes to make provision to change the relevant consumer and competition bodies in the UK. Currently Consumer Focus Wales (part of Consumer Focus) is the statutory consumer advocacy body which operates across the whole of Wales to represent consumers in public and private sectors. Consumer Focus Wales has a range of statutory powers and functions with specific responsibility to represent consumers in the gas, electricity and postal sectors.

The Government, through the Public Bodies Bill, has identified Consumer Focus as a public body to be abolished. The Government has stated that the final composition of future arrangements will be informed by a public consultation conducted by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) which proposes that some or all of the functions of Consumer Focus will be transferred to Citizen’s Advice. The Government recognises within the consultation that specific arrangements for implementation of the proposals may need to be made for Wales.

Inquiry's focus

The Committee’s inquiry will examine the implications for consumers of the Government’s proposals for transferring the powers and functions of Consumer Focus Wales to Citizen’s Advice. The Committee seeks your views on how consumer interests in Wales should be best represented in the future.

In announcing the inquiry, the Chair of the Committee, David T.C. Davies MP stated; “The Committee is keen to ensure that consumers in Wales are represented robustly. The Public Bodies lays open the possibility that the consumer landscape will change markedly in Wales and the Committee’s intention is to investigate both the current role of Consumer Focus Wales and any implications that may arise from any changes proposed by BIS.”

The Committee asks for written submissions on these issues in accordance with the guidelines stated below. The deadline for written submissions is Tuesday 27 September 2011. Earlier submissions are welcomed.

Please note

Each submission should:

• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

• have numbered paragraphs; and

• be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible. Please do not send your submission as a PDF document.

• be no more than 3000 words in length.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked “Consumer Focus Wales”.

An additional paper copy should be sent to: Welsh Affairs Committee House of Commons 7 Millbank London SW1P 3JA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)

Please also note that:

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership is as follows: David T. C. Davies MP (Chair), Stuart Andrew MP, Guto Bebb MP, Geraint Davies MP, Jonathan Edwards MP, Mrs Siân C. James MP, Susan Elan Jones MP, Karen Lumley MP, Jessica Morden MP, Owen Smith MP, Robin Walker MP, and Mr Mark Williams MP.

Specific Committee Information: [email protected] tel: 020 7219 6189

Media Information: Jessica Bridges-Palmer [email protected] 020 7219 2003

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/welshcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk.

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