MacKay Hannah

The New Consumer Scotland Agency: Investigation is coming

Tue 30th Apr 2019

, Leonardo Murrayfield

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

The Scottish Government has announced it will introduce legislation in 2019 to create Consumer Scotland - a new agency to represent the interests of consumers in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister, Scottish Government, told Parliament:

"Our work to build a fairer Scotland will also include, in the year ahead, a new consumer protection bill to secure fairer outcomes for consumers." Programme for Government statement, 4th September 2018

This conference will examine proposals for the new Consumer Scotland agency.  It will look at how it could fit into the existing advisory and regulatory framework of support for consumers and examine how it will use its powers and influence to mandate and advocate for change in marketplaces.  It will look at what the focus of its in-depth investigation-led activities may be on issues which are either particular to Scotland or which manifest beyond Scotland but have a unique Scottish dimension.

At present Scotland has opportunities for consumer advice to be delivered and voices to be heard through the work of Citizens Advice Scotland and the need for consumer rights intervention and enforcement to be met through the statutory and other activities of Local Authority Trading Standards Services delivered by local councils.

A new consumer body operating in a strategic role has the opportunity to complete this picture. Consumer Scotland could ensure that with in-depth analysis of market places and activities of concern, consumers are protected by developing responses at a strategic level to confront systemic issues harmful to consumers and damaging to products, services and commerce.

Following the completion of the Scottish Government consultation exercise on its proposals in September 2018, this conference gives the opportunity to understand how the proposals will be influenced by the responses received, learn what the next steps forward will be for the Parliamentary Bill, offer further input into how Consumer Scotland will be structured and operate and discuss how it should co-exist and collaborate with current agencies and regulators working with and for consumers.

Benefits of Attending

  • Discuss how the new agency should interact with organisations already in the field in Scotland
  • Examine the changing nature of markets and consumer behaviour in the digital economy
  • Hear ways in which the new agency could compel, influence and be a co-agent of change
  • Understand more about what an effective, balanced consumer protection approach should be
  • Learn about which sectors, marketplaces and practices may be investigated earliest
  • Find out about collaboration with UK agencies and what soft power influencing may look like
  • Contribute to the discussion on what kind of Act the proposed Bill needs to become to be effective

Who Should Attend

This conference is relevant for all organisations and individuals involved in supporting, advising and protecting consumers and their rights. It is also relevant for businesses and organisations engaged in supporting their own customers and their rights, and wishing to understand the developing broader regulatory environment in respect of consumer rights, policy and practice.

This includes advisory bodies and services in the public, private and third sectors including Trading Standards, Citizens Advice Bureaux, lawyers, voluntary organisations, professional, representative and advisory bodies, consumer representative groups and bodies, regulatory organisations with responsibility for specific sectors and services, customer relations and complaints managers in all sectors, policy advisors, change management officers, trade representative bodies and academics, analysts and specialists in consumer behaviour.

Consumers Offers


Graham Boyack

Director, Scottish Mediation Network

Thomas Docherty

Head of Public Affairs (Nations and Regions) Which?

Sarah O'Neill

Director, Sarah O'Neill Consulting

Jamie Dunne

Senior Solicitor, Government, Regulatory and Competitions Team, Brodies LLP

Dr Sophie Flemig

Director of Public Policy, Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Sandra Harkness

Chair, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS)

Sheila Scobie

Director, CMA

Judith Turner

Legal Counsel & Head of ADR, The Furniture ombudsman and The Dispute Resolution Ombudsman

Amanda Britain

Member for Scotland - Communications Consumer Panel, Chair - Peter Gibson Memorial Fund

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Great to see gender balance on the panels and speaker list.

Empowering and Protecting Scottish Consumers