New Clause 1 — Independent advocacy: report

Part of Prohibition of Unpaid Internships – in the House of Commons at 2:05 pm on 13th May 2014.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 2:05 pm, 13th May 2014

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 2—Guidance for statutory regulators

‘(1) Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State shall publish guidance based on the work of the Implementation Group.

(2) Guidance published under section (1) shall—

(a) detail how consumers should be informed of their rights and at what point this should happen;

(b) ensure that traders have the information they need regarding their responsibilities under this Act and other consumer rights legislation;

(c) define what may be a “reasonable time” for consumers to secure refunds, repairs or replacement, or repeat performance; and

(d) specify the sanctions available to enforcement agencies in cases where the guidance has not been followed.

(3) Within six months of the publication of guidance under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall issue a code of practice in relation to the exercise of any and all the functions set out in the guidance, subject to the provisions of subsections (5) to (7).

(4) Any person exercising such a function must have regard to the code in determining any general policy or principles by reference to which the person exercises the function.

(5) Where the Secretary of State proposes to issue a code of practice under subsection (3), he shall prepare a draft of the code, and shall lay the draft before Parliament.

(6) Where the draft laid before Parliament under subsection (5) is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the code.

(7) A code issued under subsection (6) shall come into force on such date as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.’.

New clause 3—Access to data

‘Schedule [Access to data] has effect.’.

New clause 4—Guidance based on the work of the implementation group

‘(1) Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State shall publish guidance based on the work of the Implementation Group.

(2) Guidance published under subsection (1) shall—

(a) advise on the period that a trader may retain sums paid by the consumer for services not yet supplied by the trader, where it is the consumer who dissolves the contract;

(b) further to paragraph (a), advise on the terms under which traders should manage the interest on such sums and make provision for the return of this interest to the consumer; and

(c) advise on whether it should be permissible to charge for a guarantee where that guarantee does not offer any undertaking to the consumer additional to their rights as set out in this Act.’.

New clause 5—Independent consumer advice

‘Within three months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, the Secretary of State shall produce guidance setting out requirements for all statutory regulators to report annually on the provision of independent advice which is free at the point of delivery, and to make recommendations on ensuring consumers’ rights are protected.’.

New clause 10—Powers of the Information Commissioner: nuisance calls

‘(1) The Data Protection Act 1998 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 40 (Enforcement Notices), leave out subsection (2).

(3) In section 55A (Power of Commissioner to impose monetary penalty), leave out subsection (1)(b).’.

New schedule 1—‘Access to data

Information for consumers

1 The Secretary of State shall report to Parliament within six months of Royal Assent of this Act setting out how consumers will have access to the information they require in order to make informed assessments of prices, charges and fees.

Supply of customer data

2 A report under paragraph 1 shall include details of how the Government intends to—

(a) make regulations to require all regulated persons to provide customer data relating to transactions between the regulated person and the customer, as set out in section 89 (Supply of customer data) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013;

(b) enable third parties to make requests for customer data under section 89(1)(b) of that Act; and

(c) ensure customer data is provided in a form which enables the customer or third party to assess whether the price they are paying for a service is reasonable, which should have regard to section 89(7) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.

Designation of regulated persons and regulatory bodies

3 A report under paragraph 1 shall—

(a) review which traders, including the activities of any government, or local or public authority, as defined by section 2 of this Act, shall be considered a regulated person under section 89(2) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013; and

(b) identify a relevant regulatory body to undertake the duties set out in paragraph 4 of this Schedule.

Guidance for regulated persons

4 A report under paragraph 1 shall include details of how the Government intends to require regulators of services which are provided by regulated persons, as defined in section 89(2) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, to produce guidance on the implementation of section 89 of that Act.5 Guidance produced for regulated persons under paragraph 4 shall include—

(a) how regulated persons should provide customer data;

(b) details on the ownership of customer data which shall include, but is not limited to—

(i) that customer data generated directly, at any point in the course of a contract, is owned by the customer;

(ii) that prior to any decision requiring the transmission of data in a format where the customer can be identified to a third party, direct consent of the customer as owner of the data must be secured; and

(iii) how regulated persons should recognise and publicise that such data is owned by the customer;

(c) how customers may consent to their data being shared with third parties under section 89(1)(b) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013;

(d) specify sanctions for traders who are not able to confirm the consent of the customer to sharing their data;

(e) measures to limit the amount that may be charged for any such single request for data on behalf of multiple customers;

(f) how regulated persons, who hold data on customers on behalf of any government, local or public authority, can use this information to secure social and consumer benefits; and

(g) how regulated persons, who hold data on customers on behalf of any government, local or public authority, can contribute to a report under paragraph 7.

Access to information: public services

6 (1) The Secretary of State shall report to Parliament within six months of Royal Assent of this Act on how the Government intends to ensure that all consumers of public services, who have a direct role in commissioning them, are able to access information regarding any consumer contract or consumer notices which may reasonably be understood to apply to them.

(2) A report under sub-paragraph (1) shall have particular regard to—

(a) the access to information that consumers of public services require; and

(b) how access to information can ensure greater transparency on the work of traders.

(3) For the purposes of this paragraph, “public services” means the work of any government, local or public authority or traders offering services on their behalf.

Access to information: annual report

7 (1) The Secretary of State shall produce and submit to Parliament an annual report setting out an analysis of the cumulative costs and benefits of Government decisions relating to the rights of consumers and protection of their interests.

(2) A report under sub-paragraph (1) shall in particular address the effect on—

(a) household consumption;

(b) vulnerable households; and

(c) any other subjects as the Secretary of State decides.’.