Consumer Focus Wales

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 14th September 2011.

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Photo of Mark Williams Mark Williams Liberal Democrat, Ceredigion 4:30 pm, 14th September 2011

I concur with the hon. Lady’s comments. Consumer Focus Wales has the unique ability to look at an individual case or an individual citizen coming forward with a concern, call for further information, as I said when I mentioned car park issues in my constituency, explore the depth of the problems, which are often brought to its attention by an individual citizen, and present them positively to policy makers. That approach is to be commended. The matter is not just about advocacy, but about the link between an individual citizen’s problems and advancing changes in public policy.

Returning to the body of expertise, I would be interested if the Minister could update us on the latest status of discussions with Citizens Advice about the proposed model.

The definition of “consumer” set out in part 1 of the Consumer, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 includes the words,

“the activities of any government department, local or public authority or other public body.”

As such, Consumer Focus Wales regularly undertakes work to look at the services that consumers receive from all levels of Government. It does not just have an advocacy role—critical though that is for individual citizens—but looks at the workings of Government agencies. There is no certainty that that important and independent focus on Welsh public services will continue.