Government plans to set up ‘super consumer councils’

The Government is planning to set up a raft of “super consumer councils” to investigate consumers’ complaints about utility providers.

The proposals, shortly to be put out to consultation, would mean the creation of three consumer complaints watchdogs, one for energy, one for telecommunications and another for water.

It is likely that they would replicate the format of the Gas Consumers Council. The GCC, headed by Sue Slipman, who joins National Lottery operator Camelot at the end of this month, has embarrassed gas firms with the regular publication of lists shaming companies which attract complaints about customer service, billing and pricing.

The consultation document is to be published “as soon as possible” according to a spokesman for the Department of Trade & Industry, the ministry headed by Peter Mandelson which will be responsible for setting up the new councils.

The creation of the consumer councils could mean stripping out the consumer complaints function from the utility regulators – Ofwat, which regulates the water companies and Oftel, which regulates the telecoms industry. The electricity and gas regulators Offer and Ofgas, headed by Stephen Littlechild and Clare Spottiswoode, are to be merged under one energy regulator, and will have a corresponding consumer council.

The move is part of the Government’s overhaul of utilities regulation outlined in a Green Paper “A Fair Deal For Consumers”.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here