Consumer supergroup considers agency hire


Consumer Focus, the new cross-sector consumer watchdog, is mooting the appointment of an advertising agency for its £15m launch.

The body, which will replace Energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (NCC), is working on its new branding ahead of the launch on October 1.

A spokesman says it is “considering” whether to bring in an ad agency to help raise consumer awareness of its existence and function. But he adds it is “early days in terms of the specifics”.

The group says the issue of fuel poverty will lead its initial campaigns but its longer-term plan is “out to consultation”. It is in the process of developing its new branding and has created a new logo and strapline: “Campaigning For a Fair Deal”.

It is talking to “advice agencies” such as Help the Aged and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau about how to raise consumer awareness.

Consumer Focus is being created as part of the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act that received Royal Assent in July last year. Under the Act, an ombudsman will be put in place to rule on complaints in the energy and post sectors, and firms will have to comply with new complaint handling standards set out by regulators Ofgem and Postcomm.

The joined-up consumer group, which will be headed by NCC chief executive Ed Mayo, aims to create a “more powerful consumer champion”.

Funding for the body will come from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the gas, electricity and postal industries.

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