ACCC Consultation And Consumer Representation (2) (2)

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  • ACCC Consultation And Consumer Representation (2) (2)

    1. 1. Community groups and government - interacting and learning: some lessons from the NZ experience Liz MacPherson, General Manager Ministry of Consumer Affairs, New Zealand 18 th Consumers International World Congress 29 October 2007
    2. 2. Who are we? <ul><li>The NZ Ministry of Consumers Affairs' vision is: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creating confident consumers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The Ministry's primary role is to create an environment that promotes good and accurate information flows between suppliers and consumers so that consumers can transact with confidence. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Why do we need effective engagement? </li></ul><ul><li>What are our key engagement strategies and the lessons we have learnt from them? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Groups: Relationships and capability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer Representatives: Enhancing roles and developing skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies to understand the impact of policies and programmes on specific groups (covered in later case study) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New and ongoing challenges </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why do we need effective engagement? <ul><li>To develop and implement ideas that make markets work for consumers!!! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>necessitates an understanding the real issues – not just the symptoms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>requires co-creation and reality testing of innovative solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>requires us to draw on our respective strengths in service delivery and implementation – not to work towards sameness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires input at the right level and at the right time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires ownership and by-in by all stakeholders </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Engagement <ul><li>Involves recognising the breadth of consumer experience in the community and the invaluable work of community workers and volunteers dealing with consumer problems on a daily basis </li></ul><ul><li>Involves ensuring we work with consumer groups and agencies in the development of new policy, legislation and even consumer awareness programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Improves understanding of consumer issues, allows for pragmatic debate of options to address these issues and means Improved decision-making. It is an exchange of perspectives and of knowledge to identify problems and develop decisions which have the best chance of providing solutions which work </li></ul><ul><li>And it must be a genuine exchange of views between people who have the knowledge and experience to confront the issues. </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Engaging and Working with Community Groups </li></ul><ul><li>History of engagement and relationship building with key community advisory not-for-profit organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>These relationships enable us to share information about consumer issues, and </li></ul><ul><li>Enable community advisors to assist their consumer clients. </li></ul>
    7. 7. More detail.. <ul><li>Nationwide, Citizens Advice Bureaux and budget advisory services </li></ul><ul><li>receive training and manuals on consumer law especially written to their requirements </li></ul><ul><li>have access to our toll-free hotline for difficult cases </li></ul><ul><li>are developing the capability to provide useful consumer data to MCA. </li></ul><ul><li>Through MCA’s community networks, the Commerce Commission is accessing information to identify fringe credit provider non-compliance with consumer credit legislation. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Lessons learned <ul><li>Working in partnership requires a recognition and understanding of the vision, values and goals of the partner organisation that goes beyond the superficial </li></ul><ul><li>Achieving partnership may require capability building of both partners </li></ul><ul><li>Where the government partner supports the development of the community partner, care must be taken to ensure this relationship builds capability not dependence </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a relationship of trust is critical and takes time </li></ul>
    9. 9. 2. Building Consumer Representation in New Zealand <ul><li>Consumer representation on decision-making/advisory bodies is one of the most important ways the consumer voice can be heard in real time. </li></ul><ul><li>Support for effective consumer representation, and the provision of consumer nominations to specific positions, are important activities for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result of the Ministry’s research into the nature of effective consumer representation Cabinet agreed in 2001 to Guidelines on Effective Consumer Representation. </li></ul>
    10. 10. What did the research show? <ul><li>Consumer representatives were frustrated because they felt their full potential was not being realised </li></ul><ul><li>Chairs of Committees and Boards felt that they did not know how to “use” their consumer representatives to best effect </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of clarity from “officials” regarding the nature of the task and the desired characteristics and background of the nominees led to some poor choices </li></ul><ul><li>The need to further develop the capability of consumer representatives </li></ul><ul><li>Need for networking between consumer representatives </li></ul>
    11. 11. Lessons learnt - guidelines for consumer representation for officials and for chair persons: <ul><li>assist officials to locate a diverse and appropriate range of consumer representatives and laypersons </li></ul><ul><li>encourage criteria-based decisions regarding the involvement of consumer representatives on statutory boards, advisory bodies, departmental working parties, and committees </li></ul><ul><li>provide Ministers, officials, and all those involved in the nomination, selection, and appointment process with better information to support decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>increase the effectiveness and job satisfaction of consumer representatives and </li></ul><ul><li>encourage the development of a participatory working environment in boards, advisory bodies, departmental working parties, and committees. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Lesson learnt – Ministry’s role in supporting Consumer Representation <ul><li>The Ministry’s role is to advise government agencies and others </li></ul><ul><li>of the purpose and value of consumer representation especially the breadth and difference that consumer representatives bring to the deliberation of issues and decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>of the qualities of effective consumer representatives, and assist them to identify appropriate consumer representatives by making nominations for them to consider </li></ul><ul><li>of the practical difficulties consumer representatives encounter. </li></ul><ul><li>And to </li></ul><ul><li>nominate consumer representatives for consumer or lay positions on boards and committees </li></ul><ul><li>provide opportunities for consumer representatives to network and support each other, and receive training through the Consumer Representative Network. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Integrating and learning from each other: new and continuing challenges… <ul><li>Continue to develop and extend partnership approaches – in the context of greater emphasis on accountability for results </li></ul><ul><li>Build capability of Consumer Representation Network to ensure greater diversity of representation, skills and knowledge – key challenge is the desire for a deep understanding of consumer issues AND director skills </li></ul><ul><li>Provide further best practice advice on consumer consultation and community participation – how to develop a co-creation culture </li></ul><ul><li>Continue building relationships with communities – particularly vulnerable consumer groups </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise and explore new and useful technologies – “the participative web” </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>For more information: </li></ul><ul><li>WWW.consumeraffairs.govt.nz </li></ul>

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