Within recent years there have been a number of complaints against various sectors that are taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. In 2008 Consumer Focus was funded by government to be advocates for consumers, but as early as 2010 it was announced that plans were in the works to abolish this organisation. Many of their duties were coordinated with the Office of Fair Trading but will now be carried out by Citizens Advice, a publicly funded consumers group, as outlined by the coalition government.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Citizens Advice will now be champions for consumers with the goal of empowering them to make sound choices in financial matters. To date, Citizens Advice has already replaced the advice line handled by Consumer Direct and by April of next year they will also take on greater responsibilities from the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Focus, as mentioned above.
Citizens Advice will be in charge of consumer advocacy in sectors which are unregulated but the entirely new Regulated Industries Unit will be in charge of postal services and energy issues in the UK. Currently, the Citizens Advice charity is receiving £20 million annually towards funding their work but with these new duties and additional £10 million will be placed in the fund each year.
In further efforts to safeguard the interests of consumers, there the newly organised National Trading Standards Board will be targeting rogue traders who have been preying on consumers with illegal money lending, internet scams and other crimes which are beyond the boundary of local authorities. Even so, the Trading Standards will still continue with many of the same responsibilities they have been covering to date. These changes are being made in an effort to better protect consumers whilst cutting back on government expenditures.