The UKRN has today published a joint UKRN-OPG Guide to Power of Attorney, entitled: ‘Supporting customers who do not make their own decisions’. This guide has been written by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in partnership with the UK Regulators Network (UKRN), Ofcom, Ofwat, Ofgem and the Financial Conduct Authority and in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It is intended to help policy makers in financial services and utility companies provide straightforward and consistent information for staff, which will make the process easier for customers. In a joint foreword to the guide, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility at BEIS, Kelly Tolhurst, and Ministry of Justice Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Edward Argar, said: “Powers of attorney are a valuable tool that helps some of our country’s most vulnerable people have their affairs managed before or when they have lost mental capacity. However, those who act in the best interests of adults at risk often find the process of dealing with the companies they rely on both confusing and inconsistent. This guide sets out clear policies and advice. It provides clarity to the law and helpful information which can ease the burden and stresses that new and current care givers face on a day-to-day basis, by making their simple transactions as smooth and problem free as possible.” The Guide is targeted at firms operating in the telecoms, energy, water and financial services sectors specifically. You can read the full text of the Guide here.
Water UK and ENA joint response to ‘Making better use of data to identify customers in vulnerable situations: A follow-up report.’
Water UK and ENA have published their joint reponse to the UKRN, Ofgem, Ofwat report Making better use of data to identify customers in vulnerable situations: A follow-up report. Key messages from the response The project remains well placed to deliver priority services data sharing between energy networks and water companies across England and Wales by April 2020, although there are challenges and the companies are therefore ensuring the focus and resources are in place to overcome these and ensure delivery. The letter sets out the key milestones that will need to be met for national roll out to be delivered. Customer trust in the process is key. The pilot has demonstrated the need for staff training to secure this trust and explain the benefits to customers and these lessons are being embedded in the project as it is rolled out. At the heart of this project is the ambition to make it easier for customers to interact with, and have equal access to, services that they need. The letter emphasises that throughout this project, and beyond, companies will continue to look for opportunities to make the priority services registration experience seamless and as stress-free as possible.
Innovation delivers benefits for citizens, consumers and the economy and is high on the agenda for UKRN members. We were therefore pleased to see the government’s recent consultation on innovation in regulated utilities, which recognises the work regulators are doing in this area. The UKRN’s response focuses on the importance of innovation, the role of regulators in encouraging and facilitating greater innovation while ensuring consumers remain protected, and the role of the UKRN in facilitating knowledge sharing and learning across the regulators in this area.
The UK Regulators’ Network has published its follow-up reporton the UKRN-facilitated Ofgem-Ofwat data sharing initiative to support customers in vulnerable situations in the energy and water sectors: UKRN Making better use of data to identify customers in vulnerable situations follow-up report Read the UKRN’s full blog post on the publication here.