Consultation launched on draft consumer duty guidance for public bodies

New duty to put consumer interests at the heart of strategic decision-making.

Consumer Scotland has launched a consultation on draft guidance for relevant public bodies on the new consumer duty.

The consumer duty was introduced under the Consumer Scotland Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2020.

Under the duty, public bodies in Scotland must consider the impact on consumers in Scotland when they make strategic decisions – including reducing harm.

Public bodies must publish information about the steps taken to comply with the duty.

The new duty comes into force on April 1st this year with a 12-month implementation period before it comes fully into effect.

As the statutory body for consumers in Scotland, Consumer Scotland has issued draft guidance for public bodies in order to help them meet the duty.

The draft guidance has now been published and a 12-week public consultation has been opened. The consultation closes on 16th June.

Consumer Scotland Assistant Director Jill Rosie said:

“The consumer duty aims to put consumer interests at the heart of strategic decision-making across the public sector.

“Meeting the duty will not only improve outcomes for consumers, it will also provide value to the relevant public bodies and improve the services they provide.

“Other benefits of meeting the duty include making it easier for the public to relate to policies and inspiring greater levels of trust and confidence over time.

“Consumer Scotland has now published draft guidance which sets out what public bodies need to do in order to meet the new duty.

“We are very keen to hear views about the draft guidance from all those public bodies affected, as well as consumer groups and the public.”

The final version of the guidance will be published ahead of the duty’s full implementation in April next year.


Consultation on draft consumer duty guidance

How to meet the consumer duty: guidance for public authorities (draft)

Consumer duty guidance – carrying out an impact assessment

How to meet the consumer duty: guidance for senior decision makers

The Consumer Scotland Act 2020

Under the legislation a ‘relevant public authority’ is a public authority which is specified in regulations by Scottish Ministers. A full list of authorities subject to the duty from 1 April 2024 can be found in the Scottish Statutory Instrument laid before the Scottish Parliament.

It will be for each individual public authority to determine if a decision is of a strategic nature. However, it is expected this type of decision will be made at an Executive or Board level, rather than operational day-to-day decision making. The duty also applies to any changes to, or reviews of, these decisions.

Consumer Scotland is a Non-Ministerial Office, independent from government and accountable to the Scottish Parliament.