The case for educated UK consumers: the National Consumer Council's consultation on consumer education

Authors


Martin Coppack, Financial Services Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HS, UK. E-mail: martin.coppack@fsa.gov.uk

Abstract

Consumer education is an integral part of the consumer empowerment mix. Over recent years the importance of consumer education as a vital tool for protecting consumers and making them better informed has been increasingly recognized in the UK. As part of the developing policy debate in the UK, the National Consumer Council (NCC), one of the key consumer champion bodies, has been arguing the case for a national strategy for consumer education. In order  to establish whether a national strategy was needed and, if so, how a strategy could be structured and introduced, the NCC carried out a national consultation. In excess of 100 responses were obtained from a very broad range of organizations. This paper provides a review of the secondary data gathered for the NCC research. It was found that although there are many organizations and networks involved in consumer education in the UK, it lacks focus, is fragmented and is not efficient or coordinated. The research highlighted a need for a strategic approach to place educated and empowered consumers at the heart of the marketplace.

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