The influential Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has lambasted two watchdogs set up to protect consumer interests. The performance of Energywatch and Postwatch was branded 'feeble' by MPs as the two bodies had failed to halt consumer complaints despite their rising budgets.
Postwatch is intended to represent the interests of mail customers, while Energywatch looks into consumer complaints over utility companies. Both were set up in 2000 as a means of ensuring the public got a better standard of service, although neither group has regulatory powers.
The MPs’ damning assessment concluded that Postwatch had done nothing to reverse the trend of growing complaints over postal services, while the level of complaints about energy stubbornly refused to subside.
The committee also suggested that only 2% of the UK population had actually heard of the two organizations, and that they should work harder to improve their profile. It also advocated moving the two groups to bases outside London to trim overheads.
Energywatch responded that it did not recognize the body depicted by the MPs’ report. Postwatch however admitted that it could do more to highlight its achievements in defending consumers’ rights.