Our consumer vulnerability strategy will ensure we consider the voices of consumers experiencing vulnerability in our regulation.
Regulating with consumer vulnerability in mind
Approach paper17 September 2020
Research and engagementSeptember - December 2020
Setting initiativesJanuary -April 2021
Draft strategyApril 2021
Final strategyJune 2021
We are developing a strategy for how we regulate to support the interests of Victorian consumers experiencing vulnerability. The strategy will set a pathway for a consistent, coordinated and long-term approach across our regulatory functions.
Consumer vulnerability is an emerging and evolving area of regulatory consideration.
We are committed to addressing consumer vulnerability through sustainable and long-term regulatory practices. This will allow us to be ready to respond during times of acute need.
We will develop a contemporary definition of vulnerability using existing and emerging evidence. It will outline strategies and work areas across our regulatory functions to help ensure consumers have equitable access to essential services.
Research, engagement and thought leadership will inform our strategy
Research to capture experiences and emerging data trends
To help us understand how vulnerability has changed in the coronavirus context we will do:
- qualitative interviews with community workers and volunteers on consumer experiences in the energy market (conducted by the Consumer Policy Research Centre).
- quantitative data analysis to capture the systemic factors impacting on consumers in the current environment, allowing us to monitor the conditions of vulnerability.
Engagement (including deliberative engagement with consumers)
Our engagement will build strong relationships with stakeholders and establish trust and authority to act on issues related to consumer vulnerability.
Engagement will include:
- continuing community sector roundtables on the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
- a community sector reference group of consumer and community representative organisations across Victoria to test ideas and provide advice.
- deliberative consumer engagement to ensure we reflect the informed views of consumers, including how they define ‘consumer wellbeing’.
- targeted industry engagement through industry roundtables and cross-sector workshops to share insights and examples of better practice. Our regulated sectors are on the frontline providing customer service and their insights will inform the challenges and opportunities our strategy will address.
- dedicated internal engagement including:
- an internal working group
- webinars featuring expert speakers
- internal ‘champions’ to support our external engagement
- targeted workshops to develop outcomes.
Thought leadership and building capability
We know how important it is to model our values and expectations. We are developing frameworks for engaging with consumers experiencing vulnerability to build our engagement capability and share better practice:
- Guidance for working with victim-survivors of family violence, developed in partnership with Domestic Violence Victoria. It will inform the next stages of our work on family violence, which will require direct engagement with victim-survivors.
- Guidance for sensitive and appropriate engagement with consumers experiencing vulnerability, developed in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Social Equity Institute. This includes a tool to assess the accessibility of online communications, and a roadmap for engagement for the vulnerability strategy.
We are committed to growing our capabilities and demonstrating thought leadership. We will continue to share insights and build knowledge in a collaborative and inclusive way.
Our strategy will set a pathway forward
The strategy will help us take a consistent, coordinated and long-term approach to supporting consumers experiencing vulnerability.
We are committed to systems-thinking and collaboration with our stakeholders to protect the long-term interests of Victorian consumers.
The final strategy will include a plan for implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and review. The strategy will be embedded as an ongoing operational priority.
Read more about our approach to developing a vulnerability strategy.
We welcome your input
We are committed to meaningful engagement and collaboration to develop our vulnerability strategy. You can contribute in several ways.
Apply to join our community sector reference group
Express your interest in attending our cross-sector workshops
We will be holding several workshops in 2020 and 2021. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in attending.
Give us your feedback
We are also inviting feedback through the duration of the work program via our Engage Victoria page.
Developing our consumer vulnerability strategy project launch - Webinar