Our strategy will help us coordinate our approach to breaking down the barriers to essential services consumers can experience.
Regulating with consumer vulnerability in mind
Approach paper17 September 2020
Research and engagementSeptember - December 2020
Setting initiativesJanuary - April 2021
Draft strategy6 May 2021
Consultation closes4 June 2021
Final strategyJune 2021
The aim of our ‘getting to fair’ strategy is to create fairer more equitable access for all Victorians, regardless of which of our regulated services they use.
All customers will benefit from this approach, but particularly people who may be struggling with changes in circumstances or who are enduring difficulties. During difficult times, the inability to access essential services, like clean drinking water, affordable lighting and heating, sustainable council rates, should not be a cause for further difficulty.
What the strategy means for consumers
The proposed changes in how we go about our work will take place over time.
In the short-term, we will be ensuring that the voices of consumers are reflected in our work. Over time, consumers will see a more consistent approach to tackling the problems that cause these barriers and we’ll be better prepared to respond during times of need.
We plan to hear from our stakeholders so we can incorporate their feedback in our final strategy, to be published in the middle of 2021.
Have your say on the draft strategy
Our regulated sectors are on the frontline providing customer service. Their insights will inform the development of the strategy as we move from draft to final. We are hosting meetings with the various industry sectors so we can hear the various view s on the work and to help us gather feedback before we finalise the strategy in the middle of the year.
Visit our Engage Victoria page to help shape the strategy through feedback or by making a submission. Consultation closes on Friday 4 June 2021.
Further details about ways you can engage are at the bottom of the page.
Developing the draft strategy: research, engagement and thought leadership has informed our draft strategy
Research to capture experiences and emerging data trends
To help us understand how the experience of vulnerability in recent times we :
- interviewed community workers and volunteers on consumer experiences in the energy market (conducted by the Consumer Policy Research Centre)
- collected data on the systemic factors affecting consumers in the current environment.
Our ongoing engagement is intended to build strong relationships with stakeholders and establish trust and to provide assurance that we will act appropriately on issues related to consumer vulnerability.
Engagement to develop the draft strategy included:
- Round table meetings every two months with community agencies on the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
- A reference group made up consumer and community representative organisations to test our ideas and provide advice at each stage of the process.
- A panel of 37 people representative of our community to provide recommendation of what areas we should be focusing on, as well as to provide a definition of ‘consumer wellbeing’ to help guide us.
- Discussions with industry in the form of roundtables and cross-sector workshops to share insights and examples of better practice approaches to consumer support.
- We also undertook a range of activities with staff at the commission to ensure all staff understand the problems the strategy is seeking to address, and in formulating options that to help achieve meaningful change.
Thought leadership and building capability
We know how important it is to model our values and expectations. Our strategy will soon be supported by 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.
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 paper to developing a vulnerability strategy (PDF).
Community panel report
We welcome your input on our draft strategy
We are committed to meaningful engagement and collaboration to develop our vulnerability strategy. You can contribute in several ways:
Provide general comments or submit document/s via Engage Victoria. Consultation closes on Friday 4 June 2021.
We usually make all comments and submissions publicly available in the interests of transparency. If you wish part or all of your submission to be private, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend our public forum
Express your interest in attending our cross-sector workshops
We will be holding several workshops in 2021. Contact email@example.com to express your interest in attending.
Our draft strategy
Developing our consumer vulnerability strategy project launch - Webinar