How we prioritise
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)'s mission is to make markets work better for consumers and businesses. We are obliged under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 to perform certain functions, such as merger analysis, but in addition to these duties, we are empowered to choose to act in the areas where we think we can most improve consumer welfare. In order to assist us in achieving our mission and to be transparent in respect of our choices, we have developed the following four high level prioritisation principles. They are:
- Level of economic and/or physical harm
- Likely impact of the CCPC’s action
- Strategic significance
- Risks, resources and costs
A common theme running through all the principles is that all interventions will be underpinned by information and evidence gathered as a result of market intelligence, contacts to our consumer helpline, research and investigation and international good practice. Information is then evaluated and processed to identify the source and size of the problem, in particular the scale of consumer detriment; primarily financial, but not exclusively.
Why we must prioritise
With a very broad mandate and limited resources it is not possible to investigate every complaint we receive, nor can we pursue every issue of interest. Therefore, we must prioritise our work.
Prioritisation allows us to focus our resources in the areas which will ensure we are maximising our resources for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the economy.
For example, prioritisation helps us decide on the types of activities, enforcement actions, advocacy issues, public awareness initiatives or other activities the CCPC might choose to carry out in order to improve consumer welfare.
The CCPC’s prioritisation principles
Level of economic and/or physical harm
We will take into account any direct effect on consumers or the competitive process in relation to price, quality, safety and choice of goods or services. We will also take into account the level of potential harm to consumers and businesses, as well as the potential damage to consumers and/or the wider economy if the issue or conduct is not addressed.
Likely impact of the CCPC’s action
We will consider the potential impact of our action on the issue or conduct in question. We will also take into account any other parties which could be directly or indirectly affected.
We will consider whether we are the best-placed body to investigate or issue guidance on a particular issue or whether for example a sectoral regulator is better placed to act. We will take action where we believe our intervention will result in an improvement to the general welfare of consumers.
We will consider the timeliness of any action we may take from a strategic perspective and whether the matter is of particular importance in terms of our mission, vision and goals, as set out in our Strategy Statement 2015-2018.
Risks, resources and costs
We will weigh up the likely effect of the issue or conduct in question, as well as the influence that the CCPC’s action might have. This will be assessed against the risks involved in any particular project, as well as the potential resource requirements and costs involved.
We are very much aware that the CCPC is funded by public money. During any project, or investigation we will consider, on an ongoing basis, whether the issue deserves the continued commitment of resources when weighed against competing issues.