What is different about the CCAS?

CTSI consulted on proposed changes to the core codes criteria. You will find the full consultation response here (PDF 3MB). Below you will find an overview of the changes:

Dealing with consumers in their own home

For code members that engage in cold-calling, they must respect established no cold-calling zones, cold-calling control zones and unwanted caller stickers. The same standards will apply to business-to-business transactions carried out in the customer’s home as to business-to-consumer transactions.

Criteria aimed at reducing consumer detriment 

We have strengthened some codes approval criteria to ensure approved codes of practice actively reduce consumer detriment. The criteria are also consistent with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and a new European directive on alternative dispute resolution. 

Deposit and pre-payment protection

We have broadened the range of acceptable evidence that code sponsors can rely on, to demonstrate that code members have adequate customer deposit protection in place. This means code sponsors can rely on insurance-backed deposit protection schemes, clearly setting out and limiting the maximum level of deposit protection available.

Monitoring of codes members 

We have retained the monitoring of codes requirement, so code sponsors are confident in their code performance and can continue to satisfy stakeholders that they are working properly to reduce consumer detriment. However, some of the monitoring requirements were previously set as arbitrary inspection figures. Thus, in future, we will invite code sponsors to identify the key performance indicators that are relevant to their space in the marketplace. These will need to cover:
customer satisfaction
complaint trends
code compliance
member audits
and how the indicators have a significant impact on consumer detriment.

Code sponsors will need to monitor the above using statistical techniques to demonstrate a 95% confidence level. This can be a complex area, but is well understood by researchers, statisticians, and economists.

Providing eight weeks for informal resolution

Code sponsors no longer need to provide a pre-alternative dispute resolution (ADR) conciliation service. We believe that sponsors and members should be given space to find the best informal solution to disputes. However, this will be time-limited to eight weeks, when the consumer can insist upon independent ADR.

Strengthening ADR

We have strengthened the requirements for ADR to bring them into line with European law. We also plan to pre-approve at least two ADR providers, so that code sponsors can opt for a pre-approved scheme or set-up their own. 

Enforcement

Each code sponsor will be required to establish an independent disciplinary and sanctions panel. This will ensure that any breach of a code of practice is dealt with as effectively, impartially, and quickly as possible. Code members will face robust sanctions for breaching the code. Codes of practice will be brought into disrepute if they fail to have appropriate sanctions in place.

If code members can ignore their provisions without sanction, consumers and stakeholders will lose confidence in approved codes of practice. 

Scope

We have therefore decided that, as a matter of policy, the new scheme will be open to any eligible code of practice - even if there are other code sponsors already operating in that sector. However, we will promote coherence for consumers within sectors where appropriate. We expect healthy competition and, where appropriate, cooperation between code sponsors in the same or similar sectors. We will not be providing any kind of exclusivity. To do otherwise would in our view run the risk of allowing restrictive practices that could limit consumer choice.

Although our focus will remain on approval of sector specific schemes, we will not exclude non-sector specific schemes - if they can demonstrate their code meets the approval criteria.