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Consumer Scotland Act 2020

Section 7 – General provision about functions

19.This section sets out general requirements that Consumer Scotland must adhere to when carrying out its functions. These include having regard to its own forward work programme (see section 14) and the desirability of working in collaboration with others where appropriate.

20.Among other things, Consumer Scotland must have regard to the activities carried on by specified persons and also by persons with the same functions as, or similar functions to, Consumer Scotland. Specified persons are persons specified by the Scottish Ministers by regulations. As noted below, “person” takes the meaning given in the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (see paragraph 52).

21.In exercising its functions under the Act, Consumer Scotland must have regard to the interests of vulnerable consumers. Consumer Scotland must also have regard to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way, recognising that some individuals may need to be provided with information in a particular format (for example, large print or braille). The term “communicating in an inclusive way” is defined as communicating in a way that ensures that individuals who have difficulty communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise) can receive information and express themselves in ways that best meet their individual needs.

22.There is also a requirement that, in exercising its functions, Consumer Scotland must have regard to the environmental impact of the actions of consumers. This complements the existing environmental duties Consumer Scotland will have by virtue of being made subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For more information on this, see paragraph 101 of these Notes.

23.As noted in the Policy Memorandum, the intention is that Consumer Scotland is to be made part of the Scottish Administration. As such, Consumer Scotland will then be subject to the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. In particular, section 14(3)(d) of that Act imposes a duty on the accountable officer for the Scottish Administration to ensure that resources are used economically, efficiently and effectively. This duty is also one that, in line with section 15(7)(c) of that Act, can be delegated to an accountable officer for a particular part of the Scottish Administration. Consumer Scotland’s resources will therefore need to be managed in line with this requirement.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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