CIGA finds its consumer champion

The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) has completed its search for an independent consumer champion with the appointment of Teresa Perchard, following a wide-ranging search announced in March, 2015.

Ms. Perchard is tasked with acting as a liaison between consumers and industry, helping to drive improvements to CIGA’s customer service and ensure the agency is held to account.

She brings with her more than 25 years of experience working for consumers, most recently spending over 13 years as director of policy and advocacy for Citizens Advice. Her long career in consumer affairs includes senior positions for the Office of Rail Regulation, Ofwat and the National Consumer Council.

In her new role, Teresa will attend board meetings; advise on improving customer service and resolution of complaints; publish statistics on CIGA’s consumer response time in the Annual Report; and will be awarded power to recommend disciplinary proceedings if CIGA member companies fail in their duty of care to consumers.
 
Speaking about her appointment, Ms. Perchard said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be CIGA’s first consumer champion. Cavity wall insulation is helping millions of householders to reduce their fuel costs as well as reducing carbon and fuel poverty. It is essential that consumers can be absolutely confident about the product, and if not that their concerns and complaints are addressed promptly and effectively. The assurance and 25-year guarantee that CIGA provides are vital to achieving that.
 
“CIGA is right to address the questions which have been asked about how well its arrangements are working for consumers and identify improvements, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to help CIGA with this, particularly by conducting an open review this year of how well CIGA and the industry support consumers.”
 
Gerry Miller, chief executive of CIGA, said: “Teresa’s extensive experience will be a valuable asset for us as we work towards improving our service to customers. She has a deep knowledge of dealing with consumer affairs issues and we are confident that with her direct input as our consumer champion we can make a meaningful difference for customers.
 
“We recognise that in a small number of cases in the past consumers have experienced delays in their claims process that are unacceptable. With this appointment and the various other measures we are putting in place – not least the Annual Report to which Teresa will be contributing – we are showing our commitment to putting those cases right and ensuring no consumers slip through the cracks in the future.

 
“We are committed to giving Teresa the powers and the resources she needs in this role to effectively champion consumer interests.”
 
The appointment follows an extensive search and selection process, which received more than 80 applications for the role. Ms. Perchard was chosen for the position by a selection panel that included Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, an experienced consumer interest specialist and the Labour Party spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills.

CIGA was set up in 1995 to protect consumers where the defect is with workmanship or materials and has since provided close to six million homes with guarantees for their cavity wall insulation. Only two in every 1,000 installations of cavity wall insulation have resulted in concerns being reported.