Picture shows Judith Donovan, chair of Keep Me Posted (left) and Baroness Wilcox
There’s nowhere more glorious on a bright summer’s day than the towering edifice which is the Houses of Parliament. Swarming with snap-happy tourists, a couple of TV cameras on the green opposite capturing words of wisdom from politicians and commentators, and the sonorous bongs from Big Ben make it one of the most vibrant places in London.
Luckily, when I went there this week to officially celebrate a year of Keep Me Posted, I had an invitation, which took me away from the queueing throngs and through Black Rod’s Garden Entrance. It’s still a little like catching a plane, passing through security gates and having bags searched – though instead of a light, airy lounge with duty free, the team and I were crammed in the door of a Victorian corridor awaiting our passage.
On then to the Attlee room in the House of Lords, where our host was Lady Wilcox and I was joined by the representatives of some of our supporters and pledge adopters, as well as some of the MPs, and Lords and Ladies who have given us their backing.
As I told those assembled, we have had an incredibly successful start – not only do we now have more than 60 organisations on board with the campaign, but we’ve also gained the support of important advocates for older people, such as Esther Rantzen and influential website Gransnet, and advocates for younger people, with educational charities Pfeg and Mybnk signed up to the campaign.
And importantly, we’re really beginning to see the fruits of our labour in the regulatory space. We’ve repeatedly met and engaged with regulators for energy, communications and the financial services this year, and in April the Financial Conduct Authority announced that they were looking into the withdrawal of paper bills for vulnerable customers. They are expected to unveil an action plan in the autumn which we are hoping to be an important part of.
I was also pleased to announce we will be launching our Choice Champions, which will seek to recognise excellence in communications among service providers in the financial, utility and media sectors, and act as an indicator to new and existing customers of a company’s commitment to consumer choice. Look out for this later in the year.
It’s been an exhausting, but exhilarating first year. And I couldn’t have done it without you, our supporters, urging me on, telling me your stories and letting me know you are right behind the campaign. I hope to have even better news to report this time next year!