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The Panel's strategic plan 2023/24


After consultation, we have published our strategic plan 2023/24 below:

Strategic Plan CCP-ACOD 2023_24 (Word version)

Strategic Plan CCP-ACOD 2023_24 (PDF version)

Rhagair ein cynllun strategol ar gyfer 2023 24 (Word version)

Rhagair ein cynllun strategol ar gyfer 2023 24 (PDF version)

We have welcomed comments and thoughts from our stakeholders on the Panel's draft strategic plan and these have been fed into our final plan for the year ahead. Responses have been published in full below.

Citizens Advice - please click here to read the response.

Citizens Advice Scotland - please click here to read the response.

Consumer Scotland - please click here to read the response.

RNIB - please see response below.

'I just wanted to send you these couple of paragraphs below (text below in bold), on some of the specific
difficulties that blind and partially sighted face, particularly around communications etc. Would you guys be
able to make mention of this in your report, regarding the need for specific assistance/help for those living with
sight loss and disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis?

Also just to say, we are also concerned that the telephone landline switchover, which is referenced in the
report could also disproportionately affect blind and partially sighted costumers.

  • Even before prices began to rise locally, one in five blind and partially sighted people said they had
    some or great difficulty in making ends meet. It is deeply concerning that many are now having to use
    less energy just to save money and to afford the rising cost of living.
  • Life costs more if you’re disabled. We’re hearing worrying reports from our contacts in the sight loss
    community, that some people are finding it more and more difficult to meet the costs associated with
    travelling to essential eye health appointments.
  • People with sight loss rely on additional lighting to get around safely, use taxis for essential
    independent travel and there’s the assistive technologies that help with day-to-day living also adding
    to energy costs. Blind and partially sighted people also tend to rely heavily on various electrical
    domestic appliances, like talking microwaves, or vital broadband internet connection to maximise their
    basic independence, as well as keeping phone batteries charged to keep connected to family and
  • If you can’t see fully, you’re less able to make use of discounts online due to inaccessible websites
    and are often unable to see discounted items or special offers available in retail outlets.

In terms of the telephone lines switch over – I’m sure you know Antrim, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus are due as the first area to switch over to the new lines. We’ve heard some ‘horror stories’ from England, where
the broadband providers have affectively penalised customers who have not responded to communication.
They’re doing this by drastically reducing broadband speeds and preventing outbound calls, until the customer.
As you can imagine, this is problematic for not only blind and partially sighted people but a wide group of
vulnerable people, as they may not have the means to read the information if it is being posted out to them, or
they may struggle to independently switch over the hub themselves.

A massive issue is definitely the accessibility of information – how is the switch being communicated to
customers, and what alternative methods will providers use to contact customers who have more complex
accessibility needs?

Another issue, which would not only affect blind and partially sighted people; is in the event of a power cut, a
phone that is connected to a broadband router will not work. As we know Northern Ireland has a large
population in rural areas, we are prone to power cuts, and much of the older generation, or people with
disabilities may not have access to a mobile phone. The reliance on a landline in emergency is crucial. Are
providers prepared to offer a batter back-up in the event of an emergency, and if so are the
instructions/information around this provided in accessible formats?'


If you have any difficulties accessing content on this page, please email us at contact@communicationsconsumerpanel.org.uk