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ESF 4.163: Training of Consumer & Competition Officials and Awareness Campaign

Project Cost: €483,359
Beneficiary: Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA)
Line Ministry: Ministry for for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties
Start Date: 2011
End Date: 2015

Non Technical Short Summary Of Project

This project supported the training of the Consumer and Competition Department to further develop its administrative capacity and support policy reform. A study relating to Codes of Conduct was carried out. Through an awareness campaign, the project also contributed to inform people about the new authority and legislation.

Operational Programme: OPII Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life ESF
Fund: European Social Fund
Operational Objective: To strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector.
Priority Axis: PA4 Strengthening of institutional and administrative capacity
Focus Area Of Intervention: OPIIPA4 Supporting Public Sector Reform
Focus Area of Intervention: OPIIPA4 Lifelong learning for the Public Sector

Project Objectives

The objective of the project is to contribute to the implementation of an effective and efficient consumers and competition reform introduced by the ‘Malta Competition and the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, 2011’

Project Results

1. Cartel InvestigationsAs a result of the project we estimate that there will be an increase in the number of cases decided by 0.33 cases per annum (from 3 cases decided over 3 years to 4 cases decided over 3 years)As a result of the project it is expected that there will be a decrease in case handling duration by 20% when compared to baseline (2 years average to close cases) This can be verified through reviews of the decisions taken by the Office. These can be found in the respective files.2 & 3. Determining abusive behaviour by dominant undertakings in the regulated sector in a small market economy and 3. Examining behaviour of undertakings in oligopolistic markets As a result of the project, there will be an increase in the number of cases solved by 1 related to the baseline of 3 years. That is, before the project, it was estimated that 5 cases are solved over a 3 year period. Following the training, 6 cases will be solved over a three year period. As a result, there will be a decrease of 16.6% in the time duration to solve a case. 4. Training of officers of MCCAA Officers Following training of these officers it is expected that they would be more skilful in mediation thus decreasing the amount of cases submitted to the tribunal and enabling consumers to acquire swifter redress. It is envisaged that the Department will increase the number of complaints solved amicably by 10% on the 2009 baseline (36% of complaints were amicably solved). The results can be obtained through a computer generated programme – the Complaints Handling System. Furthermore, statistics are published in the annual report.Awareness CampaignAs a result of this campaign, the enquiries will decrease by 10% on 2009 baseline due to the fact that the consumers and traders will be more aware regarding their rights and obligations respectively (8,317). The Office has recently established a database for the recording of these enquires. It is envisaged that as a result of the awareness campaign, 250 traders will adopt the Trust Mark.Results - Gozo: Awareness on the Code of ConductAs a result of the project, businesses in Gozo will also adopt the Code of Conduct official symbol. It is expected that through the awareness campaign in Gozo about 50 businesses will subscribe to this scheme and abide by this code of conduct. The chamber of commerce and the GRTU will be consulted and involved to achieve these targets. The scheme will also be promoted in Malta it is expected that 200 traders will subscribe in the scheme.

Project Purpose

The main project purposes are:- To further train and enhance the competences and skills of the staff of the MCCAA which will result in more effective mediation and enforcement.Furthermore, following the training, more efficient investigations are envisaged to take place.- The awareness campaign on competition and consumer affairs will create more awareness on the rights and responsibilities of both consumers and traders, increasing the efficiency of MCCAA services.- As part of the awareness campaign the participation of the traders/businesses in the code of conduct i.e. the “Trust-You” scheme will enhance fair practices amongst the market players to the benefit of consumers and traders alike.