CONSUMER INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The department of Consumer Industry and Public Affairs [CIPA] is sub-divided into three units, Consumer industry relations, public affairs and Quality of service and economic assessment. The department is headed by a Director working with three managers each responsible for the routine functions of the sub units
The key responsibilities of the department include the following:
- To educate the public on consumer Bill of Rights, complaints, dispute resolution processes and consumer codes of practice.
- To facilitate the promotion of universal access to un- served and underserved areas to ensure that every Sierra Leonean is benefitting from telecommunication services.
- To empower public knowledge in basic procedures to ensure that consumers know what to expect, what to ask for and what is expected of them in the process of business transaction with service providers
- To inform the public on the role of the Commission and how consumers and their interest/concerns are protected
- Conducting public outreach services to disseminate information and obtain feedback from the consumer
- Conducting surveys on consumer satisfaction, market place forces and related matters as a basis for informed decision making to improve the consumer and industry relationship as stakeholders entities.
- Facilitating the formation and functioning of consumer Advocacy groups to provide avenues to hear the voice of the consumer population on issues of quality of services.
- Providing interface between the consumer population, the service providers and the Commission as a mechanism for dialogue on public opinion with regards to emerging consumer related matters.
- Generating information that will give the Commission a sense of direction on how the telecommunications market is holding up to consumer expectations and participations.
- Facilitating a broad based participatory policy processes for decision making that takes into account the views and opinions of the consumer population.
- Collecting, processing and maintaining updated information [data] on the telecommunication industry and markets to reflect key performance indicators [KPI] and other relevant trends in the industry.
- Device mechanism and procedures for handling complaints and resolving disputes between consumers and service providers in the industry.
- Ensuring that consumers and service providers are given the full benefits of fairness in solving disputes based on merits.
MAJOR MILESTONES / INTERVENTION OVER THE YEARS
Call Monitoring:CIPA embarked on call monitoring of both local and international calls. The objective of this exercise is to ascertain the authenticity of the tariff of the various GSM/CDMA operators per call as advertised in the media
Conflict resolution: The department has been inundated with customer complaints and has promptly intervened in facilitating dialogue between service providers and complaining consumers resulting in peaceful resolutions.
Consumer Parliament :The department of Consumer industry and public affairs [CIPA] over the years has conducted four consumer parliaments in Freetown, Makeni, Bo and Kenema. The Consumer Parliament was initiated by the Commission as a national forum made up of stakeholders of the telecommunications industry to inform, educate and protect consumers /users of telecommunication services in the country
Consumer satisfaction survey:The department conducted a consumer satisfaction survey last year aimed at establishing the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of consumers of telecom services
Interactive Sessions with Operators/Service Providers and Consumers: CIPA also conducted interactive sessions with stakeholders of the telecommunication industry to educate, empower and raise awareness on the rights of consumers and the obligations of the service providers. It also serve as a platform that will enable operators and service providers to clarify issues pertaining to service delivery and related matter.
Outreach and consumer education and public affairs: The department was able to effectively enhance consumer education and the corporate image of the Commission through efficient training workshops like “Women and Girls in ICT” training conducted in Waterloo, Tombo and Pujehun last year.
Press Releases/ Public Notices: The department drafted, edited and distributed press releases and public notices as ordered by the Chairman/ Commissioner on key developments such as outstanding debt collection issues.
Collaboration with Cyber Task Force: The department collaborated with the cybercrime task force to arrest SIM box frauds and peddlers selling unregistered SIM cards. Surprise raids were conducted in various parts of the capital and arrests made.