16th November


Charity and 3rd sector organisations, local interest groups, consumer groups




To update on activities we’ve been working on since we last met and how stakeholder feedback is shaping our plans and direction around fuel poverty.

Specifically, we wanted to discuss the energy crisis with our social partners, explain the current market situation and understand the impact this is having on both our partners and communities.

We wanted to outline some of our proposals to provide support and identify what else we can do to provide additional support to our partner organisations and work better together to meaningfully support our community partners.

Your comments & our responses

Creating a community hub

You were supportive of the idea of creating a community hub and said being able to use our office space and resources from the hub on an ad-hoc basis would be beneficial, but it needs to be geographically wider than just in our head office in Leeds.

We will look at ways we can use and share our office space based on our lease agreement to see what’s possible. We are mindful that any offering we do develop needs to complement and fill a gap, rather than be detrimental to offerings and income streams that other community and voluntary sector organisations run.

One of the key areas we agree we can support is on plugging any gaps for community groups where their existing space no longer exists. We are also keen to look to offer support for start-up businesses that needs a small amount of free or low-cost office space and have alignment with our own business objectives of net zero, green energy and social value for our own community partners to build better relationships with us and each other.

Providing skilled support

It was clear from your feedback that there would be an interest in using our volunteering days to support community partners fill skills gaps. You said there were some specific back-office skill sets that would align with your requirements. It was also clear that instead of two days, splitting this time down into a bank of 16 hours across a period of time would be more beneficial for you.  When it comes to blockers, GDPR was a clear area of concern and compliance was something that needed to be considered to ensure partners can take advantage of this support in a compliant and secure way.

We will look at setting up a catalogue of services we can offer across the back-office functions (design, comms, accountancy, audit, legal, stakeholder, IT) and how many days a year that service is available and under what terms and times we can offer it. Once we’ve developed an offer we will look to test it with our social strategic partners. We will ensure we include training as part of this offering and will build in non-disclosure agreements and GDPR compliance as part of any service offering.

Providing additional support

Understandably your customers had lots of questions about what was happening in the energy industry and you identified that a set of Q&A on the energy crisis would be useful to enable you to support your customers, as well as building in regular updates as part of our programmes of engagement over the year.

As well as holding a dedicated session to explain what is happening, we will create a set of FAQs around the energy industry that will be located on the joint site and accessible for all our partners. We will also revisit this Q&A every six months and provide updates periodically at our workshops to ensure our partners are kept abreast of the latest situation.

Providing additional support to partners

During discussion around the additional support you’d find helpful, you said we should also be raising awareness of water PSR as well as our own PSR.

It’s really important to us that we ensure customers have access to an holistic range of support, not just gas specific information. We will work with our water colleagues and look at ways we can promote it through our newsletter and wider PSR activities, including adding water PSR link into our PSR home page and build it into our Making Every Contact Counts programme as part of our customer vulnerability training framework. We will speak with our Customer Care Team who make follow-up calls to customers after our engineer’s visit and ensure they inform customers where applicable, about water, as well as the electricity and gas PSR.

Currently we are developing a booklet that covers energy saving and safety across all utilities as part of our cross-sector Utilities Together working groups, so we will make sure that information about the water PSR is included.

Improving our workshops

You provided really positive feedback on the workshop itself and found it interactive and engaging. The one area you said could be improved was the participant naming system, in order to help link individuals to an organisation, to facilitate networking and provide context to their input.

We agree with this and will make this change at our next workshop.