Consultations Policy

We are committed to developing policy in a fair, transparent, open manner and we believe consultation is essential in achieving this.

Our decisions affect individuals and businesses across Great Britain both now and into the future, so it is vital that we are fully informed and act upon the best evidence available to us.

We aim to conduct consultation that is targeted at, and easily accessible to, those with an interest in our policy proposals, be they large or small companies, consumer groups or individuals.

You can read full guidance on our consultation policy in the attached document: Guidance on our approach to consultation.

In addition to formal consultation, we have an ongoing and extensive programme of stakeholder engagement. For example, we hold regular meetings with small, medium and large energy users and have recently established a new forum for independent suppliers.

We also draw on feedback from our consumer panels and Sustainable Development Advisory Group.

The About us section of the website contains a full list of working groups that play a vital part in influencing policy development.

How we consult

Formal consultation typically involves publishing a document or letter on our website that sets out relevant issues, possible options for consideration and invites views. As policy develops, more documents or letters may be published to seek further views.

We will target consultation towards those likely to be interested in the policy concerned, and we may publish plain English summaries of key consultations of special interest to a wide readership.

Where informal consultation has taken place we will draw attention to it in a transparent manner in any formal consultation that we undertake.

We might also use research to improve our understanding of the issues on which we are consulting. Our research is likely to be based on a mixture of surveys, opinion polls and focus groups. In particular, we will continue to draw on the views of the Ofgem Consumer First Panel, which comprises 100 domestic customers recruited from five locations across Britain.

When we consult

We run consultations according to the following timelines:

  • twelve weeks for consultations on issues that are expected to be of wide significance and interest. This is the maximum consultation period that we would normally expect to allow
  • eight weeks for consultations on issues that are less likely to have a very wide impact or be the subject of substantial interest. This will be the usual timescale for consultations on a subject matter where no earlier, related formal consultation or other reasonable stakeholder engagement has occurred
  • four weeks for consultations on issues that are urgent, or which represent minor changes to existing policies, or where we are working to a timescale which is constrained by a licence or other regulatory or statutory requirement, or set by a third party.

Impact Assessments

We are statutorily required to produce and consult on an impact assessment where we are making “important” proposals to exercise certain functions under the Gas Act or the Electricity Act. Alternatively, we must publish a statement explaining why we consider it unnecessary to publish an impact assessment in those circumstances.

Where we decide that we are not legally required to publish an impact assessment, we would normally, in consultation documents, set out our reasons why.

Responses and decisions

We will consider all responses received before the consultation deadline, focusing especially on the evidence provided in support of views. We will also take account of any representations and comments made by stakeholders in workshops, seminars or other meetings that we hold during the policy development process.

If responses to a consultation lead us to make significant changes to our proposals, we may conduct a further consultation on those revised proposals before making any subsequent decision. Where appropriate a summary of responses may also be included.

If the issue is uncontroversial and support for our proposals is widespread, we will publish our decision and explain our reasons.

How to track a consultation

Each consultation has a “notify me” function within the page, which you can use to keep track of its progress.

If you click on “notify me” and provide your email address we will notify you (by email) when that specific consultation has changed status along the following path:

Upcoming > Open > Closed (awaiting decision) > Closed (with decision)

We will not use your email details for any purpose other than to communicate a change in status of a consultation. You can read full details of our data protection policy on the data protection page of this website.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 15th Nov 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Decision on our open letter on proposed changes to the Ofgem licence fee principles document (LFPD).