Transparency of Ofgem data – A Statement of our Policy

Publication date
25th March 2014
Information types
Policy areas

Commitment to transparency shows that an organisation is confident in itself and aims to build confidence among its stakeholders. For Ofgem, transparency is an important part of our statutory duties and a core governance principle to support the predictable, authoritative decision making which is key to independent economic regulation. We recognise that transparency offers a route to strengthened accountability and provides important regulatory benefits:

  • To assure market participants and investors of our commitment to clear, predictable rules and requirements
  • To build legitimacy by enabling better understanding of the uncertainties and trade-offs that inform decision making
  • To support our own reporting and improvement, by demonstration of reasoned processes and willingness to learn

We have made significant progress to better and more open presentation of our data. We have also done much to embed transparency in our key regulatory initiatives including RIIO and RMR, as well as promoting improvements to industry self-governance and developing an active approach to reputational regulation in the sector. Given the wide scope of these achievements, our Simplification Plan commitment recognises the need for a strategic approach to openness, to maintain our existing transparency and develop ways to identify additional areas where we might be more open. This policy statement:

  • Sets out our approach to transparency
  • Suggests how we might identify where we can be more open
  • Reviews our progress on reputational regulation
  • Describes how we gather and use information from companies. This includes our approach to Information Requests

We have framed this statement in a wider discussion of why transparency matters and why, for regulators especially, transparency must be considered in relation to risk. Risks can arise both from lack of transparency and from an approach which does not fully reflect commercial realities or anticipate the consequences of making information available. Regulatory independence is balanced by responsibility. Greater openness encourages stakeholder participation which is a key component of well-informed, independent decision making. The responsibilities of regulated bodies and the need to ensure stable markets are significant factors in that decision making. As part of our consideration of where transparency can usefully be extended we need to take account of potential impacts, including any implications for organisational or sectoral risk.

We are interested in stakeholder views on this policy statement. Please send any comments to Mark Wagstaff, Better Regulation Manager: mark.wagstaff@ofgem.gov.uk