Publication - Minutes

Scottish Fuel Poverty Partnership Forum minutes: June 2018

Published: 20 Dec 2018
Date of meeting: 5 Jun 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Partnership Forum held in June 2018.

Published:
20 Dec 2018
Scottish Fuel Poverty Partnership Forum minutes: June 2018

1. Welcome (Chair)

a. Introductions – round table

  • Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Partnership Forum, emphasising the important role that the group will play in ensuring strong partnership working across the fuel poverty sector and in acting as a critical friend to government to help inform policy development.
  • Chair and Members each provided a short introduction to their respective organisation and individual professional responsibilities. 

2. Note Address (Minister)

  • Chair invited Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing & Planning to address the Partnership Forum.
  • The Minister provided a short key note address to Members, in which he recognised the valuable contribution that the Partnership Forum and its diverse organisational Membership could bring to help inform government policy activities. The Minister outlined the positive actions being taken by the Scottish Government to continue to prioritise tackling of fuel poverty. 

3. Open Floor Discussion (Chair)

  • Chair mediated an open floor discussion between Members and the Minister, on topics related to both current fuel poverty policy development and the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map (Paper 1) as published in May 2018.  Discussion touched on the following topics:

o   Public Energy Company;

o   Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and engagement by the Scottish Government with the UK Government on devolved powers;

o   Actions being taken to address all four drivers of fuel poverty, including provision of advice, funding and level of control or influence of the Scottish Government over each driver, and the role that partners can play in supporting work to tackle fuel poverty;

o   EPC targets by sector, and funding to be made available to support these ambitions; and

o   Rural uplift under the new proposed definition of fuel poverty, and how rural issues are being taken into consideration in policy and legislative developments.  This included a brief discussion of funding flexibilities under existing government support programmes.

[Minister thanked the Partnership Forum for their time; Minister exited]

4. Overview – Scottish Fuel Poverty Partnership Forum (Chair)

a) Apologies

  • As above.

 b) Remit and Terms of Reference (Paper 2) 

  • Chair provided a short overview of the role and responsibilities of the Partnership Forum, referring to Paper 2 as circulated. Members indicated they were content. Chair highlighted that the Advisory Panel exists to act as a decision making body, and will make active use of the Partnership Forum to help inform its work in providing advice to Ministers.
  • Chair invited Members to consider how their respective organisations can best contribute to the fuel poverty debate, and in particular in their role as a Member of the Partnership Forum. Various comments were provided, with Members recognising the following:

o   As a Membership body, the Partnership Forum can provide access to a diversity of expertise to understand the challenges and barriers to tackling fuel poverty effectively. As part of these recognised expertise is the technical knowledge, front line delivery expertise and lived experience of Members. Attending energy suppliers indicated both their own direct experience in delivery of support and their customer bases as a source of available data.

o   Member organisations will also be able to provide access to relevant guest speakers, research outputs and reports, and further information and awareness raising opportunities, including flagging referral pathways for additional support to vulnerable consumers.

o   Strategic links to other policy and legislative developments such as in the field of Child Poverty, experienced by other Member organisations, was also recognised as valuable due to the parallels and direct inter-relationships between fuel poverty and broader poverty issues. 

c. Conflict of Interests protocol (Paper 3) 

  • Chair invited Members to note Paper 3.
  • Chair invited any declaration of Conflict of Interests pertaining to the remaining elements of the Meeting 1 (2018) Agenda – none were declared. 

5. Overview – Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel (Chair) 

a) Summary of Key Discussion, Meetings 1-3 (Web Link 1)

  • Chair provided a short summary of work undertaken by the Advisory Panel to date, highlighting that the group had already provided formal advice to Ministers on a pre-publication version of the Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy and had reviewed the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map.  Other work included undertaking partnership engagement with the independent Poverty & Inequality Commission and other government advisory groups to discuss best practice approaches to Secretariat functions and the role of independent Chairs.
  • Chair indicated that she is keen the Advisory Panel is a visible group, and that both it and the Partnership Forum should have a clear identity in order to be able to provide collective responses to relevant government documents/processes. 

 b) Year 1 Work-Plan Priorities 2018 (Web Link 2) 

  • Chair provided an overview of the Advisory Panel’s published Year 1 Work-Plan commitments, and invited an open floor discussion on the priorities and work of the Advisory Panel more generally. Members recognised there may be value in knowing what other advisory and short life working groups operating in the same policy area were doing, in particular reference was made to Energy Efficient Scotland short life working groups. 

 c) Engagement w/ Partnership Forum

  • In considering how the Advisory Panel and Partnership Forum could complement one another, DM asked whether there was anyone with direct lived experience of fuel poverty who sat on the Advisory Panel. The Chair confirmed that she had personal experience of fuel poverty as she had self-disconnected from her energy supply in the past. SW added that TIG staff also experienced high fuel costs due to where they lived. NK indicated that The Poverty Alliance is also a Member of the Advisory Panel and can bring the voice of those with lived experience into discussions. 

6.  Next Steps (Chair)

  • Chair indicated that the Partnership Forum was due to meet again in December 2018, where the focus should be on scrutinising the Fuel Poverty Bill. It was recognised that during this period the Advisory Panel may call on Members of the Partnership Forum to help inform its assessment of the legislation. Members discussed the value of Partnership Forum Members being notified when minutes of the Advisory Panel meetings are published online, and to help inform meeting Agendas as appropriate. 
  • The importance of keeping the big picture in mind when discussing fuel poverty issues at the Partnership Forum was highlighted – BS emphasised that decisions made can impact on the day-to-day life of those already struggling to deal with their present situation.
  • NK emphasised to Members the importance of responding to the public consultation on the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map, and invited Member organisations to share their responses with the wider Partnership Forum for awareness.

7.  AOB No comments.

Attendees and apologies

Member

Abbreviation

Organisation

Ann Loughrey

AL

Chair, Advisory Panel & Partnership Forum

Norrie Kerr

NK

Energy Action Scotland;

Deputy Chair, Advisory Panel &Partnership Forum

Jim Eadie

JE

Age Scotland

Kelly Greer

KG

Association for the Conservation of Energy

Alexander Anderson

AA

Centrica Plc.

John Dickie

JD

Child Poverty Action Group

Craig Salter

(deputising)_

CS

Citizens Advice Scotland

Mike Thornton

MT

Energy Saving Trust

Liz Marquis

(deputising)

LM

Existing Homes Alliance

George Dodds

(deputising)

GD

NHS Health Scotland

Ryan McFadden

RM

OFGEM

Ann McVie

AMcV

Scotland’s Social Security Agency

Lyndsey Stainton

LS

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

Linsey Restrick

LR

Scottish & Southern Energy

David Stewart

DS

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Heather Watts

HW

Scottish Power

Robbie Stevenson

RS

SGN

Lisa Glass

LG

Shelter

Brian Scott (supported by David Milligan (DM))

BS

The Poverty Truth Commission

Stewart Wilson

SW

Tighean Innse Gall

 

Scottish Government officials present:

Name

Abbreviation

Saskia Kearns

SK

Ann McKenzie

AMcK

Ailie Clarkson

AC

Stephen Garland

SGd

Apologies 

Member

Abbreviation

Organisation

Nicola Dickie

ND

COSLA

Linda Fiddler

LF

Department for Work & Pensions, UK Government

Lawrence Slade

LS

Energy UK

Lori McElroy

LM

Existing Homes Alliance

Steve Bell

SB

NHS Health Scotland

Simon O’Loughlin

SO

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

John Blackwood

JB

Scottish Association of Landlords

Sarah Boyack

SB

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Stephen Cunningham

SC

SHEEN

Peter Kelly

PK

The Poverty Alliance

Kate Morrison

KM

Citizens Advice Scotland

 

Items and actions

 

Action

Assigned to

1

To send any additional comments they had on the contribution that their organisation could make to the Partnership Forum to the Secretariat for collation to inform drafting of the formal minute.

Members

2

To issue instructions outlining the process for making Conflict of Interests Annual Declarations to Members shortly for completion.

Secretariat / Members

3

To provide further information on existing Energy Efficient Scotland short life working groups as appropriate, and to circulate relevant papers produced by these groups to Members when they are available.

Secretariat

4

To share with the Secretariat the published report on understanding the lived experience and perceived support needs of those in fuel poverty, produced by Citizens Advice Scotland, for circulation to Members in due course.

CS (CAS) / Secretariat

Contact

Email: Saskia Kearns