Department of Trade and Industry: consultation on future energy
In June 2001 the Prime Minister asked the Performance and Innovation
Unit (PIU) of the Cabinet Office to undertake a review of the
strategic issues surrounding energy policy for Great Britain.
The PIU published “The Energy Review” on 14 February
In welcoming the PIU report, the Prime Minister said, “The
report raises many of the issues we need to discuss as we develop
our energy policy. I hope that this report will launch a thorough
The DTI, working with DEFRA and other departments, launched a
consultation document ‘Energy policy - key issues
for consultation’ on 14 May 2002. The document built on
the PIU’s findings, along with those of the Royal Commission
on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) and relevant Parliamentary reports.
The DTI was keen to ensure that the consultation on energy policy
was as full and engaging as possible, and worked with the Institute
for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the New Economics Foundation
(NEF), the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development
(UKCEED) and Dialogue by Design. Dialogue by Design's role was
to conduct an online consultation
To gather from a wide range of stakeholders their ideas on how
to resolve some of the key dilemmas and challenges of an effective
energy policy, to reveal the common ground and differences among
strategic stakeholders and enable some comparisons with the results
of consultations with members of the public, and thereby to inform
the forthcoming Energy White Paper.
The process was intended to build on the responses from the focus
groups and workshops and to allow a group of invited expert stakeholders
to participate in open dialogue on energy policy challenges. The
first session of the online process posed a number of key questions
to a range of energy stakeholders and brought participants into
a structured discussion of issues, based on a set of questions
and materials intended to help them to take a fresh view of the
The electronic consultation continued with a second session,
which enabled participants to review the results of session 1.
This included seeing all the comments made for each question and
the groupings in which they had been placed by the facilitators.
They could also see a summary document prepared by the facilitators.
In Session 2 participants were given the opportunity to answer
three subsequent questions asking about their views in the light
of the discussion so far, raise any further issues, and to make
recommendations on what they wanted from the White Paper.
The summary document was developed and revised based on these
comments. A third session enabled them to see the final results
and participate in an evaluation process.
The online consultation process registered approximately 200 specially
invited expert stakeholders from across the energy sector including
government bodies, academics, energy businesses and consultants
and experts. The first online session stimulated over a thousand
responses from 156 participants. A total of 178 people went into
the website to view the results and 78 people responded to the
Session 2 questions.
Over 6,500 individuals and groups took part in the overall consultation
- the most significant consultation on energy policy ever undertaken
in the UK. As regards the online consultation, results were very
positive on the whole, with people welcoming the opportunity to
contribute to debates in an online format that limited the length
of responses and sought to bring out fresh perspectives on the
issues. There was general approval of the website design and the
innovative approach to consultation represented by the initiative.