WINNER – GO Best Service Award: Medium & Large Organisations, GO Awards Scotland 2018/19
WINNER – GO Best Service Award: Medium & Large Organisations, National GO Awards 2019/120
Warmworks Scotland was set up to reduce fuel poverty in Scotland and drive energy efficiency and sustainability. A winner at the GO Awards Scotland, the Warmworks team were automatically entered for the UK National GO Awards and achieved further success there. Bronagh Finnegan, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Warmworks, explains what has allowed the project to be delivered great service so consistently.
Warmworks Scotland was set up to deliver the Scottish Government’s ‘Warmer Homes Scotland’ scheme. The scheme, launched in September 2015, provides insulation, efficient heating and renewable technologies in the homes of people across Scotland who are struggling with the cost of high energy bills. The scheme receives up to £32 million a year of Scottish Government funding and is a key part of the Scottish Government’s aim to tackle fuel poverty across Scotland and make energy more affordable for all.
Warmworks captures more information, and is therefore able to provide more tailored solutions for individual households, than any other energy efficiency scheme of this type.
One example of this is our bespoke IT platform. In-home surveys are carried out using our tailor-made app on tablet devices, capturing and producing a full Energy Performance Certificate before information about the property is wirelessly synced back to the FileMaker database in the office. The information then syncs with our finance system to ensure any billing or payments to the sub-contracted supply chain of installers is done efficiently and accurately. More than 20,000 in-home surveys have already been completed and synced without duplication or confusion for the householder. Similarly, the property information can then be synced back to our inspection team to ensure that they have all the information required.
Fuel poverty is a complex issue and there is no one solution that fits all. Warmworks is tasked with delivering a first-class service to all our customers, irrespective of location.
Delivering the scheme to island communities generates unique challenges, some of which are beyond our control, for example bad weather or cancelled travel to some of the outer islands. To overcome this problem, we have committed to establishing a network of local contractors, with nine island sub-contractors now working on the scheme. We have put in place secure local storage facilities where we hold materials necessary to complete an installation. This ensures that people living in island communities receive the same service as customers on the mainland. Our efforts in this area are reflected in [the fact that] just under 20% of all of our installations take place in Highlands and Island communities – higher than the targets set by the Scottish Government. Our KPI performance and level of service delivered has been, for the last six months, as high in remote, rural areas as it has been in the more densely populated urban areas of the central belt of Scotland.
Some of our customers face challenges that can be a barrier to receiving help from the scheme, even though they qualify. For example, if a customer is receiving loft insulation and has a lot of possessions stored in the loft space, the installation may not be able to go ahead until the items have been cleared. The cost of this is not covered under the scheme, meaning that those customers would be at risk of having their application cancelled.
In looking for a solution, Warmworks engaged with both Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and SGN, who agreed to provide an ‘enabling fund’ for customers, which can be used to remove any barriers that prevent the customer getting help under Warmer Homes Scotland. This proactive, innovative engagement with stakeholders has resulted in over 75 customers receiving help from enabling funds who otherwise would have had to cancel their applications.
We have set extremely high standards for ourselves in the way that we put the customer at the heart of what we do – and 100% of our customers reported themselves as satisfied or very satisfied with the work carried out.
Supply chain management
We manage a Scotland-wide supply chain of 22 locally based sub-contractors. This is a fundamental part of our success and is achieved by effective management and regular engagement. For example, monthly meetings are held to hear how the process is working, and we offer support as necessary to ensure high levels of service delivery are maintained. In addition, we hold two sub-contractor forums per year where we reflect on the delivery of the scheme to date. We also reward contractors who have upheld our standards and values throughout the year in an awards ceremony.
Transparency, openness and respect are at the heart of Warmworks’ relationships with our SME sub-contractors. More than 96% of our sub-contractors are paid within 30 days and all receive a fair rate for the work they do. In turn, we ask that they pay their people the Scottish Living Wage to ensure that the benefits of the scheme’s investment in local communities are properly and reasonably shared. All of this helps to ensure that best practice is reflected throughout the supply chain as a whole.
The GO Awards Experience
We decided to enter the GO Awards because we feel our approach to transparent procurement and collaborative contract management is one that works. We are proud of the success we have achieved so far and felt it was important that the wider team and supply chain were recognised for all the hard work they have put in over the years in delivering the scheme.
The fact that we won in our category in both the Scottish and UK-wide GO Awards has not only enhanced the morale within our team and our supply chain, but it has also demonstrated to our wider stakeholders and our customers that we are committed to delivering a first-class service and will continue to do so over the months and years to come. We were pleased with our experience of entering the Awards and found the ceremonies to be enjoyable and well organised.