Why the Utilities Working Group can help the most vulnerable

Featured article - 17 February 2020
By Jo Giles, Customer Safeguarding Manager, gas distribution network Cadent

Blog about the National Mental Capacity Forum's Utilities Working Group

When you say ‘utilities’ I bet you think of Monopoly. Rather old fashioned and faceless public services such as the water works and the electric company.

However, in my role I focus on a wide variety of vulnerable situations that can affect our customers. I have the privilege of being the utility lead on the National Mental Capacity Forum (NMCF) and head the NMCF Utility Working Group, which works to create and disseminate practical guidance to companies on the many ways that we can help embed the Mental Capacity Act (2005). The aim of the group is to co-create approaches to support cross-industry consistency in providing the best support to all our customers, and to implement these in business as usual processes.

The NMCF Utilities Working Group is made up of representatives from across the industries of Energy (gas and electricity), water and communications. We also have consumer council representation to ensure that we are working on the right priorities and developing guidance for utility companies that reflects what supports our customers in the best way. We develop and publish good practice guidance that is easy for all utility companies to follow, no matter their size and make it easy for companies to get involved. To ensure that guidance that we publish has the greatest integrity, we work with and are guided by, subject matter experts and recognised charities.

Helpful guide

It is important to us that when we launch guidance we continue to work and develop that advice. One example is the Dementia Friendly Utility Guidance; we’ll also continue to host annual roundtables; and we’ve launched a Call for Innovation to create a pipeline of new products and services.

To find out more please view the SCIE webpages, where we have details of all materials produced to support utility companies embed the MCA; and we will continue to update this as new publications and guidance is launched. Find out why, these days, we’re not the stereotype of the faceless organisations depicted in Monopoly.

Should you have any queries about our work or wish to find out more about the MCA within utility companies please email me at jo.giles@cadentgas.com

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