Utilities Working Group

Update: February 2020

The National Mental Capacity Forum's Utilities Working Group brings together a core group of stakeholders from the utilities sector who can take actions forward to benefit individuals that utilise services – this includes energy (gas and electricity), water and the communications industries.

Its purpose is to better understand how utility companies can play a part in embedding the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act to support customer interactions/service, and to identify and implement actions to support this.

The Priorities of the Working Group:

Dementia Friends Utilities (DFU)

It is essential that utilities help customers, especially those that require additional support such as those with dementia. The Dementia Friends Utilities (DFU) initiative was launched in 2018 and focuses on how utility companies can be more dementia friendly by making simple changes.

As part of the initiative a significant number of employees from a range of utility companies have continued to participate in Dementia Friends Training. This training increases awareness of what it is like to live with dementia and supports in turning understanding into action to enable a more customer-focused environment.

Dementia-friendly utility guide

Dementia-friendly utility guide has been developed with the support of Alzheimer’s Society. The guide aims to increase understanding of the areas that individuals may face when interacting with their utilities, with an aim of overcoming barriers and challenges for those living with or caring for those living with Dementia.

Call for innovation

Recently there has been a call for innovation from the Group, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) where we are seeking new practical ideas and proposals to better support individuals with dementia to be safe, warm and independent in their homes.

A workshop was held in London in November 2019 where we were joined by Alzheimer’s Society, along with RNIB and Carer’s Trust, to share valuable insights to further develop delegates’ awareness of dementia; and how customer needs might need to be considered when looking to create new products and services. After all, it is only by fully understanding the context of dementia that we can find and develop the solutions needed. This launch allows innovators from across the UK to now submit proposals for review and where successful sponsorship by the NMCF Utilities Working Group, with the support of the EIC and subject matter experts. The aim is to encourage a pipeline of on-going innovation ideas – developing practical services and products to support keeping those living in their homes for longer.

  • Photos from May 2019 roundtable Open

    Photos from May 2019 NMCF utilities roundtable Photos from May 2019 NMCF utilities roundtable
  • Photos from November 2019 workshop Open

    Photos from November 2019 NMCF utilities workshop Photos from November 2019 NMCF utilities workshop Photos from November 2019 NMCF utilities workshop

Utilities Against Scams (UAS)

Scams are a growing issue and currently affects so many individuals financially and emotionally. It also creates reputational risks for the industry. Utilities have well known and trusted branding and this can be copied by others to look official. Therefore, utility companies and National Trading Standards are working together to raise awareness around scams to help spot, stop and prevent scams both on the doorstep, over the phone or via email/post.

Education and awareness around scams is key to prevention. If individuals know what to look out for, then they are less likely to be taken in.

  • SPOT: If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is
  • STOP: Take some time to stop and think before parting with your details or money – it could keep you safe
  • PREVENT: If you spot a scam or think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and get help.

Download practical guide

Utilities Against Scams: A practical guide - Supporting customers and helping employees to spot, stop and prevent a scam.

All utility companies are being encouraged to join Utilities Against Scams to demonstrate their commitment to scams prevention work. Training specifically for the utilities sector is available and free of charge to any utility company that join UAS.

As part of work carried out and for a consistent approach the NMCF Utility Working Group along with National Trading Standards have created a marketing toolkit which provides all of materials created and shared at the launch event including the guidance document, logos, social media wording and supporting materials for customers – such as the telephone notepad and door sticker.

In addition, FREE training for utility colleagues has been created with National Trading Standards specifically – for access to this and to allow companies to make their commitment to becoming a UAS company, you should make contact directly with National Trading Standards, meaning that they can also capture numbers of companies and individuals completing the training for their wider Friends Against Scams national programme. Find out more, and contact Utilities Against Scams

  • Photos from March 2019 workshop Open

    Photos from March 2019 NMCF utilities workshop Photos from March 2019 NMCF utilities workshop Photos from March 2019 NMCF utilities workshop Photos from March 2019 NMCF utilities workshop

Mental health and affordability

This is the latest initiative/priority for the NMCF Utilities Working Group. We will be partnering with Money and Mental Health to work towards everyone having an equal chance of financial security, regardless of mental health.

Stay up to date

Stay up to date with the work of the National Mental Capacity Forum by signing up for e-mail updates from SCIE, ensuring your specify you have an interest in the 'Mental Capacity Act 2005'.