Energy costs: Government plans upgrades for financial support and advice portal

Online platform from BEIS aims to provide a unified service through which citizens can check eligibility for government support

Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay  

Government is planning to make swift upgrades to an online advice tool aimed at helping citizens take step to reduce their energy bills and access the financial support for which they are eligible.

The service was developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and launched last month. It is intended to replace the Simple Energy Advice website, which contains government-backed information but – unlike the new site – is not hosted on GOV.UK.

The new service is already up and running but, as the cost-of-living crisis deepens and pressure on ministers to do more intensifies, BEIS is already seeking to make improvements that will allow the online tool to better support citizens.

The department is seeking to appoint a supplier to help build a new unified service through which users can check their eligibility for government support programmes, as well as an in-built system for making referrals to the schemes in question.

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“Over the coming months and years, we intend to enhance the website with additional functionality to improve the customer experience,” said BEIS, in a contract notice. “[We want] to provide additional functionality which integrates with online customer journey and provides consumers with information and choice on government funding schemes for retrofit. There are currently several live government schemes with different eligibility criteria and scheme administrators. Consumers need to proceed through one single eligibility checker that covers multiple schemes and be referred to a scheme that is suitable for them.”

As well as homeowners seeking guidance on efficiency measures and support programmes, BEIS also wishes to deliver a platform that allows officials to access data to support policymaking and operation of the financing schemes. 

Bids for the project are open until midnight on 16 August, after which the department hopes to appoint a supplier by the end of October. The winning bidder will fulfil a programme of work lasting about five months, which will encompass an alpha and beta phase, at the end of which BEIS expects the delivery of “ready-to-launch, cost-effective services”.

A budget of up to £575,000 is available to deliver the upgrades – a figure which covers both internal and external costs.


Sam Trendall

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