Evaluation of BGET programmes
Creating a framework to assess the impact of British Gas Energy Trust funding programmes
Project duration: January 2020 ongoing
CSE has been contracted to evaluate the impact of three programmes funded by British Gas Energy Trust (BGET), an independent charitable trust solely funded by British Gas.
Since 2004 BGET has contributed £78m to relieving poverty in England, Scotland and Wales. Through its Individuals and Families programme it helps individuals facing hardship with fuel debt by providing direct grants, emergency credit and boiler replacements. And through its Funded Organisations programme it supports third sector organisations providing energy and money advice (e.g. organisations similar to CSE, though we’re not one of those funded by BGET).
Naturally, BGET was keen to understand and demonstrate the impact of its significant funding to the organisations and people it supports, so commissioned CSE to evaluate the two programmes.
CSE’s Karen Smith describes our approach: “Using the theory of change as a framework, and analysing existing data collected by funded organisations, we produced a menu of social metrics to identify how BGET funding programmes benefited people and organisations.”
These metrics are very simple – e.g. ‘who do we support?’, ‘What problems do they have?’, ‘How do we help?’, ‘What are the immediate outcomes?’ and ‘What are the longer term outcomes?’ But the framework means you can map the problems faced by individuals and advice agencies, and assess how far BGET helps and what the anticipated outcomes are.
A short impact report includes a schematic showing the theory of change framework in diagrammatic form.
The evaluation found that for April 2018-March 2020 the Individuals and Families grant programme gave individual support to people facing poverty by providing 4,800 households with grants worth £3.3m. It also cleared £2.9m of fuel debt for 3,300 households (73% paid to British Gas customers and 27% to non-British Gas customers) and gave emergency credit worth over £78,000 to 1,800 households.
In October 2018-September 2019, the 17 organisations funded by the Trust:
- Helped nearly 8,000 people with debt problems supported almost £3m of debt relief obtained.
- Identified over £12m of additional income for 12,000 people.
- Created over 7,500 individual budget plans to help people to keep on top of their finances.
- Provided energy advice and an energy survey to 10,000 people.
- Supported 6,000 people to find the cheapest deal for their energy, leading to £222,000 in bill savings (switching) and £196,000 saved through challenging incorrect bills.
Advisors from BGET funded organisations said:
“Just being able to help people and getting them what they’re entitled to, the outcomes, and being more financially independent, so it improves their health and wellbeing, their mental health.” [Advisor, Citizens Advice]
“People are so stressed and worried about the future. We have seen an increase in the number of lone parents who have come to us in tears because they feel like a failure and that they are letting down their children because they are unable to provide adequately for them. The support provided has helped them to move forward in a positive way and be able to afford basic household needs.” [Advisor, independent advice organisation]
CSE continues to work in partnership with BGET to support evaluation of three programmes: Covid Respond Fund, Individuals and Families grant and Supporting Communities at Risk Programme.