Evaluation of British Gas Energy Trust (BGET) programmes
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) evaluated the impact of three programmes funded by British Gas Energy Trust (BGET), an independent charitable trust solely funded by British Gas. The evaluation used the Collective Impact Framework developed by CSE in 2019-20 to help BGET monitor and maximise the impacts of their funded programmes.
Since 2004 BGET has contributed £78m to relieving poverty in England, Scotland and Wales. Through its Individuals & Families programme it helps people facing hardship with fuel debt by providing direct grants, emergency credit and boiler replacements. And through its Covid Response Fund and the Supporting Communities at Risk 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 three programmes over the course of two years.
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:
- Who do we support?
- What problems do they have?
- How do we help?
- What are the immediate outcomes?
- What are the longer term outcomes?
And our framework means you can map the problems faced by individuals and advice agencies, assess how far BGET helps and what the anticipated outcomes are.
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.
From October 2020 to June 2021, the 17 organisations funded by the Trust:
- Helped 2,370 people with debt problems and wrote off £2.7m of debt
- Identified over £1.8m of annual gains in beneficiary income for more than 3,000 people.
- Created over 2,000 individual budget plans to help people to keep on top of their finances.
- Provided energy advice and an energy survey to over 4,300 people.
- Supported 1,765 people to find the cheapest deal for their energy, leading to £116,000 in bill savings (switching) and £85,000 saved through challenging incorrect bills.
From April 2021 to January 2022 BGET funded 20 organisations that:
- Supported over 15,000 individuals and households
- Provided advice to over 3,000 in fuel debt and nearly 2,000 in water debt
- Managed over £21m of debt and wrote off almost £5m of debt
- Created over 7,600 budget plans
- Supported almost 5,000 households in finding the cheapest deal for their energy bills either through switching to another supplier or 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 from 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 from an independent advice organisation
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