The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel - Strategic Plan 2024-2027

This is the Panel’s first Strategic Plan. It covers three years – 2024-2027 – and will inform the Panel’s work over the next three years. It sets out the Panel’s strategic goals, what it aims to do to deliver these and how it will measure its progress. There is an accompanying logic model which is a visual representation of how the Panel expect its strategic goals (inputs) to be achieved (outcomes) through its work (outputs).

The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Strategic Plan 2024-2027.pdf

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Strategic goals   

  1. We will advocate for the eradication of fuel poverty by relationship building, and through evidence-based policy development and delivery in Scotland, and in the UK where appropriate.

The majority of levers which will enable Scotland to eradicate fuel poverty – achieving its fuel poverty targets – notably energy policy and pricing, and supporting vulnerable consumers through structural interventions such as tariff support (often called “social tariff”) are reserved to Westminster. However, the Scottish Government has levers through its local government and housing, economic development, health, planning and buildings’ powers to have a significant impact in reducing and preventing fuel poverty through improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing stock. The Panel sees a key role for itself as building relationships to influence decision makers. The Panel wants those committed to eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland, at a national and regional level, to have a clear line of sight on which policies and levers are working.  

What will we do? 

  • Engage with Ministers and policy leads across Scottish Government to influence Scottish Government’s thinking and contribute to the development of evidence-based policies. 
  • Build relationships with decision-makers to establish the Panel and create influencing opportunities .
  • Continue to develop our relationship with the Committee on Fuel Poverty (England) and explore fuel poverty advisory connections in Wales and Northern Ireland. 
  • Actively engage in Scottish and UK Government consultations – this includes by preparing to fulfil our statutory consultee role on heat networks and/or the effectiveness of funding streams for different aspects of home energy upgrades across Scotland.   

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • Invitations to participate in key groups, roundtables, and evidence sessions across the public sector – government (Scottish; UK and Local Authorities) and third sector organisations – and wider energy sector and regulator groups.  
  • We are able to demonstrate learning from the Committee on Fuel Poverty for England as well as sharing our own learning with them.
  • There is evidence that fuel poverty policy is prioritised across the Scottish Government and that fuel poverty links are made across the policy landscape. 
  • Invitations to comment on fuel poverty issues by the media. 
  1. We will be informed by evidence from a wide range of sources and stakeholders, including those with lived experience and the organisations that support them.

The Panel believes that strong evidence and robust data is essential to understand what is working to eradicate fuel poverty and what is not. The modelling of fuel poverty data, based on the annual Scottish Housing Condition Survey, is sophisticated but there is an inevitable time lag of over a year before the full results are released, and updated projections based on the previous survey, whilst helpful, are selective. It is important, too, to shine a light on current experiences of fuel poverty and we will seek opportunities to work with lived experience groups as we do not have the resources to run one for ourselves.   

What will we do? 

  • Hold regular invited evidence sessions to gather evidence with cross-stakeholder representation, be open to approaches to provide evidence to the panel and meet at least once a year outside the central belt. 
  • Engage with the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s Experts by Experience Panel, and other experts by experience. 
  • Engage with the Scottish Government on the Panel’s learning from its evidence-gathering to advocate for a Scottish Government research plan. 
  • Work with partnership organisations to understand the fuel poverty evidence base, including utilising their engagement with people with lived experience to bring their evidence base, and that of their networks, to research opportunities.  
  • Take ownership of discrete, targeted research with regular conversations on research needs, topics, and opportunities.  
  • Scan for things that work, including good practice examples of successful new technology projects.   

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • We are able to show the evidence-thread running through our engagement with people with lived experience of fuel poverty and the advice and briefings we provide.
  • We are able to demonstrate that our research is helpful to others working in the fuel poverty landscape and that it is a conduit to useful and productive conversations.
  • We are able to demonstrate how we have facilitated useful connections between those researching fuel poverty. 
  1. We will offer insights and reflections to support Scottish Government to improve short-term and long-term responses to Scotland’s shifting fuel poverty landscape

The Panel recognises that there is a tension between immediate crisis relief and long-term measures to eradicate fuel poverty. The current fiscal challenge facing the Scottish and UK Governments is exacerbating this tension. The Panel is of the view that the extent of the commitments to address the current levels of fuel poverty are a policy choice. The Panel will use its independence, its opportunities for stakeholder engagement and its evidence-informed approach, to highlight value-adding fuel-poverty mitigating actions to both the Scottish and UK Governments.  

 What will we do? 

  • Promote the message that it is not inevitable for people to suffer fuel and extreme fuel poverty. 
  • Discuss and reflect on the current fuel poverty evidence picture and provide insights. 
  • At Ministerial and official level, seek opportunities to provide evidence to relevant committees in both parliaments.
  • Regularly follow up with the Scottish Government to see what action they have taken/whether their thinking has developed in response to our advice and recommendations.

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • We will be invited to listen, provide our expertise and reflect what we are hearing by those with lived experience of fuel poverty, public (governments, parliaments and public bodies) with the third sector (energy and advice agencies and housing organisations – among others), and the energy sector.
  • We will be invited to participate in consultations and comment on the fuel poverty elements of other organisations’ programmes and work plans.
  • We will see tangible threads running from our advice and recommendations through to policy development and delivery in Scottish Government strategy and approaches.  
  1. We will provide an independent view of Scottish Government’s progress towardsand likelihoodof achieving Scotland’s statutory fuel poverty targets.

The Scottish House Condition Survey estimated that in 2022 31% of households in Scotland were living in fuel poverty, with 18.5% of households in extreme fuel poverty3 .3 The contrast between these fuel poverty figures and the first of the statutory interim targets4 4 show the extent of the challenge to achieve Scotland’s statutory fuel poverty targets. The Panel is passionate about shining a light on progress towards meeting the targets, what is working and what isn’t, and where accountability sits for delivery. 

What will we do? 

  • Include a status update on the Scottish Ministers’ progress towards meeting Scotland’s fuel poverty targets in our annual reports, circulating it widely, including to all MSPs.
  • Support the Scottish Government in developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the fuel poverty strategy. 
  • Offer our reflections to the Scottish Government when they are preparing their 2021-2024 periodic report, as set out in the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019, during the first half of 2025.
  • Offer our reflections to the Scottish Government when they are reviewing their Fuel Poverty Strategy, assuming they have not done this before, as set out in the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019, during 2026.
  • Advocate for the Scottish Government to publish fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty estimates each time these are updated – including the disaggregated picture across Scotland to show where fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty is at its highest. 

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • The Scottish Government has developed a robust monitoring and evaluation framework with our support.
  • We will see more referencing of policies contributing to fuel poverty reduction as well as fuel poverty targets in policy and government publications. 
  • It will be clear how accountability and responsibility for fuel poverty reduction in Scotland and the UK are attributed.
  • The publication of our annual and other reports, advice, statements and letters, will demonstrate our independent voice.
  1. We will advocate for actions and solutions to address the drivers of fuel poverty across, and in line with, all the relevant policy areas which contribute to National Performance Framework outcomes.

The Panel believes that the complex and interlinked nature of fuel poverty across devolved and reserved powers and, within Scotland, across different policy areas, make the focus on the relevant national performance outcomes essential. The Panel is committed to taking all opportunities, both strategic and tactical, to highlight how the impact of the fuel poverty drivers can be reduced for the benefit of those suffering fuel poverty. The Panel recognises that an unprecedented national effort is needed to decarbonise heating systems. It believes that Scottish Government need strong delivery plans and milestones to achieve this decarbonisation through their Heat in Buildings’ policies, programmes and legislation.  

What will we do? 

  • Develop these priorities as key themes for work and map against the National Performance Framework outcomes. These key themes could include energy market reform, remote rural and island fuel poverty, investment in energy efficiency for Scotland’s housing stock, the role of advice services, measures to improve health outcomes, and overlap with other policy areas delivering on statutory impact. 
  • Develop proposals on good practice, researching to identify other issues that the Panel should be advocating for and disseminating good practice. 
  • Develop relationships with stakeholders involved in policy areas relevant to net zero, identifying strategies relevant to fuel poverty where the Panel can helpfully influence. 

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • We will see our ideas and proposals tested and adopted. 
  1. We will champion and foster a collaborative approach to challenging fuel poverty drivers and other structural causes, identifying and encouraging actions to address fuel poverty with stakeholders across the public, private and third sectors.  

It is widely recognised that cross-sectoral (public, private and third) connection, cooperation, and collaboration is essential to the reduction of fuel poverty (both in the immediate crisis relief and in the longer-term solutions for fuel poverty) – home efficiency measures and cheaper energy. The Scottish Government has convened anti-poverty and energy summits and co-ordinated working groups on vulnerable consumers and rural poverty. These have shown the value in cross-sectoral discussion and action. 

What will we do? 

  • Develop a strategic stakeholder map, for the lifetime of this strategic plan, to focus and underpin our stakeholder engagement.  
  • Co-ordinate with public bodies, whose work touches on fuel poverty, to create consistent and impactful messaging on fuel poverty, including the Poverty and Inequality; Just Transition and Human Rights Commissions – as well as Consumer Scotland and Public Health Scotland.
  • Champion collaborative discussions across sectors including cross-sectoral roundtables on fuel poverty research to facilitate better co-ordination of fuel poverty messaging.
  • Participate, where relevant, in external events and engagements. 

How will we know if this is making a difference? 

  • We will be able to demonstrate close cooperation with other public bodies develop with a poverty focus.
  •  Our views, and those we collaborate with, will be referenced in reports and policy documents.
  • Our media impact and website traffic will increase.
  • We will be invited to contribute at events.

 7. We will establish and maintain a strong values-led governance framework to ensure the effectiveness of the Panel 

The Panel’s primary role is an advisory one, but it is also a public body established by statute. It is important that the Panel has an effective values-led governance framework which supports it in both its key advisory function and its culture of listening, transparency and sharing.  The Panel will build on the governance foundations it has begun to establish.   

What will we do?  

  • Build workplans which can be responsive to change.
  • We will build on the governance infrastructure created over the last 18 months, including developing a robust approach to annual reporting and risk management and engaging with the Scottish Government’s Public Service Reform agenda.
  • Working with our Sponsor Team, we will develop a succession plan, informed by our strategic goals and skills’ matrix.
  • We will publish our first Framework Agreement with Scottish Government and revisit it as it approaches its third anniversary.

How will we know if this is making a difference?  

  • There is a strong awareness of the Annual Report across the fuel poverty stakeholder landscape.
  • Annual work plans are delivered to plan, or within agreed adjustments to the plans. 

The next three years (2024-2027) 

As the Panel works to deliver on its strategic goals, it will produce annual work plans which will be rooted in the areas for action set out in this strategic plan. The Panel will annually assess – reporting in its annual report – how effectively it is delivering on its strategic goals.  

The Panel welcomes comments on this plan and approaches for collaborations – 


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