Yesterday saw the launch of my new report, co-authored with Faye Scott: Neither Sermons nor silence: the case for national communications on energy use at a lively event at the Institute for Government. The paper argues that the real success of programmes such as the smart meter roll out, Green Deal, and Renewable Heat Incentive will depend on public engagement.  It shows why the government’s current plan to rely on multiple, dispersed communications for energy schemes are unlikely to secure the take up and interest needed, putting the policies at risk of failure.

The report looks at lessons from other high profile campaigns like the recent digital switchover and Change4Life. They clearly show the importance of a government-backed, national level brand and communications strategy to support policy delivery. Public take up of government energy schemes has been relatively low up until now, even when measures are heavily subsidised or even free. Overcoming this requires communications to build a strong brand which will enable trusted messengers to communicate and have the power to change social norms. As we head into the roll-out of a number of new schemes, we set out a clear case for getting the communications right if they are to be a success.

On the panel for the launch were: Greg Barker MP, Minister for Climate Change; Neil Clitheroe, Chief Executive at Scottish Power; Jill Rutter, Programme Director at Institute for Government; Hugh Treacy, Managing Director at Arnold KLP, and the event was ably chaired by Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder of Futerra.

 You can follow the blog debate on this subject on the Green Alliance blog