SSEN’s Inclusive Service Panel is driven by passion

Posted On: 
22nd January 2018

Equality, diversity and inclusion are already big topics in many workplaces, but Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is going a step further to ensure its customer service and support is truly inclusive and accessible for everyone. 

The electricity distribution network provider for the north of Scotland and central southern England recently hosted the inaugural meeting of its Inclusive Service Panel, which has been set up to help inform and influence the company’s decision making, with a specific focus on the provision of inclusive service and support for all of its 3.7m customers.

The panel is chaired by Richard Shakespeare, a leading expert in Diversity and Inclusion, and includes four additional members Emma Saccomani, Henry Field, Emma Hart,  and Jenny Miller. Between them the panel has a vast range of work-life experiences including mental health, inclusivity, resilience, physical disability, equality, occupational health, religious diversity, BME and healthcare specific recruitment and the LGBT community. 

By learning from the panel members’ expertise, experiences, backgrounds and knowledge, SSEN is checking all aspects of its business to ensure that it not only  continues to do the right thing for all its customers, but also continues to develop its commitment to delivering a truly inclusive culture within its organisation.

Commenting after the first meeting, panel chair Richard Shakespeare, said:

“Prior to this meeting I’d spent several months visiting SSEN’s depots and offices across the country so that I could learn more about the company and its staff and it’s clear that there is already a real passion for inclusivity in the business. There’s the shift SSEN has already made from being a traditional engineering business to becoming one that puts the customer first, and we’ve already identified at this session that SSEN’s teams are already doing a great job.  With the help of the panel we can give them additional confidence and resources to keep on doing  the right thing and inspire them do even more for its customers.”

Julie Walker, SSEN’s Social Obligations Manager, helps to facilitate the panel and was pleased with the passion and enthusiasm on display during the day:

“A key part of SSEN being a responsible network operator is the fulfilment of our promise to place our customers at the heart of everything we do,  and we are committed to ensuring our services are available and accessible to all customers equally, regardless of their personal circumstances.

“What I took away from today’s session was that there is real spirit of positivity and passion amongst the panel members, a belief that “our thoughts are important” and “we can make a difference”. This panel has been set up to have a real voice within our organisation, and the thoughts and recommendations from today’s and future sessions will be read and digested by the very highest levels of decision making in our company.”

Looking to the future, Richard added:

“I think one of the priorities for SSEN is to communicate even more than it does already to its customers just how many things it can do to help, for example the Priority Service Register. A lot of customers aren’t aware of what the company, as a network operator, does to help and so the challenge is to show what can be done and how it can engage more with customers who need to be aware of what is on offer to them.

SSEN’s Inclusive Service Panel is scheduled to meet at least three times every year, and the company is also in the process of setting up a similar internal panel, where staff can share their thoughts and help shape business decisions.

To watch a short video featuring Richard Shakespeare and Julie Walker talking about the Inclusive Service Panel, please click here; the video is also embeddable if you would like to include it on your website.