December 1, 2021

October 20, 2023

Digital policy engagement for UK Net Zero energy strategy

Partnering with the BEIS to design and establish an effective digital policy engagement system to propel the energy sector toward a Net Zero future

Commercial, Spend & Impact


In 2021, PUBLIC worked with the Energy Strategy team at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to spearhead the design of digital policy engagement process within the UK’s energy landscape. Driven by the mandates outlined in its Energy White Paper (December 2020), the Clean Power Strategy Directorate (CPSD) at BEIS aspired to orchestrate a digital consultation with an array of energy sector stakeholders. The primary aim was to establish a broad-based, effective channel of digital engagement with experts within the energy domain.


We kick-started a transformative Discovery project for BEIS’s Clean Power team, focusing on digital tools that would substantiate the journey toward Net Zero. Committed to adhering to Government Digital Service (GDS) principles, our approach was rooted in two fundamental tenets: ‘Start with users’ and ‘Design with data’. This holistic approach unfolded through 3 phases:

  1. User-centred research: We engaged in extensive user research involving eight distinct target user groups. This research went beyond conventional methodologies, including elements like service safaris, user-centred ethnography, and contextual interviewing with a diverse cohort of 50 users.
  2. Journey mapping: To gain a deeper understanding, the insights gathered were meticulously mapped onto the policy-making journey. The outcome was a comprehensive journey map, offering crucial intelligence into the perspectives of the eight target user groups.
  3. Persona creation: The research insights were translated into vivid personas, each one carrying a unique set of user needs. These personas formed the foundation for prioritisation grids to drive service design prototyping into the Alpha phase.


Our collaboration extended further as we delved into the technical landscape, measuring and evaluating over 30 modern digital platforms spanning various categories. This technical deep dive involved evaluating product functionalities, design, technical resilience, and cost implications. The results served as a crucial asset, empowering the Director General for Energy to formulate a future-proof policymaking strategy underpinned by cutting-edge digital platforms. Our work culminated in a series of progress reports presented to the BEIS team, ensuring a transparent and evolving journey.

This partnership with BEIS showcased the potential of user-centric approaches, robust technical evaluations, and forward-thinking digital strategies, all aligned with the critical mission of propelling the energy sector toward a Net Zero future.


Photo by the author

Johnny Hugill

Director of Commercial, Spend & Impact

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