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Stakeholder Engagement Framework @ EBS

 

 

DRAFT

Working Document

November 2020

 

Contents

Introduction. 3

Principles. 3

Engagement approaches and objectives. 4

How we will use feedback from stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of our engagement 5

EBS' Stakeholder Engagement Framework. 6

 

Introduction
At Energy Bedrijven Suriname (EBS) we recognise that the decisions we make and our actions in performing our activities affect a wide range of individuals, businesses, and organizations. Effective and meaningful engagement with stakeholders across all our functions is essential to fulfilling our role, and it provides stakeholders with an opportunity to inform and influence what we do. It helps us make better decisions, enhances our activities and processes' transparency and predictability, and builds stakeholders' trust and confidence in the regulatory regime.

With this document, we introduce a Stakeholder Engagement Framework to improve our engagement quality, embed a consistency around how we communicate and engage with stakeholders, and enable flexibility to tailor our approach to the circumstances. However, to make this work, the Framework needs to become a living practice in the organization.

This first draft is based on best practices in the sector and reflects our high ambition levels. Over the coming period, we will use this Framework to guide our practice. In training our staff, developing new working practices, and applying new tools and methods, we will make the Framework come to life and make it our own.

We are committed to continually improving the quality of our engagement. As part of this commitment, we will regularly review the Framework to ensure it remains relevant and useful.

We commence this process of action learning and development by inviting preliminary views from stakeholders on the Framework and how we could better meet stakeholders' expectations.

We will seek to apply this Framework with immediate effect. We will continue to welcome feedback on an ongoing basis.

 

Principles
We have sought to make the Framework principles-based to allow flexibility to tailor engagement to the different roles and functions' needs. Each of the four principles helps clarify the purpose of EBS' engagement with stakeholders and guide how that engagement occurs.

Stakeholders generally considered that a principles-based approach is appropriate to support effective engagement, allowing EBS sufficient flexibility to use different approaches for different projects and processes.

We prefer to keep the number of principles limited to ensure their overall impact and make them easy to use.

Principle 1 – Communicating in a clear, accurate, and timely way

 

This principle refers to our commitment to using plain language and providing communication in a way that will help stakeholders understand the issues. The benefit is to allow all stakeholders to participate in our processes and make informed contributions within a reasonable time.

Principle 2 – Being accessible, proactive, and inclusive

 

Some stakeholder groups need assistance to understand the issues and their impact and participate in our processes. We will be flexible and consider tailored engagement approaches. We will be proactive and inclusive to encourage participation and seek to help build stakeholders' capacity to allow them to make a significant contribution.

Effective stakeholder engagement is becoming an essential part of how we work. We are committed to taking a proactive approach, for example, tailoring our communication to meet particular needs and building organization capacity where necessary.

Principle 3 – Transparent and Accountable

By reporting on and evaluating our engagement activity, we show that we intend to be accountable for our stakeholder engagement. Accountability is a more demanding standard than transparency and reflects a desire to want customers and stakeholders to understand what is going on and actively guide them.

Our explanation of how we will implement these principles includes that we will:

·      Report on how stakeholder input was considered and how it informed our decision or process

·      Report on our engagement activities, and their effectiveness, on our website and in our annual report.

 

Principle 4 – Measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of our engagement

 

This principle captures that we need to be able to evaluate and review our engagement activities. We will encourage stakeholders to provide us with feedback so that we can continuously improve our engagement.

We will do more than just 'measure' engagement. Further, we should evaluate our targeted communication's effectiveness to work towards more accessible and inclusive consultation. We will seek feedback on our engagement activities and use this information to improve continuously.

 
Engagement approaches and objectives
In our draft Framework, we propose five approaches to engagement we may use depending on our role and responsibilities, the issue or decision being considered, and what we are trying to achieve. These approaches are to:

·      provide information to build understanding and keep stakeholders informed

·      seek stakeholder views and provide feedback on how stakeholder input informed our decision

·      work with stakeholders to reflect their views in the options, solutions, and approaches developed and provide feedback on how this influenced our decision

·      partner with stakeholders for advice and innovation in developing solutions and recommendations and incorporate this into the decision.

·      Empower consumers to make effective energy choices

The Framework refers to the International Association for Public Participation's (IAP2) public participation spectrum to indicate the different engagement levels we may use. This spectrum has five levels: 'Inform', 'Consult', 'Involve', 'Collaborate' and 'Empower'.

More collaboration between EBS and stakeholders

We see opportunities for businesses and EBS to work together to provide helpful and relevant information to stakeholders to continue to build their knowledge base of the energy options and regulations in response to changing environmental and market circumstances, including climate change and market liberalization. As an industry, we aim to develop more collaborative and innovative ways of working together, as well as with stakeholders

We tailor our engagement and include more engagement at the staff level with stakeholders. Such engagement may be either in place of or as a supplement to formal engagement (such as written submissions)—for example, holding meetings between EBS and stakeholders as appropriate to explore a specific issue in a more profound, more deliberative manner.

We will continue to explore opportunities to work more collaboratively with all stakeholders. Where possible, we will use staff-level engagement as a tool to assist stakeholders. This can be a good way of understanding issues and exploring alternative approaches to issues. We note that we will only make strategic decisions after we have consulted on and provided stakeholders with an opportunity to put forward their views.

 

How we will use feedback from stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of our engagement
The Framework outlines clear and specific actions that illustrate how the EBS intends to implement these principles in its engagement. We aim to build on things EBS currently does well while actively seeking feedback and suggestions for improving engagement effectiveness.

Communication

 

While we realize that the subject matter of much of the material in EBS's publications is necessarily complicated, we included the principle to promote better understanding through clear communication. We recognize that EBS could do more targeted communication to encourage informed feedback from different types of stakeholders. For example, using more fact sheets, infographics, and webinars helps make complex material more accessible to a broader audience.

We agree that we need to use a range of tools to help us to engage effectively. We will be investing in additional communications resources and developing new communications strategies, and we will consider these points as we do so.

Provide feedback on how this influenced our decision.

EBS is committed to improving clarity on which areas of its strategic decisions we can be influenced through consultation and how consumer insights will be used. This includes whether there is more, less, or equal importance placed on feedback from stakeholder groups.

We will continue to guide stakeholders about how they can contribute to our strategic planning processes. We will be clear about those aspects where we are looking for stakeholder input and the timeframes available.

We will always provide a clear rationale for our decisions which are based on the evidence and the merits of arguments in front of us at the time. We will always take the views of stakeholders into account when making decisions.

 

EBS' Stakeholder Engagement Framework
Our purpose: The availability of energy is vital to the maintenance and further development of Suriname's economy and society. N.V. EBS, in its capacity as the most important player in the Surinamese energy market, has the task of responding to the energy needs of Surinamese society in an economically and socially responsible manner.

The decisions we make and our actions affect a wide range of individuals, businesses, and organizations. Engaging with those affected by our work helps us make better decisions, provides greater transparency and predictability, and builds trust and confidence.

Stakeholder engagement helps us:
·      Sharpen our purpose

·      Shape our strategic priorities, so we focus on the right areas

·      Identify emerging issues in the market

·      Improve our insight into businesses' and consumers' behavior and needs

·      Develop, refine and implement our interventions so that they deliver the best outcomes for consumers

·      Make the best use of our resources

·      Embrace the spirit of better regulation, including evaluating our performance

·      Learn from others' experiences

·      Communicate effectively with both consumers and businesses

 

How stakeholder engagement fits in:
 

Stakeholder engagement forms a vital part of a more comprehensive approach involving reporting and monitoring, consumer insight and engagement, and formal consultation and decision-making processes, as depicted in Figure 1 below.

This Framework helps us consistently, transparently, and meaningfully consider stakeholder input across our work.

Figure 1 How stakeholder engagement fits in
 

 
Our principles-based approach:
·      To communicate in a clear, accurate, and timely way, we will:

o   Use plain language to assist stakeholders in understanding issues and making informed contributions

o   Have clear and realistic timeframes for input

o   Engage through the whole lifecycle, from planning to consultation and closure, including seeking views as early as possible.

·      To be accessible, proactive, and inclusive, we will:

o   Be flexible and tailor our engagement and communication to meet different stakeholder needs and our various decisions, activities, and processes

o   Take steps where needed to build knowledge and capacity to help stakeholders to engage.

o   Consider the time and resources needed by stakeholders to engage effectively, and where possible:

§  hold meetings at mutually convenient times and locations and coordinate engagement activities

§  allow at least four weeks for stakeholders to provide submissions

§  accept submissions in a range of formats, including written submissions, oral or emailed comments, etc.

·      To be transparent and accountable, we will:

o   Explain the purpose of our engagement, our objectives, and where it fits in our approach

o   Report on how stakeholder input was considered and how it informed our decision or process

o   Report on our engagement activities, and their effectiveness, on our website and in our annual report.

·      To measure and evaluate the effectiveness of our engagement, we will:

o   Seek feedback on our engagement activities, using a range of methods, to evaluate their effectiveness and use this information to improve continuously

o   Monitor our progress through our stakeholder survey.

Our engagement approach: shows the different types of engagement we may use depending on the particular project or decision and the various methods that may accompany each approach.

The engagement approach will be determined by our role and responsibilities, the issue or decision being considered, and what we are trying to achieve.

Each engagement approach involves a clear objective and promise to our stakeholders. Figure 2 sets out our commitments, with some illustrations of how we will apply these.

 

 


 

Figure 2 Engagement approach
 

 

 

How we will engage:

 

Stakeholder engagement can make a positive contribution at every stage of what we do, from strategic planning to how we support individual consumers. While much of it will often be project-based, we aim to have an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders. Figure 3 illustrates some key points for engagement. We distinguish between development and innovation projects and the main service delivery process. We recognize that not every stakeholder may want or will be able to input at each point.

Figure 3 Key points of engagement

Figure 3a Project-based stakeholder engagement

 

 

 

Figure 3b  Service Delivery and operational Stakeholder Engagement

 
Improving and learning
 

We are committed to improving our engagement with stakeholders over time and monitoring and measuring our progress. We will periodically review this Framework, and we will always welcome input about how we can engage better and lessons we can learn from other bodies.