On the 31 October 2013 the AER released its Stakeholder Engagement Framework. The Framework sets out the principles that will guide our public engagement with consumers, energy businesses and other stakeholders affected by our activities. It commits us to communicate in a timely and clear way, and to be accessible and inclusive, transparent and measurable in our engagement activities.
We recognise that the decisions we make and the actions we take in performing our regulatory roles and other activities affect a wide range of individuals, businesses and organisations. Our vision is for our stakeholders to have the opportunity to engage with us across a range of our functions. To achieve this, we recognise that our stakeholders need to have trust that their input will be valued and, importantly, that the regulatory process can deliver outcomes that reflect stakeholders’ needs and interests.
Our Stakeholder Engagement Framework works towards this vision by providing a structure that allows stakeholders’ needs and interests to be consistently, transparently and meaningfully considered in our activities, including those processes through which we reach decisions.
The Framework is a public document that articulates the principles that guide our engagement approach. It recognises that different levels of engagement are appropriate, depending on the issue, and clearly establishes what our stakeholders can expect when they engage with us.
While the Framework relates closely to our engagement with energy consumers, the principles and practices are intended to cover our engagement with energy businesses, policy bodies, regulators and other groups with a stake in our activities and decisions.
The consultation period for this project concluded on 30 August 2013. We received submissions from 16 stakeholders. In general, these were supportive of the AER introducing a framework to improve our stakeholder engagement, and of the principles-based approach adopted in the Framework.
Key issues raised by submitters included:
- the need for us to consider the resource constraints faced by stakeholders
- the potential for the complexity of some of our work to exclude some stakeholders
- recognition for specific stakeholder groups
- clarity about how we will measure our performance against the Framework’s principles
While the draft Framework addressed most of these issues in some way, we have made a number of revisions to the document to clarify the intention or operation of the Framework.
The submissions and our changes to the Framework are discussed in the Explanatory Statement.