1.1. The aim of the Met Office is to provide for the UK an effective, modern and efficient national meteorological service. With respect to pricing, its policy is to be fair and consistent such that it meets all legal and regulatory requirements whilst achieving the objective of its Framework Document to 'maximise the return to the taxpayer' from profitable commercial outlets for services. This policy aims to achieve a fair balance between value for money for customers and a fair return to the Met Office.
1.2. This pricing policy provides explanation of our pricing policies along with high-level information on the applicable regulations, legislation and government guidelines which the Met Office takes into account when setting prices for its products. This ensures that the Met Office maintains a 'level playing field' between Met Office business activity and the private sector, both of which depend on data collected and processed by the Met Office.
22.214.171.124. The Met Office complies with the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (the Regulations). The Regulations aim to increase the economic benefit of 'public task' information through increasing its availability for exploitation outside the public sector.
126.96.36.199. It is the Met Office's public task to produce the outputs which are agreed with and paid for by the Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) from time to time.
188.8.131.52. The Met Office's Public Sector Information is made up of the agreed Public Weather Service outputs (as defined in the PWSCG/Met Office Customer Supplier Agreement and including baseline data).
184.108.40.206. Other outputs, data, know-how and materials do not constitute the Met Office's Public Sector Information.
220.127.116.11. The Met Office makes available a range of data and various products, licensed for re-use in accordance with the Regulations. These can be found on the Met Office website at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/, the ECOMET website at www.ecomet.eu and by contacting the Met Office Weather Desk or Data Wholesaling Manager by email email@example.com or by telephone on 01392 885680. Re-use means "the use by any person of information held by the Met Office for a purpose other than the initial purpose within the Met Office's public task for which the information was produced". In accordance with the Regulations, the pricing of the Met Office's Public Sector Information is clear and transparent.
18.104.22.168. If information can be made available in digital format via the internet, the costs of allowing re-use will often not involve any additional cost to the Met Office. The Met Office aims to price its Public Sector Information in a fair, consistent and non-discriminatory manner.
22.214.171.124. The Met Office supplies and charges its own internal commercial arm for re-use of its Public Sector Information on the same terms and conditions as apply to external customers to maintain a 'level playing field' between Met Office business activity and the private sector and prevent cross-subsidisation of the Met Office's non-public task activities.
3.1. The Met Office applies the principles of the Information Fair Trader Scheme to its Public Sector Information. These principles are as follows:
3.2. The Met Office's commitment to the Information Fair Trader Scheme can be found in our Information fair trader statement. The Met Office was last audited for compliance with the Information Fair Trader Scheme by The National Archive in September 2007. See the findings of this audit (PDF, 203 kB).
4.1. The Met Office undertakes both Commercial Business and Government Business.
4.2. The Met Office's Commercial Business comprises four revenue generating programmes and customers include both private and public sector organisations. The four revenue generating programmes are Consulting, Transport, Media, and Training. 4.3. The Met Office's Commercial Business engages primarily in Competed Business. This means any business that is, or has been, open to competition in any way irrespective of the sources of payment or funding for that business. It is Met Office policy (consistent with HM Treasury Guidance) to price Competed Business on a value basis (i.e. a price which is lawful, profitable and which the customer is willing to pay). 4.4. The Met Office's Government Business is comprised of:
4.5 The Met Office's Government Business engages primarily in Competable and Non-Competed Business:
5.1. The Met Office categorises its data and services as set out in the table below:
|3||Business data feed|
|3||Internal||1||Made available to other NMSs|
|2||No other NMS receives it|
|4||Test/ Research||-||N/A||Includes |
5.3. The Business data feeds or Customer-specific data that forms part of Met Office Competed or Competable business are priced on an individual basis, dependent upon the nature of the service and the requirements of the customer. Services are priced at a fair market value, ranging from standard services positioned for entry level/basic requirements to high quality, premium price services exhibiting demonstrable financial or non financial benefit. Prices are set to reflect customer benefits relative to current market conditions, the competitors' services and how the market is expected to develop. These guidelines apply equally to public sector and private sector customers, in cases where the contract is awarded through competitive tender.
5.4. The Met Office applies a Target Average Price (TAP) methodology to price Competed business. TAP allows a Marketing Manager to set a price range for a product, giving the Account Manager scope to negotiate with the customer. The range is made up of a minimum and maximum price with the expectation that over a period of a year, the average price of all the products sold comes to the TAP. The principal behind the methodology is to:
5.5. Fair play statement: The Met Office will continue to price its services fairly to customers, using a fair market value such that the Met Office can maximise the offset to tax payers through its commercial activities. Any exceptions will be published on the Met Office's website.
6.1. The prices of Met Office products and services may also be affected by the terms of the licence, in particular the Permitted Uses for the products and services (or Deliverables) granted by the Met Office to the customer. These Permitted Uses include:
7.1. Funding for research and development (R&D) activities are treated for accounting purposes as revenue for the relevant Met Office programme that receives it. R&D funding may come from a variety of sources including UK government departments (e.g. the Defra/DECC, who fund our Integrated Climate Programme), NERC (primarily for collaborative research projects), the European Union (e.g. Framework 7 projects), overseas governments (e.g. Queensland Government), and commercial customers (e.g. energy projects).
7.2. Research funding arrangements are priced based upon full cost recovery plus a real charge for the cost of capital and may include an agreed efficiency target. For commercial research arrangements, a mark up may be included to reflect the nature of the service and the requirements of the customer. Some EU funding arrangements limit or prevent the Met Office from making a charge for the cost of capital and, in these situations the Met Office may look to provide partial funding itself from existing funding streams, subject to a strong alignment with the Met Office's existing research activities and outputs.
8.1. It is illegal for the Met Office to carry out anti-competitive behaviours and practices which constitute an abuse of its position when it operates in markets where it has strong market power (referred to as "dominance") and the effectof such abuse is to restrict competition.
8.2. Competition laws do not presume that the mere possession of dominance is against the public interest, but rather that certain behaviours or practices derived from dominance may be against the public interest. In particular, the Met Office ensures that it is not involved in the following pricing behaviours or practices which are likely to be illegal:
8.3. Irrespective of whether the Met Office is dominant in a particular market, there are certain behaviours or practices that are blacklisted. These include:
9.1. The Met Office operates within all relevant and applicable legislative and regulatory requirements relating to pricing (be they mandatory or self-regulating codes of practice). These include, but are not restricted to HM Treasury Guidelines, International Financial Reporting Standards and Revenue Recognition rules.
10.1. Non-competed contracts and related pricing are reviewed and updated on timescales agreed between Met Office and the relevant Government customer.
10.2. Competable pricing structures are reviewed and updated at the time of contract negotiation or as agreed between Government Services and the customer.
10.3. Competed prices are reviewed at least annually, at which time they may be updated and reissued.
11.1. Any complaints regarding Met Office pricing should in the first instance be addressed to the Customer Feedback Manager at the Customer Centre. The Met Office takes its commitment to Fair Trading extremely seriously and will aim to respond in the first instance to any complaint over pricing within seven working days.
11.2. If you are not satisfied with the response provided, please inform the Head of Business Management, via the Customer Centre.
11.3. If you are still unhappy following an internal review you can make a complaint under the PSI Regulations.
Last updated: 27 August 2014