Frequently asked questions about the Public Weather Service Customer Group

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What is the relationship between the Public Weather Service Customer Group and Met Office?

The Met Office is a government Trading Fund Agency owned by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS). It provides services to the public and the commercial sector. Its core role is its services to the public to deliver the UK's Public Weather Service (PWS). The Public Weather Service is the means by which the Met Office fulfils its Public Task as the UK's National Meteorological Service.

The Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) acts as the customer on behalf of the public for free at the point of use weather services and on behalf of Public Sector users of PWS outputs. It is responsible for setting the requirement and specifying the outputs, supporting research and development to meet future requirements, meeting international commitments on behalf of UK Government, providing underpinning data for stakeholders and authorising payment for the PWS from BIS.

What are the responsibilities of the PWSCG Chair?

The Chairman has responsibilities additional to those of the group. He/she is the single point within the PWSCG accountable to a BIS Minister and is responsible for:

  • Chairing the PWSCG
  • Ensuring the proper execution of the PWSCG Terms of Reference (ToRs)
  • Reviewing and, if appropriate, seeking amendment to the PWSCG ToRs
  • Establishing and maintaining the most appropriate funding mechanism to fulfil the PWSCG ToRs
  • Formal approval of the PWS Customer-Supplier Agreement (CSA)
  • Negotiating funding from BIS and the DSB through the Spending Review process
  • Negotiating and agreeing the PWS price annually with the Met Office
  • Confirming to the custodian of the PWS funds that invoices from the Met Office are consistent with the agreed output price
  • Ensuring that PWS funds are spent with due regard to economy, value for money and the Government's drive for efficiency
  • Establishing, maintaining and documenting the most appropriate PWSCG process to fulfil its ToRs
  • Building and maintaining links with appropriate user representatives to inform the development of future output definitions
  • Raising the profile of the PWS within government
  • Increasing the integration of the PWS within broader government initiatives
  • Increasing the impact of the PWS on beneficial outcomes for the UK
  • Identifying and supporting, as appropriate, bids to alternative funding sources
  • Providing reports to the Met Office Board and Departmental Owner
  • Providing a focal point for all PWSCG correspondence.

Why does the Public Weather Service have International Commitments?

The Public Weather Service fulfils international commitments on behalf of UK Government on 3 designated international bodies:

  2. European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF)
  3. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

These organisations help to provide research, forecast and observational data which are essential inputs for the Public Weather Service.

What is the purpose of the PWSCG?

The PWSCG provides independent advice and recommendations to a BIS Minister to enable formal agreement of the PWS Customer Supplier Agreement.

What are the responsibilities of the PWSCG?

  • Providing support for Met Office bids for additional funding from alternative sources, as appropriate, to enable further development of the service
  • Undertaking consultation to collect requirements for PWS products and services
  • Considering and endorsing proposals for in-period changes within the PWS as required
  • Maintaining appropriate levels of communication with the Met Office Executive and Chief Executive
  • Maintaining appropriate levels of communication with the Director of Information Economy, Shareholder Executive, BIS (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills).

What are the PWSCG relationships and lines of communications?

The Chairman of the PWSCG reports to a BIS Minister through the Director of Information Economy or his representative. PWSCG is responsible for proposing changes to Terms of Reference to the Minister through the Director of Information Economy or his representative.

Who are the PWSCG Members?

The Chairman is a public appointment made by the Director of Information Economy on behalf of a BIS Minister. Other Members are drawn from the main Public Sector users of PWS outputs, together with a member to represent the general public appointed to represent public users of the PWS. Members are drawn from sectors including Blue Light Services, Local Government and the Devolved Administrations.

What is in the PWSCG Consultation Plan?

The PWSCG Consultation plan focuses on a programme of research to identify and understand the public and responder community requirements of the PWS products and services, including any gaps, and to monitor the perception and satisfaction with the service. The plan covers from April 2013 to March 2014 in detail and includes some initial ideas for activities in FY1415. It is reviewed quarterly and updated formally each year. The PWSCG Consultation Plan is available to view on the PWSCG pages of the Met Office website.

Where can we find details of previous consultations?

Details and reports from previous consultation activities can be found on the PWSCG pages of the Met office website.

Last updated: 11 November 2013

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