Public Weather Service

The Public Weather Service (PWS) exists to provide a trustworthy and reliable public forecast for UK citizens at home and abroad, including the provision of a National Severe Weather Warning Service.

The aims of the PWS are to:

  • Produce weather forecasts which help the UK public make informed decisions about day-to-day activities.
  • Warn people of extreme weather to mitigate its impacts - contributing to the protection of life, property and infrastructure.
  • Improve weather and climate predictions through research.
  • Fulfil international commitments on behalf of the UK Government.
  • Provide public access to historic weather information via our National Meteorological Archive and Climate summaries.

International commitments

Alongside the provision of forecasts and warnings the PWS also fulfils international commitments, acting on behalf of the UK Government on designated international bodies in support of UK Government aims, maximising the value for money benefits of membership to the nation, and ensuring the necessary data and infrastructure provision required by the PWS.

Public Weather Service Customer Group

To ensure that the products and services that make up the Public Weather Service are delivered in a way that meets the needs of all users, an independently chaired Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) oversees the PWS on behalf of the public, reporting to and advising government ministers.

Public Weather Service outputs

The Public Weather Service provides the UK public, responder organisations and other users of the outputs of the Met Office National Capability with information that enables them to take appropriate decisions and actions to stay safe and thrive. It provides advice and support learning to enable the effective use of weather, climate, and climate change information.

On behalf of UK citizens at home and abroad, the PWSCG requires the Met Office to provide accurate warnings of severe weather and seamless, timely and accurate weather forecasts for all time periods from nowcasting up to 6 months. Forecasts will cover the whole of the UK, including mountains, islands, and coastal areas.

The outputs from the Public Weather Service are captured within the Public Weather Service Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA) (PDF 5MB), which describes the full range of expectations of capability and services that the PWSCG requires from the Met Office. The CSA outlines what products and services are required and is focused on outcomes and outputs with a series of associated performance measures by which the Met Office will be assessed. Deliverables are also defined, detailing PWSCG requirements for pieces of work designed to improve PWS services.

The products and services described within this CSA cover a 5-year period, however the agreement is designed to be flexible in the face of evolving circumstances, for example to digital developments, forecasting capability and financial settlements.

The Customer Supplier Agreement is written and owned by the PWSCG with support from the Met Office.


The PWS is mainly funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) on behalf of Government. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority also pays towards the service to underpin its services for UK and global aviation. Some research and development projects receive additional funding from other sources. The current total PWS funding is approximately £133.4 million per year.

Value of the Public Weather Service to the UK

In March 2015 a report into the Public Weather Services value to the UK economy was produced by PA Consulting Group on behalf of the PWSCG.  The review concluded, with high confidence, that the benefits of the Public Weather Service (PWS) were:

  • very likely to exceed £1bn per annum and
  • likely to be close to £1.5bn per annum.