Frequently asked questions about the Public Weather Service Customer Group

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 Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 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) is an independent body which 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 Public Weather Service (PWS) outputs. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The group sets the requirements for the PWS, specifying and monitoring its outputs, including the research, forecast and observational data and international commitments required to deliver current and future services.

What are the responsibilities of the PWSCG Chair?

The Chair of the PWSCG will be a public appointment by a Government Minister. The Chair is the single point within the PWSCG accountable to the Minister. The Chair's responsibilities are as follows:

  • Chairing meetings of the PWSCG;
  • Ensuring the proper execution of the PWSCG Terms of Reference;
  • Keeping the PWSCG Terms of Reference under regular review and proposing any changes to the appropriate Government minister;
  • Formally approving the PWS Customer-Supplier Agreement, and formally notifying the Met Office on behalf of the PWSCG as to the extent to which the Met Office has delivered the Agreement;
  • Representing the interests of the PWSCG during Government Spending Reviews and in any other relevant cross-Government initiatives;
  • Negotiating the PWS price with the funding Government Department and the Met Office, if necessary, to ensure appropriate financial provision for the PWS;
  • Ensuring that PWS funds are spent with due regard to economy, value for money and the Government's drive for efficiency;
  • Raising the profile of the PWS across the Government and devolved administrations, including increasing the integration of the PWS in wider Government initiatives and increasing the impact of the PWS across the UK;
  • Reporting on the activities of the PWSCG and the delivery of the PWS to the Departmental Owners and Met Office Board;
  • Providing a focal point for all PWSCG correspondence;
  • Maintaining communication with other PWSCG members and Met Office Executive between formal meetings of the PWSCG.

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 Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) is an independent body which acts as the customer on behalf of the public and public sector users of the Public Weather Service (PWS) and provides independent advice to Government ministers to enable the formal agreement of the PWS Customer-Supplier Agreement (CSA) between Government and the Met Office.

What are the responsibilities of the PWSCG?

  • Setting the current and future requirements of the PWS and specifying its outputs, performance indicators and targets;
  • Monitoring the performance and delivery of the PWS outputs against the agreed performance indicators and targets, and considering in-period modifications to the PWS as appropriate;
  • Setting the current and future requirements for the Met Office underpinning capability and international commitments funded under the PWS to enable delivery of PWS outputs and other direct services to Government, the public sector and civil aviation;
  • Regularly reviewing the value for money of the PWS, commissioning additional research as necessary;
  • Supporting the Met Office in its delivery of the PWS through knowledge sharing and identifying opportunities for alternative additional funding for the PWS as appropriate;
  • Providing independent advice to Government ministers on the PWS as required;
  • Consulting widely with the public and the public sector users of the PWS, as appropriate, in order to effectively undertake its responsibilities above.

What are the PWSCG relationships and lines of communications?

The Chairman of the PWSCG reports to a BEIS Minister.

Who are the PWSCG Members?

The membership of the PWSCG shall be drawn from the main public sector users of PWS outputs, other funders of the PWS and interested Government departments, and shall include a public appointment by the Chairman to represent the public users of the PWS (referred to as the Independent Member of the PWSCG).