The State of the Sector (SOTS) Survey is one of the most important pieces of work that CEE does each year. It helps us to support the sector, and it particularly helps us to demonstrate to policy makers the scale of activity, and the depth and range of benefits and opportunities that community energy offers. The first report was incredibly well received and was even mentioned in debates in parliament. As such, it is key to our lobbying and advocacy role and working with government to develop more supportive policy and regulation. You can access the report on the survey findings here. We will be running it again in early 2018, and will be in touch again with you about this in January.
The purpose of this email is to clarify some recent emails that you may have seen about a University of Manchester Survey and our own State of the Sector Survey (SOTS), as we know from some feedback that they have caused some confusion.
The University of Manchester Project is separate and is looking particularly to understand finance in the sector and potential future business models. We appreciate that you are all extremely busy and we do not wish to cause any extra burden. As such we have agreed some data sharing between the two surveys, to as far as possible minimise the time required to fill them in. For our part, we have shared State of the Sector data from the 2017 survey, where participants have agreed for us to share data, with specified researchers at the University of Manchester. This means that if you fill in their survey (which they will do with you over the phone at a time convenient to you), you will not have to give information again that you already gave in the last SOTS. Only aggregated data that does not identify specific individuals will be made publicly available after the close of the project (January 2019).
We want to make sure that we get a great level of response for our 2018 State of the Sector Survey. So for their part, the researchers at Manchester will share any new data that you give in their survey with us, and so the links we send out will be pre-populated with information for your organisation. However, we will need some new information from you in order to make sure our report can be right up to date for 2017 and allow year-on-year comparisons.
If you find that you are struggling to complete both surveys over this time period, please prioritise the State of the Sector survey which will be coming out in January, as we need the survey to be truly representative of the sector if it is going to be effective in raising the profile of the sector. This is particularly important this year as it will be used to identify support needs for the sector post-2019, when Feed-In Tariffs and other support mechanisms will end.
As mentioned above, if you are able to complete both surveys we will share data, with your permission, to reduce the implications on your time. There will also be an opportunity to complete the Manchester survey after our survey closes in February.
Please keep a look out for our SOTS emails which will be arriving with you early January 2018. Please do continue to support this important piece of CEE work, we really do appreciate your support in helping us to raise the profile of the sector. If you have any questions or queries about either survey please do contact myself firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim at the University of Manchester email@example.com.
Thanks for your understanding, and contribution of information and time.