Monday, October 10, 2016

Care Quality Commission Annual Public Awareness and Sentiment Tracking Survey 2016


OPM Group was commissioned by Care Quality Commission (CQC) to carry out the latest iteration of its Annual Public Awareness and Sentiment Tracking Survey. This is a nationally representative online and telephone survey of 1,000 members of the public, designed to provide CQC with a clear understanding of how its brand, reputation and mission are perceived by the public.

What did we do

The survey questions, developed in discussion with the client, had dual purpose: some of them were repeats from previous years which allowed for data to be compared while others looked to obtain new information and insights.

Fieldwork was carried out in April 2016 and we conducted a mixture of telephone and online surveys. Participants’ data was purchased from an accredited consumer data supplier to parameters that enabled us to survey a representative sample of adults (18+) living in England.

For the telephone surveys, researchers were provided with a survey script, and data was collected using an online system, therefore providing time and cost efficiencies.

Our approach allowed us to complete the field work one week ahead of schedule.


We provided rigorous statistical analysis, allowing CQC to understand how their reputation is perceived by different demographic groups, those with different levels of experience in the healthcare systems and in different geographical regions.

The findings were summarised in a powerpoint report that was commended on its engaging and user-friendly presentation techniques.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A review of public and personal attitudes to the confidentiality of healthcare data, General Medical Council


The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator for doctors in the UK. They publish guidance which sets out the ethical principles and professional standards that underpin good practice. In 2015 the GMC commissioned OPM to conduct a literature review to inform the updating of its guidance on the confidentiality of healthcare data.

What we did

The literature review was based on detailed searches of eight academic databases. The searches were supplemented by online searches and interviews with relevant experts to ensure that key sources of information were not missed.

From an initial sift by title and abstract, 184 articles were identified as being of possible relevance. Following full text review, 65 articles were identified for inclusion, and reviewed in detail. Relevant data from each item was extracted and recorded in the database against the research question(s) to which it related. The reviewed material was subjected to broad content analysis, with key themes and associations drawn out.


The key findings of the review included the following:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Warm Home Discount – Energy Advice: Consumer Experiences


The Energy Act 2010 provided the Secretary of State with powers to introduce support schemes for the purpose of reducing fuel poverty. These powers have been exercised through the Warm Home Discount Regulations 2011 to establish the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme. The WHD scheme is a 4-year initiative running from April 2011 to March 2015. The scheme requires suppliers to provide direct and indirect support to customers in or at risk of fuel poverty. This support may be direct, through rebates to eligible customers, or indirect, through industry initiatives that provide assistance to customers in or at risk of fuel poverty.

Ofgem’s role is to administer the WHD Scheme and ensure that energy suppliers meet their obligations as set out in the WHD Regulations. As part of its administrative role, Ofgem wanted to gather evidence about the effectiveness of energy advice provided through the WHD industry initiatives.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the benefits of advice provided to consumers as part of the industry initiatives element of the Warm Home Discount Schemes. The research was carried out by OPM on behalf of Ofgem and sought to:



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Customer Insight Research at Thurrock Council


‘Channel shift’ happens when residents choose (or are requested) to use a different method of communication to contact and do business with their Council or service providers. It is believed to contribute to a more effective and efficient customer services and bring financial advantages over costlier face to face and telephone -based customer services.

Thurrock Council wants to examine the business case for pursuing a programme of channel shift.  The Council are also keen to ensure any changes to customer services are informed by the views of local residents including those who may be disempowered or excluded by channel shift. OPM’s role was to undertake customer insight research to improve understanding of Thurrock residents’ willingness and ability to contact and interact with the Council differently.

What we did

Over six weeks OPM:


Although we recognise Thurrock have many different types of customer, our research found that Thurrock residents could be broadly clustered and characterised by five personas – which we created and clearly illustrated different segments willingness and ability to interact with the council. This research helped to secure a significant amount of money (c£1.6million) to take forward the next stages of the Thurruck’s channel shift programme.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Affinity Water: Customer Deliberative Forums


Every five years water companies are required by the regulator Ofwat to take part in a Price Review process which determines the balance of investment, price and service packages water companies provide customers. Affinity Water, like all water companies in England, is required to submit a Business Plan as part of this process and ensure that customers are engaged in this process.

What we did

In July 2013 OPM hosted 4 deliberative forums for Affinity Water customers across Affinity Water’s region. The purpose of these events was to discuss the:

  1. Acceptability of the draft business plan: does the proposed plan achieve the right balance between the service people receive and the cost they pay?
  2. Outcome measures: do the proposed measures of success enable customers to judge Affinity Water’s performance?
  3. Style, content and language of the ‘Our Business Plan Consultation’ document.

Each event involved a cross section of 50 customers from the local area and were designed so that the majority of the discussion sessions were held in small groups, each supported by an OPM facilitator. Periodically, plenary sessions were held to feedback on the main points raised in the small group discussions.There were also 4 interactive voting sessions. At the start of each event every participants was provided with a remote control keypad which they could use to vote on questions throughout the day.

At several points during each event a senior staff member from Affinity Water gave a presentation. After each presentation, participants had a chance to discuss on their tables what they had heard. For the majority of the day participants were asked to discuss the following 4 customer ‘expectations’:

  1. Making sure our customers have enough water;
  2. Supplying high quality water you can trust;
  3. Minimising disruption to you and your community; and
  4.  Providing a value for money service.

For each of these expectations they were asked to discuss how they felt about Affinity Water’s proposed investment level in terms of what it would deliver against the amount it would add to their bills. They were also asked to contrast this with slower and faster pace investment levels.

For each expectation they were then asked to look at the proposed measures for assessing how well Affinity Water is performing against it. For each measure they were asked to discuss whether it was clear what the measure means, whether it would measure what it is intended to measure and whether they felt that any other measures would be helpful.

The final small group discussion today tasked participants with looking at the ‘Our Business Plan Consultation’ and commenting on: whether the language used is accessible; if any diagrams or photos used are helpful; if the report looks interesting; and whether they felt it was the right length or not.


The events were well received, with attendees giving consistently high quality feedback on the event facilitation and design. The results of the event were fed directly into the deliberations of the Affinity Water Senior Management and some of the findings, particularly on options for investment were taking into account in the final business plan.

You can read more about OPM and Affinity Water’s experience of engaging customers in the Price Review process in a joint article written for Utility Week. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anglian Water: Discover, Discuss, Decide

Anglian Water commissioned a large programme of customer and stakeholder research and engagement activity to inform the 2014 Price Review process, as well as the company’s longer-term business planning. Through this programme, the company explored the views of household customers in a wide range of different circumstances, business customers of various sizes operating in a variety of sectors, future customers, and important partners and regional stakeholders.

The programme included a number of research projects. This report comprises a summary of all research into household and business customer and stakeholder views.