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Gas networks don’t just hide assets under ground

When I first got involved in the stakeholder panel of National Grid Gas Distribution, one of the most common complaints from the panel members was that they didn't realise the network did so much to benefit the wider community. It wasn't just gas flowing through pipes. And with my engagement with panels run by Wales and West Utilities and Northern Gas Networks, the same observation is frequently made. The wider stakeholder community didn't realise the range of activities that the gas networks deliver.

I know it is a "British thing", being modest about your achievements, but I am inclined to think that maybe the networks have taken this too far. I suspect many political stakeholders simply have no idea of what their local network does other than dig up roads and install yellow pipe.

So it may surprise you that National Grid were being praised in the House of Commons by, wait for it, yes the Justice Department. There it was, live on TV, a Minister at the despatch box praising the company and its partners for the low re-offending rate for its Youth Offender Programme. And the outcome is worthy of noting. It has a programme re-offending rate of under 7 per cent (after one year) compared to a national average of 55 per cent for young offenders and 50 per cent for adults.

And this matters because getting offenders back into society and not returning to crime benefits us all. When it costs an estimated £40,000 a year to keep someone in prison, then stopping re-offending has huge financial returns too. I use this as one example of the "hidden" work that goes on each day in our gas networks and I know there are many many more. Now what is that phrase about light, bushel and hiding? 

Best wishes,

Mike Foster CE

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