A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ferngas's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ferngas is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director
Our FernGas shopfront
FernGas provide a range of services across the domestic
heating systems sector. Based in East Dorset, they are
committed to serving their area and have developed a
strong local reputation, evidenced by the number of referrals
they receive from long-term customers. A large part of their
success stems from their partnership with Worcester Bosch,
a relationship that emerged from their Business Initiative
Scheme of 1992. Matthew Hobby started working at FernGas
in 1992 and is the third generation of his family to work in the
business. He explains their commitment to developing personal
relationships with their customers.
We are service partners of Worcester Bosch, having been accredited installers
since 1992. We have become the go-to installer and service company for our
area, providing the highest standards of service for our customers. Although this
partnership is a central part of the business, we also operate across the entirety of
the domestic heating systems sector. We are a family business and have developed
and adapted our service over our history. In the early years, before mains gas, our
main focus was coal-fired heating and hot water systems. Based in East Dorset,
we have grown to become a specialist in modern gas appliances, servicing and
repairing all makes of domestic boilers and providing installations for Worcester
Bosch products. We are proud of our heritage and have been serving the local area
for over 50 years.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 1967
»Based in Ferndown
»Services: Boiler installation,
service and maintenance
»No. of employees: 7
Highlighting best practice
I am the third generation of my family
to run the business and oversee
both our friendly and efficient
administration staff and our highly
skilled Gas Safe registered engineers.
Our customers are the most important
factor in our success, and our goal is
to exceed their expectations on every
We have found that word of mouth
and recommendations are the
most effective forms of advertising,
alongside our informative website
and social media presence. Our
high level of service attracts these
recommendations; consequently,
clients have high expectations when
they contact us. We give each
customer whatever level of service
they require, often going beyond our
expected duty.
Our partnership with
Worcester Bosch
One of the biggest contributors to
our success has been our partnership
with Worcester Bosch. This agreement
encourages us to provide the highest
level of product to go with our
excellent service. In 1992, Worcester
created the Business Initiative Scheme,
aiming to establish links with local
installation services. Because we have
been in partnership for so long, we
have developed a strong relationship.
This means we can immediately
contact them for any technical
information required, and our service is
supported by their expertise. Many of
our local customers want the best they
can get, especially as the best products
cost only marginally more than their
mediocre equivalents. These high
standards match our ethos: we would
rather fit something reliable that lasts a
long time than repeatedly install lower-
quality models.
Many people in our trade simply install
boilers and leave. We want customers
for life, and our commitment to
ongoing support has meant that we
have customers who have stayed with
us for over three generations. We
strive to offer whatever they need,
and, as we are based in the local area,
we are normally able to attend to our
customers’ needs on the day that they
call us. A lot of this ongoing support
centres around maintenance, and our
One of our fleet of
Our customers
are the most
factor in our
success and
our goal is to
exceed their
on every
partnership with Worcester means we
can carry out in-guarantee repairs on
their behalf. Not only does this level
of service fill us with pride but it also
helps our local reputation and the
number of referrals we receive. It is
for this reason that we have adopted
a steady growth pattern and have
avoided rapid expansion, as we believe
this could compromise the level of
service that we offer.
Mixing the traditional with
the cutting edge
We have invested in the latest
technology and software to ensure we
are as flexible and swift as possible.
We have placed trackers on all of
our vehicles to check the locations of
our engineers at any time, and our
internal database allows us to check a
range of customer information, such
as how many times they have been
visited, what work was carried out and
which engineer attended. As well as
increasing our administrative efficiency,
this also allows our customers to
develop personal relationships with
our engineers, and many request a
specific individual. This is helped by the
length of time many of our employees
work with us. One of our engineers
has worked with us for 19 years, and
another for seven. As many of our
customers are at retirement age, they
appreciate seeing the same faces.
Our place in the community is central
to our identity; some remember my
grandfather attending their properties
many decades earlier. This peace of
mind is crucial in a trade in which
there are many rogue operators, and
our clients receive a lot of comfort
Unlike many in our sector, we have
a high-street presence. We have a
shop entrance, and customers can
walk in without prior appointments.
These face-to-face dealings are
unusual but contribute to our focus on
The issue of unregistered
One of the biggest challenges we face
is recruiting staff who fit into our ethos.
There are many who are technically
skilled but lack the social skills we
require. All of our staff are local and
live within the radius we serve. As we
do not use subcontractors, everyone
is on our payroll, and this ensures that
they reflect our values. Our longevity
and outlook ensure that we know we
are building for our futures, trying to
develop lifelong customers. Another
big issue in our trade is the difficulty
of regulating those who have not
registered with the Gas Safe Register.
The amount of work conducted by
unqualified and uninsured operators is
very worrying. We work hard to keep
up with Gas Safe Register regulations
and hold scheduled training
regularly so that we can ensure our
Looking ahead, we are aiming to
continue to grow the business in
the locality. People understand the
importance of their boilers and of gas
safety, and we are aiming to build on
our reputation to ensure more people
find out about us and can access our
high level of service.
These face-to-
face dealings
are unusual
but contribute
to our focus
on personal
We are normally able to
attend to customers on
the same day


This article was sponsored by Ferngas. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster