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British Gas wanted to assess a range of skills for some 6000 of its staff across the country.  These assessments were to be both over the telephone and face to face and would be carried out in eight centres across Britain.

The purpose of this assessment was to gauge and test the communication skills of the workforce in order to establish potential, within the context of organisationally restructuring of the company.



  1. To gauge and test the communication skills of the workforce

  2. To identify potential within the workforce

  3. To produce tangible results to contribute to an organisation-wide restructure


Interact worked with British Gas examiners on the design of some 20 assessment interventions and cast a team of nearly 60 actors. The assessors and the actors were then brought together in Birmingham for a week for training and rehearsal to ensure that all the actors and all the assessors were working as consistently as possible in all locations.

A series of ten scenarios over the telephone and face to face.  Each one examined a different specific set of competencies covering a variety of job descriptions.   Assessors received detailed and immediate response from the actors.  A detailed report was provided by Interact on the overall strengths and weaknesses in the communication skills of the workforce.

The 6000 assessments were carried out over a 20-week period in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Southampton.

Post programme consultancy was provided on developing further the communication skills of those involves in the assessment centres.


Over twenty-week period all 6000 assessments were successfully completed.  Participants commented that the use of external professional actors ensured fair assessments, carried out on a ‘level playing-field’.

Management felt that the competency-based assessment design and delivery had resulted in an accurate evaluation of each candidates’ abilities.

I was extremely impressed by the professionalism of the actors and the efficiency of the management’s co-ordination skills. Their discretion and understanding of the business issues involved was an added bonus.
— Jill Harrison, Employee Relations Operations Manager British Gas