Water Industry News

Ofwat Calls On Water Firms To Deliver Greater Public Value

Industry regulator Ofwat has called on water companies to deliver greater public value and additional social and environmental benefits, publishing a set of proposed principles to underpin how this can be achieved.


These principles aim to explore the scope of public value, with an emphasis on environmental and social impact, as well as delivering lasting, measurable benefits, transparency of information and performance insight, collaboration to optimise solutions and maximise benefits, and ensuring outcomes don’t come at greater customer cost without clear support in place.


They will also ensure that other organisations aren’t displaced who are better placed to act and deliver public value, as well as taking account of both capability and circumstances when delivering additional public value.


Jenny Block, senior director with Ofwat, explained that the regulator believes the new framework will ensure that companies are able to provide greater public value across all their operations, long into the future.


“There are many great examples of public value already being delivered across the sector – and we are seeing further thinking on this through companies’ green recovery proposals, the innovation programme and early thinking around the next price review,” she went on to say.


In addition, a new Ofwat report has just been published outlining various actions that water companies could potentially take in order to help customers who may have been struggling throughout the course of the pandemic.


In all, eight steps have been identified that could achieve change and help suppliers build more meaningful and trusted customer relationships, based on a greater understanding of their particular needs.


These steps include increased visibility of support, being more proactive, communicating in a more empathetic and understandable way, simplifying access to support, tailoring interactions with customers, working with other agencies to provide support, make better use of data and share what works so that all customers are able to benefit.


Interim chief executive officer David Black explained that the organisation’s Listen, Care, Share survey allowed it to gain a deeper understanding of what customers have been going through over the last 18 months.


He went on to say that Ofwat would now like to see companies providing more advice, compassionate treatment and effective support for customers moving forward – and now represents an opportunity to learn lessons and implement measures to increase the standard of support for those struggling to pay bills, thus easing the financial burden.


The Listen, Care, Share conversation reviewed customer experiences during the pandemic and the types of support on offer, covering customer research and events, and bringing water companies together with charities, the CCW and other partners.


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