We are a fiercely independent and balanced blend of industry regulators, subject experts and independent members who have wholeheartedly risen to the job at hand.
Our job isn’t to run the company or to make decisions (that’s for the Board and the Executive Leadership Team to do); it’s to champion on behalf of customers and challenge the company to understand the impact of decisions before they’re taken. Our challenges are always from a very early starting point - we challenge the company during business planning and as it delivers its plans.
The England and Wales water industry is just coming to the end of its 2020 to 2025 planning and price-setting process, known as Periodic Review 2019 (PR19). Its regulator, Ofwat, raised the bar for this review in two very important areas: the amount and quality of customer engagement in the process, and the degree of independent challenge from companies’ CCGs. This ensures water companies pricing proposals reflect their customers’ views and priorities.
Over the past three years we have challenged the company to create a business plan that is as grounded as much as possible in excellent customer engagement, provides stretch in its targets, is affordable for customers, and helps those who are struggling to pay their bills.
We monitor the company’s performance through its updates at our quarterly main meetings, and its ‘Annual Performance Report’. We also review its environmental and social contribution through the ‘Our Contribution’ report. We combine these updates and reports with deep-dives into areas that are important to customers, such as leakage. We can then challenge the company strongly and knowledgeably. We are also used as a sounding board on innovative projects, such as environmental partnerships – therefore we are very often involved at the inception of the company’s plans.
We report on many of these things to Ofwat within our statement in the company’s Annual Performance Report.