We are committed to involving stakeholders in our investment decisions, so that our direction as a business reflects the wider aspirations of the region.
Last year, for example, stakeholders played a significant role in the development of our 2015-2020 business plan.
Around 150 stakeholders attended workshops on this topic, including MPs, businesses, environmental groups, community groups and local authority representatives.
We also took the show on the road, engaging with customers through a series of road shows in supermarkets and shopping centres across the region. The events were an opportunity to ask customers about their priorities for their water service.
We gained some rich feedback from all these activities, which have been incorporated into our latest business plan. Key themes to emerge included the need to ensure a fair balance between customer bills and stakeholder returns; the importance of partnership working; balancing the water bills for today’s customers with those of tomorrow, and the value of our role as a custodian of the environment.
A dedicated Customer Challenge Group was also on hand throughout the creation of our new business plan, to hold us to account and make sure our plans really did reflect the region’s priorities. This group comprises of leading individuals from the North West representing a broad spectrum of household and non-household customers, public health and environmental interests in addition to the sector’s traditional regulators.
One of our most recent, signifcant consultation exercises centres around a major project in West Cumbria to provide a more sustainable supply of water to the region. This project is generating considerable local interest.
To ensure that all stakeholders, including those groups who do not routinely engage with us, have the opportunity to share their input, we have developed an open engagement process which ranges from consultation drop-in sessions and roadshows to opportunities to provide feedback through our website.
If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews