We have a diverse range of stakeholders with whom we are in regular liaison, canvassing their views, responding to their feedback and providing them with opportunities to influence the investment decisions we make. Our key stakeholder groups include:
We supply water and wastewater services to more than 3 million households every day.
We conduct monthly satisfaction surveys with our customers, and through an engaging programme of activities, share ways they can save both money and water.
We have around 200,000 business customers across the region, ranging from small offices to large manufacturers.
Our Business Retail division has been operating as a self-contained unit since 2013, in recognition of the fact that business customers require a different type of expertise and support to domestic customers. More detail on this can be found here.
Our annual employee survey gives colleagues the opportunity to provide feedback about our company, their job and their working life. We also carry out a half-yearly ‘temperature check’ survey to see how we’re doing in our employees’ eyes. Further details about our staff surveys can be found here.
We run a programme of regular investor meetings and presentations throughout the year, both in the UK and overseas.
These briefings, together with regular City announcements, are part of a dedicated investor relations programme to keep the company’s equity and debt investors informed of key developments. More information about our work with shareholders and investors can be found here.
We engage with North West MPs on a regular basis, through meetings in their constituency offices and at Westminster. We hold an annual drop-in session in the Houses of Parliament to give MPs an opportunity to speak to our senior directors, and we attend annual party conferences.
Common topics of discussion include our investment schemes in local constituencies, our economic contribution to the wider North West, and key policy issues affecting the water industry.
Our busy press office deals with local, regional and national journalists on a daily basis.
We provide a reactive service – answering incoming calls – as well as proactively promoting our investment programmes, community work and achievements through the media.
In 2013/14, we embraced an unprecedented opportunity to inform and educate a mass TV audience on the work the industry does, by taking part in a fly-on-the-wall documentary for BBC2 called Watermen: A Dirty Business.
The series, which followed our employees going about their jobs, averaged 2.4m viewers per episode, double the pre-broadcast estimate.
Contractors and suppliers
We believe in maintaining a supportive relationship with our contractors and suppliers – one based on partnership and fairness.
We have events throughout the year to keep them informed and engaged – from quarterly relationship management meetings, to conferences involving many of our key suppliers. We periodically measure how our supply chain views us, either by our own surveys, or those commissioned from independent bodies. You can find more on how we work with our supply chain here.
Our work brings us into contact with local authorities on a daily basis, as we plan and deliver pipe replacement programmes, emergency repairs and environmental work.
Maintaining a good relationship with these partners is essential to the smooth delivery of our work. We strive to be proactive and transparent, consulting with local authorities before we begin engineering schemes, to ensure our work is planned in a way that reflects local sensitivities.
Community, voluntary and residents’ groups
We work in the heart of local communities, and aim to go the extra mile for these neighbourhoods, especially when our work is disruptive. Last year, we supported more than 100 local initiatives in a variety of ways, from cash contributions to volunteering, including a community defibrillation scheme in Cumbria to volunteers renovating forgotten benches in Windermere, all delivered in close consultations with community, voluntary and residents’ groups. More about this work can be found here.
From The Canal and Rivers Trust to the RSPB, we work closely with a range of environmental and wildlife groups on joint projects to protect natural habitats, improve our catchment land and keep our regional landscapes beautiful.
We work with a number of regulatory bodies whose job it is to ensure we balance economic, environmental and social concerns. These include the economic regulator for the water industry, Ofwat; the Environment Agency who we work closely with on the quality of river and bathing waters and issues of flooding; the Drinking Water Inspectorate whose prime concern is the quality of drinking water; Natural England who engage with us on the health of habitat and species, especially on our water catchment land; and the Consumer Council for Water, the body representing the interests of customers. We meet regularly with all our regulators so we can understand their priorities and concerns and how our plans address these.
If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews