Water sector supply chain companies are being invited to share their experiences of working with UK utilities over the past 12 months. This is against a backdrop of an expected increase in spend to improve environmental performance.
Membership organisation British Water has launched its annual UK water company performance survey for 2023, which asks contractors, consultants and suppliers to rate their clients’ performance in 12 areas, including procurement, professionalism, contractual approach, innovation and communication.
The water industry is facing a challenging backdrop of energy price increases, skills shortages, deteriorating assets, and the need to address sector-wide carbon and environmental and performance targets. The survey is a way of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of utilities from the perspective of supply chain companies.
“This survey is important as we approach the asset management plan period 8 (AMP8),” said Lila Thompson, British Water chief executive. “With the announcement from Water UK setting out English companies plans to commit an extra £10bn for environmental improvements and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water manifesto for rivers setting out plans to spend £840m in the five years to 2025 and a further £1.4bn between 2025 and 2030 to protect the environment, a step up in the level of engagement with the supply chain will be necessary to ensure the delivery of projects in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”
AMP8 starts on 1 Apr 2025 and runs for five years. When setting capital budgets for the upcoming period, economic regulator Ofwat has pledged to provide incentives for businesses to “maintain and improve asset health” and have a “greater focus on asset stewardship for the long-term”.
Jason Tucker of Anglian Water said, “Our 2023 survey identified that procurement is a specific area where our score is not where we would want it to be. We will analyse the results and work with our supply chain to review our procurement processes to offer more value for customers, enhancements to the environment, and benefits for companies within our supply ecosystem.”
British Water’s annual survey was first launched in early 2003, in response to companies asking for feedback on how they were viewed by the industry supply chain, and how they were seen to compare with others. The survey seeks views of individuals working in the industry rather than their corporate position.
Thompson added: “Three of the most important issues in AMP8 for water companies will be achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030, reducing sewage spills, and continuing to minimise the effects of climate change.
“The results of the survey highlight areas where the water sector is performing well, and where it needs to improve. I urge supply chain representatives, across all sizes of organisation, to complete the survey and help shape the future of the industry.”