British Water seeks views on water company performance 

Lila Thompson is the CEO of British Water

Water sector supply chain companies are being invited to share their experiences of working with UK utilities over the past 12 months.

British Water has launched the annual UK Water Company Performance Survey, which asks contractors, consultants and suppliers to rate their clients’ performance in 11 areas, including innovation, professionalism, contractual approach and communication.

The sector is facing increasing challenges — from climate change and population growth to increasing regulatory scrutiny and rising customer expectations. Radical change is needed if water companies are to deliver for customers and the environment and the survey is a way of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the utilities.

“Our 2021 survey found that innovation and procurement were the lowest scoring area for the second year in a row — at a time when regulator Ofwat is encouraging water companies to find new ways of working to address key issues,” said Dr Mar Batista, head of programmes at British Water.  

“The low innovation scores over the last few years demonstrate there is an ongoing frustration, felt across the supply chain, regarding the uptake of innovation by water companies and their delivery partners.

“The water sector is moving in the right direction on innovation, with the introduction of Ofwat’s Innovation Competitions, the Spring centre of innovation excellence, along with water company innovation days, dedicated portals and other initiatives. We will be analysing the results with interest, and hope to see greater engagement with the supply chain on innovative solutions reflected in the survey findings,” she added.

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.

Following extensive feedback from the supply chain and water companies, the trade association has redesigned the 2022 survey to optimise its value for both industry and the supply chain, with streamlined questions and the addition of four water-only companies for the first time.

Lila Thompson, CEO of British Water, said: “Since launching the survey in 2003, it has become a highly sought-after source of information for water companies, who value and, where possible, act on the feedback received. The results also enable each water company to see how they compare with others.  

“I’d encourage as many supply chain representatives as possible, across all sizes of organisation, to complete the survey and help shape the future of the industry.”

The survey will be open until 30 Sep 2022.