Innovation and working digitally are lowest scoring areas in 2023, based on British Water survey

British Water annual UK water company performance survey asks contractors, consultants and suppliers to rate their clients’ performance in 12 areas, including professionalism, contractual approach and communication. Innovation and working digitally are lowest scoring areas in 2023.

This year’s survey ranked Scottish Water at the top with its performance on contractual approach, collaboration and communication. Last year’s joint lowest performing water company, Southern Water, has risen by one place to tenth, while Northern Ireland Water remains in last place. The highest scoring company for innovation remains Northumbrian Water. The most significant drop was Anglian Water, down from second place in 2022 to eighth in 2023. The most significant rise was Severn Trent Water, which rose from tenth place last year to fifth in 2023.

Innovation continues to be the lowest scoring area, at a time when there are widespread calls for water companies to find new ways of working to address challenges. The average score for innovation was 6.4, although it has risen slightly from last year’s average score of 6.2 out of ten. 

Northumbrian Water led the pack with an average innovation score of 7.9, while Northern Ireland Water and South West Water were below the industry average, each scoring 5.4.

“It is vital that cultures foster an ecosystem in which supply chain companies can operate and innovate are embedded within and across water companies, for the best outcomes for customers and the environment,” said Lila Thompson, CEO of British Water.

“We are continuing to see low scores for innovation, procurement, communication and asset management plan (AMP) transition, and this is a clear indication that work still needs to be done as we approach the next five-year AMP period in 2025,” added Thompson. 

The second lowest scoring areas in the survey are working digitally, the ability to implement workforce contingency plans to sustain operations, and the ability of partners and main contractors to follow policy.

The Water Industry Forum (WIF), which operates as a neutral and independent forum of British Water, tackles challenges facing the UK water sector through thought leadership and facilitated collaborative working. It is looking at the recommendations raised in British Water Supply Chain Task Force on innovation, cyclicality and procurement.

Lila Thompson, CEO of British Water