It is important that we understand and respond to the views and expectations of our stakeholders, including our customers.
We listen to their views on our proposals and, where possible, change what we do to accommodate their feedback.
This is critical if we are to successfully implement what is currently our biggest-ever investment programme, ranging from flood relief projects to replacing ageing water mains.
Our Stakeholder Engagement team is responsible for relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including liaising with local, regional and national government, and undertakes our public consultation exercises and customer research.
Who are our stakeholders?
Stakeholders are any individual or group that has an interest in our company. They include customers, employees, regulators, shareholders, suppliers and the wider community.
Within Thames Water, Stakeholder Engagement has responsibility for our relationship with national, regional and local government, MPs, the Consumer Council for Water, and non-governmental organisations and pressure groups.
Policy makers and elected representatives
We do not have any political affiliation as an organisation and have a strict policy that we do not make political donations of any sort.
Policy makers and elected representatives have a significant influence on how we operate, so we aim to build and maintain close relationships with them to inform them about our activities and plans in an open and transparent way.
We listen and change our plans where we can in light of what we are told, so that we can improve the service we provide our customers.
We meet many of the 143 MPs in our region individually to discuss projects affecting their constituencies.
Regional and local government
We work closely with key stakeholders in regional and local government to ensure we deliver the commitments in our regulatory contract.
We have developed good relationships with many of the authorities in our area, focusing on those where our engineering works and major sites are based.
In 14/15 we attended over 100 meetings with councillors and officials, and formal scrutiny committees covering a range of topics including sewer flooding and drainage area plans, our approach to tackling leakage, and the roll out of smart metering. We also met with over 70 Members of Parliament to discuss a range of local issues including operational performance and our investment programme.
We have regular contact with London Assembly members and have worked hard to develop good relations with the Mayor and his advisers.
We are also in regular contact with pan-regional organisations, such as London Councils and the Association of Councils of the Thames Valley Region.
These relationships have helped us to better understand the priorities and challenges our stakeholders face, to improve the way we work together.
Public consultation and research
Listening to the views and understanding the expectations of our customers and other stakeholders is very important to us.
We want to put our customers at the heart of everything we do and make sure their priorities are taken into account when we make our decisions.
To achieve this we need to involve our customers in our plans and listen to their views.
Our programme of customer engagement incorporates a wide range of activities, including qualitative and quantitative research studies, formal public consultations and direct local engagement.
Our Annual Stakeholder Review event presents another opportunity for our stakeholders to raise issues of interest to them and concerns about any aspect of our business.
Our 2015 event attracted more than 80 representatives from key stakeholder groups.
We presented a review of the high and low points of the year, covering issues including water resources, sewer flooding; health and safety and customer service.
In order to provide opportunities for stakeholders to get involved in issues of interest to them, we ran interactive break-out sessions on water supply waste water and for business customers and stakeholders representing household customers.
An open discussion provided delegates with an opportunity to ask questions directly of the Chief Executive, while a networking reception helped to build important relationships between key Thames Water staff and other interested parties.