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 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 aim to meet with political representatives on a wide variety of issues in a number of ways. This includes a programme of discussions with MPs, peers, Council leaders and London Assembly Members, for them to find out more about what we do, and raise concerns on behalf of the people they represent.
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.
Working with political stakeholders and the communities we serve is essential to delivering good customer service. Our region is served by over 100 local authorities and 143 MPs. We actively engage with them about our work and how it may impact their area. This year we’ve attended approximately 200 meetings with councillors, MPs, officials and community groups covering a range of issues and projects from burst water pipes to drainage catchment plans.
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 Stakeholder Review
Our 2017 event was attended by more than 100 stakeholders who had the opportunity to feedback to our senior management teams and hear first-hand how the business has performed over the past 12 months. Steve Robertson Chief Executive welcomed representatives from regulators, national and local government, environment and community groups and investors.
Guests heard Lawrence Gosden Managing Director of Wholesale Wastewater, Sarah McMath Managing Director of Wholesale Water and Kelly Mcfarlane Managing Director of Customer Services and Retail, update stakeholders on their respective business units.
Anne Heal, chairwoman of the Thames Water Customer Challenge Group, spoke of the work her team are doing to hold the business to account and praised Thames’ research into its customers and the number of conversations happening at all levels.
Guests were then invited to attend more detailed breakout sessions on water resources, water networks, wastewater network resilience and wastewater quality. Following these sessions, Chief Executive Steve Robertson set out his priorities for the business, before the event concluding with Steve, other members of his Executive team and Kenton Bradbury, Chairman of Kemble Water Holding Ltd., fielding questions from the audience.
“I’m really pleased with how well the event went. It complements the excellent work done across the business throughout the year to keep stakeholders up to date on the role we’re playing in communities and in protecting the environment.”