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 2016 event was attended by nearly 100 representatives from regulators, national and local government, environment and community groups and investors.
Guests heard Richard Aylard, External Affairs and Sustainability Director, look back at 2015/16, and an independent appraisal from Anne Heal, chair of the Thames Water Customer Challenge Group.
After the breakout sessions which covered a range of issues, Chief Executive Steve Robertson set out his priorities for the business, before Strategy and Regulation Director Nick Fincham asked the audience to vote on future investment priorities.
The event concluded with Steve and other members of his Executive team fielding questions from the audience.
“I was really encouraged by the level of support for what we’re doing, but the most valuable aspect of the day was hearing suggestions of how we can improve. One of my big messages to our guests was that we want to keep that dialogue going.’’