Independent Customer Panel

Our job is to challenge South Staffordshire Water Company and Cambridge Water Company on the quality of their customer engagement and to provide assurance to the regulator Ofwat on this. We have to make sure that customers views are taken into account and influence decisions on how the business is run. As such, we are an important part of the regulatory framework.

What does the panel do?

We are an impartial board of customers, stakeholders and experts who act on behalf of customers (not just those billed by the company but also the wider community) to keep check on how South Staffs Water operates.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring South Staffs Water is communicating well with its customers in an honest and transparent way
  • Assessing whether South Staffs Water is listening to its customers and responding appropriately to what they are being told
  • Reviewing whether South Staffs Water is meeting its commitments outlined in its business plan
  • Challenging South Staffs Water’s performance to be sustainable, affordable and cost-effective for the benefit of customers and the wider community

 

How does the panel work?

We have our own legal identity separate from South Staffs Water and we operate independently of the water company with our own Terms of Reference. Apart from the independent Chairman, members are not paid but may reclaim reasonable travelling expenses and are offered an attendance fee for meetings.  

The panel meets at least four times a year and at other critical times in the business planning cycle. We review reports from South Staffs Water, consult experts and carry out our own research to offer impartial scrutiny to the water company. We challenge the performance of South Staffs Water, encourage innovation and make recommendations where we deem appropriate.

We submit an annual report to Ofwat and this is made available to South Staffs Water and the Consumer Council for Water. This includes an assessment of how South Staffs Water engages with its customers and others and its business plan and strategy.

The panel also reports to South Staffs Water non-executive directors on a bi-annual basis and to the full board at least once a year.