Today the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS), the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and Scottish Water signed an agreement to establish the next Customer Forum for Water (the Forum). It will be responsible for ensuring the interests of customers and communities are embedded in the forthcoming Strategic Review of Charges 2021-27 (SRC) which sets prices and levels of service for Scottish Water.
The Forum will be an independent entity, but will work closely with WICS, the CFU and Scottish Water to ensure that customers’ views are at the heart of Scottish Water’s business plan for the next regulatory period 2021-27.
The positions adopted by the Forum will be informed by research and evidence to enable it to be a powerful, authoritative conduit of customers’ views. Within the requirements of Minister’s objectives and acceptable ranges set by WICS, the Forum will be responsible for negotiating key elements of the business plan; ensuring it reflects what customers see as important.
The final decision on Scottish Water’s business plan for 2021-27 will be taken by WICS.
Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Water Industry Commission said:
“We see customer and community engagement as an essential element of the economic regulatory process. Engagement can only truly be effective if customers are empowered to take meaningful decisions. The Customer Forum seeks to do just that. It will be even more integral to the price setting process than it was in our last price review. There will be a significantly increased focus on the views of customers and communities.”
Douglas Millican, Chief Executive of Scottish Water said:
“The interests of our customers and communities are at the heart of what we do and the renewed Customer Forum will help us ensure that this remains the case in the years ahead.”
Anne Lavery, Acting Chief Executive of CAS said:
“Water is an essential service for consumers and the Forum will put customers’ views at the heart of decisions on infrastructure investment and customer charges. The CFU welcome the opportunity to be party to establishing this innovative and constructive approach.”
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- The Strategic Review of Charges 2021-2027 (SRC) process is designed to ensure that customers get value for money from their water and waste water services both in terms of the price that customers pay, and the service which they receive in return. This is an important process for all water customers in Scotland because it sets a limit on the amount that customers can be charged and sets out the improvements that Scottish Water is required to deliver.
- The Forum will have ten members and will again be chaired by Peter Peacock. A recruitment process is currently underway for the remaining members. The Forum is first expected to meet in early June 2017.