This document invites views on our review of Ofwat’s published enforcement guidance, ‘Ofwat’s approach to enforcement’.
Our enforcement guidance should be read alongside our ‘Statement of policy with respect to financial penalties’ and our casework strategy which is set out on our website here. At this stage, we are not proposing making changes to our statement of policy, but we will keep this and our approach to enforcement under review.
In our ‘Forward programme 2015-16’, we committed to providing information on how customers can benefit from using ‘settlement’ in resolving individual cases, a risk-based approach to regulation and how we intend to balance these benefits with our statutory duties to use our formal enforcement powers. As part of this we have reviewed and refreshed our existing approach to enforcement (published in July 2009) to reflect changes in the water sector in England and Wales generally, and in particular our approach to regulation.
In November 2015, the UK Government published ‘A better deal: boosting competition to bring down bills for families and firms’, which focuses on its competition plan for the UK. It also describes how enforcement action should be a last resort and says that regulators should start by helping businesses do the right thing. Our approach to enforcement takes a step towards delivering the UK Government’s broader objective of reducing regulation in order to encourage competition.