In our strategy, ‘Time to Act, together’, we said we want to see water companies transform their ability to serve customers and respond to the full diversity of customer needs, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.
Water services are inherently local. We want to see companies build on the research they do for their business plans to deepen their understanding of and relationships with their local communities and to improve their ability to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
We expect companies to work with local partners to address strategic challenges. Strong customer and community participation is key to behaviour change needed to use water wisely and reduce the risks of pollution from sewer blockages.
There are a range of actions we take to improve outcomes for customers and communities.
- Listen and understand people’s needs and priorities.
- Work jointly with consumer bodies and regulators in other sectors to provide a more holistic support framework for customers in vulnerable circumstances.
- Encourage companies to deliver better service experiences to customers. For example, our Paying fair guidelines set out our expectations of the payment, help and debt services companies deliver to customers.
- Improve the customer complaints handling process so that customers are helped more effectively and quickly.
- Develop new high-level licence obligations to provide binding requirements on how companies treat their customers and the most vulnerable in society.
- Improve the ability of customers and stakeholders to shape and challenge the companies’ future business plans.
We provide information to household and non-household consumers and the water and sewerage services we regulate. This includes an overview of consumers’ statutory rights. Information about specific services is available from water companies.
We encourage companies to deliver better services to customers using other tools – including our customer measure of experience.
‘UKRN Understanding affordability pressures in essential services provides an overview of approaches to defining and measuring affordability across the regulated sectors providing the essential services of energy, water and communications