How Severn Trent earned self-assured status: a case study

The view from Severn Trent Water

Severn Trent’s vision is to be the country’s most trusted water company by 2020 which means becoming trusted by customers and external stakeholders alike. To achieve this, it was important for us to receive Ofwat’s highest self-assurance category as it showed our commitment to providing meaningful information to customers that they could trust, as well as highlighting the work we’d undertaken to reach that level.

To make sure we had the best possible chance of reaching Ofwat’s highest category, we undertook a four-month long period of consultation where we engaged with customers and stakeholders to better understand how they used the information we produced and the extent to which they trusted it. In addition, we have an annual internal assessment which is designed to identify any potential risks that would stop us complying with our statutory and regulatory obligations. We are now in the second year of that process.

That initial work, both externally and internally, allowed us to develop an assurance and reporting framework based around four key principles:

  • Robust assurance – targeted at areas of greatest risk;
  • Ownership and accountability – where we have clear lines of ownership for both delivery and accuracy of data;
  • Effective governance – provided by our Board, Audit and Disclosure committees, with additional challenge provided by the Water Forum; and
  • Transparency and public accountability – where we publicly report on our performance and hold ourselves to account where we don’t meet our commitments.

To help us maintain our self-assured status, we consulted on our draft assurance plan for this year (2016-17).

This case study was written by Severn Trent Water