How South East Water earned self-assured status: a case study

The view from South East Water

South East Water (SEW) saw the Company Monitoring Framework (CMF) as a key tool to support its drive for improving customer satisfaction – new measures the company implemented in its latest business plan.

Through conversations with customers and stakeholders SEW realised two things would help improve customer satisfaction:

  • Ensuring information provided is accurate and transparent
  • Publishing information in a way that makes it engaging to customers

The CMF was therefore embraced by the company and proved a valuable exercise that has encouraged regular assessment of company data, information and performance (the three pillars of its framework) and how this is then reported. Leading to deeper engagement with customers and stakeholders it has brought important insights into the company’s daily work as well as long-term planning.

Engagement undertaken for the 2015-16 CMF, covering a survey sent to 2,000 stakeholders and five workshops, highlighted that a re-think of the way the company presented information should be a priority. SEW created a new Performance, People and Planet Report in July 2016. Designed to be more accessible for stakeholders and customers it tells the story behind the performance information contained within the Annual Accounts and Annual Performance Report and the Annual Environment Performance Report.

Oliver Martin, Head of Regulation, said: “Our new report was developed to be more engaging and focused on educating and informing customers and stakeholders about the areas which they told us are priorities for them, including reporting on our environmental obligations. Feedback that we received since from our Customer Panel, stakeholders and customers has been encouraging but we know that there are further improvements that we can make.

“We also wanted to also ensure that the new report was accurate and used a risk based approach to data governance utilising multiple checks and balances both internally and from our external assurance partners”.

SEW is continuing with its approach ready for 2017 by taking the opportunity to improve further through best practice identified in the 2016 CMF assessment.

Oliver continued: “The feedback will help us ensure the information that we provide is both engaging and robust and overall leads to improvements to our customers’ levels of satisfaction”.

This case study was written by South East Water