Ofwat proposes principles to increase public value in the water sector

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Ofwat is calling on companies to seek additional social and environmental value through the delivery of their services in their latest discussion paper.

The water regulator has published a set of proposed principles to underpin how water companies can deliver greater public value.

This principles-based approach aims to provide a framework for the activities and behaviours we want to see companies adopting, whilst ‘allowing for the flexibility that will be required to help deliver practical approaches tailored to regional and local circumstances.’

Jenny Block, Senior Director of Ofwat, commented on the announcement: “There are many great examples of public value already being delivered across the sector – and we are seeing further thinking on this through companies’ green recovery proposals, the innovation programme and early thinking around the next price review.

“We believe these principles provide a framework that can help ensure water companies provide greater public value across all that they do long into the future.

“We look forward to exploring these principles further with companies and other interested parties.”

The principles published in the discussion paper look to explore:

  • the scope of public value, focused on environmental and social impact
  • delivering benefits that are measurable, lasting and important to customers and communities,
  • transparency of information and insight on performance
  • ensuring public value outcomes do not come at greater cost to customers without clear customer support
  • collaboration with others to optimise solutions and maximise benefits, and leveraging a fair share of third-party funding
  • not displacing other organisations who are better placed to act and deliver public value
  • taking account of capability and circumstances in the delivery of additional public value.

The proposed principles can be viewed in full on the Ofwat website.