Partnership approach drives success
Wessex Water's approach of partnership working and engaging with the communities it serves has gone from strength to strength during the last year, providing better outcomes for customers and the environment.
In its annual results published today (4 July 2019), the company reports on how it worked hard to deliver the best levels of service and continuously challenges itself to find better and cheaper ways of doing things.
Through the Wessex Water Marketplace initiative, the company is opening up company data, challenges and systems so that customers, stakeholders and suppliers can be part of the solution to future challenges.
During the past year more than £106m has been invested in environmental improvements, making greater use of catchment-based approaches to understand and manage nutrients in the environment.
This has involved partnering with farmers to offset nitrogen contributions as well as continuing to support catchment partnerships across the region, involving dozens of projects and partners and hundreds of farmers and landowners.
Managing Director Andy Pymer said: “Our region contains a wealth of rivers, streams, beaches and natural landscapes and is rich in wildlife with many areas protected by national and international designations. We work hard to protect and enhance the aquatic environment and our wider natural habitats.
“Our aim is to give all customers excellent standards of service by providing high quality water and environmental services that protect health, improve the environment and give customers good value for money.”
Investing at record levels
One of the major projects started in the last year is the second stage of the north Bristol sewer scheme – a significant engineering scheme that will accommodate economic development and housing growth by transporting waste water for treatment at the water recycling centre in Bristol.
The company has continued to invest at record levels, with more than £245m injected into maintaining and improving assets and the services that they underpin.
There has also been investment in communities, which has seen the company work in partnership with local people and councils to provide public access to water refill points in Freshford and Bradford on Avon, Bath, Salisbury, Trowbridge and Weymouth. Not only has this helped reduce single use plastic but also promoted healthy living.
Mr Pymer explained: "It’s critical that the communities we serve feel part of what we do and who we are – without their help and involvement, we cannot meet our stretching performance targets.
"We encourage our people to go the extra mile whenever they can – and this involves supporting local communities."
More than 400 colleagues took part in the first year of the Wessex Water Force employee volunteer programme, using their day of volunteering to work with local charities across the region on everything from beach cleans, to painting a local school classroom and collecting Christmas trees for charity recycling.
And the company’s community and environmental funding supported 46 groups across its region in the last year and the firm supported local community foundations in Bristol, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset.
Maintaining excellent customer service
During 2018-19 Wessex Water remained one of the top water and sewerage companies in Ofwat’s service incentive mechanism, which measures customers service performance. It also had the lowest number of complaints as reported by the Consumer Council for Water.
A continued focus on customer care saw the company retain its government Customer Service Excellence award, the British Standard for inclusive services provision (BS 18477), the Keep Me Posted award and the Louder than Words charter mark.
It also continued to deliver initiatives to support customers in vulnerable circumstances, with a 15% increase in the number of low-income customers receiving support with their bills or debt and a 15% increase in the number registered for Priority Services.
Financial results for 2018-19 shows operating profit fell £12.6m to £110m. Turnover increased by £7m to £548m and operational costs increased by £8m to £213m.