Water companies react to British Water survey

Northumbrian Water has come first in the latest Water Company Performance survey run by British Water and based on the views of supply chain stakeholders, the third year running it has claimed the top spot.

“The survey demonstrates that the supply chain enjoys working for Northumbrian Water,” said a spokesman for the company. “It also reflects the continuing strong relationships we have with our supply chain, many of whom are locally based.”

Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water, who came 3rd, was equally upbeat about its position. “It reflects the huge amount of work we have undertaken over the last year focusing our efforts on developing relations with our supply chain, and improving the procurement process. We remain committed to further improving relations with our suppliers and continuously reviewing our processes in order to deliver increased value to our customers.”

Commenting was obviously less straightforward for Thames, who finished 12th, and Scottish Water who came 11th.

“We’re obviously disappointed to be bottom of the pile,” a Thames spokesman told edie, “although, as a company, we’re now hitting our operational targets while our focus going forward is on making further improvements.”

Scottish Water, meanwhile, said it was ‘fundamentally different’ from the other water companies in the UK as it was only formed in 2002 and are subject to a different regulatory environment.

“We are actually the fastest improving water company in the UK according to our regulator, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS),” said a spokesman for Scottish Water. “This survey also has a very small sample size and is statistically irrelevant to Scottish Water as very few members of our supply chain completed it. Therefore, we are conducting a Scottish Water survey of our supply chain in the next few weeks to get comprehensive feedback from our partners.”

British Water’s UK director, Paul Mullord, urged companies not to see the survey and its results as criticism.

“It’s not intended to ‘blame or embarrass’ but rather to provide honest feedback on how companies are seen by their suppliers, and how they are seen to compare against other companies,” he said. “In that context, this year’s survey has been extremely well received by nearly all water companies while Ofwat has said it will use the survey to ‘monitor trends’ in the future.”

The 2012 survey gathered views from 350 people working in the industry. First run in 2003, it ranks companies according to contractual approach, attitude, professional qualities, impact on supply chain, procurement, following policy, communication, partners/main contractors and AMP4/AMP5 transition and recession.

The overall average listing for 2012, starting at the top, is: Northumbrian, Yorkshire, Dwr Cymru/Welsh, South West, Wessex, Severn Trent, Anglian, United Utilities, Southern, Northern Ireland, Scottish Water and Thames.

A full breakdown of the British Water ‘Water Company Performance’ survey results is available here.

Edie staff

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