Local communities are being encouraged to have their say on the shape of services provided by Southern Water over the rest of the decade and beyond.
The views of customers, as well as organisations including community and environmental groups, are at the heart of the company’s work to develop its plans for the future.
A dedicated website section, www.swhaveyoursay.co.uk, has been launched, where people can find out how they can get involved and express their views. A number of focus groups and events have already been held to understand what people feel should be priorities for the years ahead, with a wide range of further consultation activity planned over the next 12 months.
Southern Water’s Chief Customer Officer, Darren Bentham, explained: “We want to understand what people want from our services, what is acceptable to them. These opinions will help us develop our plans and make sure the things that are important to them are considered. Our engagement will be open and transparent reaching out across the communities we serve, so that people from all backgrounds can have their say.”
A Customer Challenge Group (CCG), which is independent of Southern Water, has been set up to represent the views of customers and challenge the company on the way it engages with the people it serves and how it listens to the feedback it receives.
Anna Bradley, Chair of the group, said: “The opinions and views which Southern Water receives will be key to the development of its medium and long term plans, so I would encourage everyone to join in and have their say. At every stage, the role of the CCG will be to make sure that the process of gathering people’s opinions, and taking them into account in planning work, is robust and effective, with everyone’s views listened to carefully by Southern Water.”
The Southern Water Customer Challenge Group has its own website, www.swccg.org.uk, where you can find out about the group’s members and the work they carry out.
What people from across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent think will help develop a 25 year Strategic Statement setting out Southern Water’s long term goals, as well as the company’s 25 year Water Resources Management Plan. They will also feed into a Business Plan for 2015 to 2020. This plan will be submitted to the water industry regulator Ofwat for approval in early 2014 and will determine the charges Southern Water customers pay in the years ahead.