Northumbrian leads in British Water survey
British Water‘s annual UK Water Company Performance Survey asks contractors, consultants and suppliers to rate their clients’ performance in 11 areas, including innovation, professionalism, contractual approach and procurement. The survey featured streamlined questions and the addition of four water-only companies for the first time.
This year has seen a number of changes to the ranking, compared to last year’s survey. Northumbrian took the first position - up from fifth last year, with Anglian Water in second. Wessex Water saw the biggest fall, moving from first to eighth position.
Northern Ireland dropped to the 11th position from third last year, with Southern Water dropping from eighth to joint 11th. Scottish Water and United Utilities remained stable in third and fifth positions respectively.
Reflecting on the high scores of Northumbrian Water and Anglian Water, British Water’s head of programmes Dr Mar Batista commented that both organisations appear to have worked hard to embrace innovation across the business and strive to “get people in a room” through their innovation offerings such as the Northumbrian Innovation Festival and Anglian Water’s Innovation Network.
“It is important that we build on the innovation portals available across the sector to a culture of innovation across the industry. Innovation needs time commitment, people to be onboard and trust to be developed and that is easier to achieve when people and companies get to know each other and how they work,” said Batista.
Innovation can sometimes be adopted in a transactional way with water company representatives using the solutions that they may be more comfortable with or because something is needed urgently. This can create a narrow route and specific outcomes with regard to innovation.
“Supply chain companies will tend to want to work with businesses that are welcoming and with capacity for innovation, so innovation is more likely to happen when businesses and people are aligned,” she added.
Delivery of projects whether standard or innovative is difficult to achieve if the involved parties are rigid or work in isolation, explained Batista. Bringing together all parties is more likely to result in a good outcome for everyone – as they can all benefit from success or equally share the risk proportionally.