Reporting improvements slip says Ofwat

In its third annual review of water companies' annual reporting, Ofwat found that standards were good but there had a fall in year on year improvements compared to previous reviews.

“This year the standard of reporting in this area remains good. However, we have not seen the degree of improvement we saw in previous years,”said Ofwat.

The assessment of board leadership, transparency and governance principles covered the 17 largest monopoly water firms and, for the first time, Baazalgette Tunnel.

On transparency the regulator reported “good quality information” generally with two firms demonstrating leading practice while one “fell below expectations.”

On its principle that The regulated company must act as a separate listed company Ofwat found that one company failed to explain clearly to other stakeholders why its alternative approach – agreed with Ofwat– was “appropriate in the context of our principles”.

Ofwat said companies could be clearer about either how their chair was independent or how an alternative approach was appropriate for their company. It said that explanations of company structure were “variable” with “a significant minority of companies,” needed improvements in: properly explaining their group structures; or ensuring that the information provided reflects the most up to date position, including any changes in the year.