Ofwat claims new vision is shaping up as it publishes 2019/20 work programme

Ofwat has published its draft forward work programme for 2019-20 for consultation, at the heart of which will be a new vision for regulating the sector for 2020 and beyond.

The watchdog has already started “laying the groundwork” for this, seeking “the views of stakeholders and people from all walks of life, on what they want from companies of the future”. It said it will also engage with the National Infrastructure Commission review of utility regulators and other studies as it considers the strategy.

Ahead of the strategy being published later this year, Ofwat identified its immediate strategic outcomes for 2019/20. These were to ensure customers receive a great service (operational and customer service) and value for money (meeting the affordability challenges and needs of different customer groups) through companies being resilient in the round and protecting the sustainability of the ecosystem on which the sector is built, so that the needs of future customers as well as today’s can be met. Moreover that companies and investors are committed for the long term and display corporate behaviours which match what is expected from essential public service providers.

The budget for the year is £32.6m, comprising core funding of £31m recovered from water customers via companies, £1.1m from retail licensees and £0.5m from Thames Tideway. This marks the final year of Ofwat’s current Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) settlement. HM Treasury intends to complete a spending review across government during 2019-20 and the outcome of this will determine Ofwat’s budget for the next four years.