Cox: most firms support board leadership licence condition


Ofwat, chair, Jonson Cox has written to water industry chairs to flag up that most companies have indicated acceptance of a licence condition enshrining its recently published board leadership, transparency and governance principles, and that Ofwat will soon be writing to all to seek agreement on the text of the licence condition.

Cox (pictured) said that on top of the five firms that have a licence condition in place to meet the new principles already (introduced at the time other amendments were made recently) – Severn Trent, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames, Portsmouth and South West Water – a further seven companies have indicated they will accept a licence condition. These are Anglian, Bristol, SES, South East, South Staffs, Southern and Wessex.

Cox wrote: “This means that a majority of companies have now agreed to be held by the ambitious standards of governance as set out in the principles. I believe that they are a vital tool for the sector to give customers and other stakeholders the confidence that in the future these companies will:

• have a clear purpose that reflects the needs of all they serve;

• be run on a standalone basis, free from wider group interests;

• have well-run boards, with clearly focused and well-run committees; and

• have sufficient independent challenge to ensure the needs of customers and other stakeholders are addressed.”

Ofwat aims to publish a formal consultation under the Water Industry Act 1991 on this licence condition in spring 2019.