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  • by Karma Loveday

Ofwat seeks chief for new infrastructure development regulatory alliance

Ofwat is recruiting for a managing director to lead the new Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID). The alliance is a new regulatory team that works on behalf of Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate to promote the development of national water resources infrastructure.

In a pack for applicants for the role, which is open until 1 October, Ofwat has set out detail on plans for RAPID. It said RAPID would be charged with developing regulatory and commercial frameworks for joint infrastructure projects (or supporting industry development of the latter); providing oversight of project progress to ensure development of options in a timely and co-ordinated way; and acting as the principal regulatory interface with the industry on such projects, including through the gated development and funding process being established through PR19.

This will support the following goals:

• ensuring the timely and co-ordinated development of strategic infrastructure schemes to the point where they are “construction-ready” for the next regulatory period starting in 2025;

• providing leadership and momentum to recommend a future-proof regulatory framework that best supports the vision on an enduring basis; and

• providing a seamless regulatory interface for the strategic schemes.

Directors reporting to the managing director will head up each of three work streams: a programme and stakeholder workstream, focused on insight from engagement with the National Framework team as well as regional resource groups, water companies and others; a framework workstream with a regulation, policy and strategy focus (looking in particular to address any gaps or barriers in regulatory approaches); and a legal workstream. RAPID’s budget for 2019/20 (and likely 2020/21) is £2.9m and there is a budgeted headcount of 16 people (seven in post at the end of August with four starting this month).

RAPID is based in Ofwat and the MD will report to Ofwat’s chief executive. The document explained: “RAPID is not a new regulator in its own right, but an enhancement to the way of working of the sponsor regulators. Formal decision making powers remain with the sponsor regulators, with RAPID making recommendations to them. This approach will be formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding among the sponsor regulators.”

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