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  • by Karma Loveday

Ofwat sets out standards expected of PR24 customer engagement

Ofwat has published its expectations of the standards companies much achieve relating to customer engagement. The regulator said in a new position paper that firms should put in place solutions to meet their individual needs, ambitions and circumstances that are consistent with the standards.

The standards covered:

• high-quality research – Ofwat said this must be useful and contextualised, neutrally designed, fit for purpose, inclusive, continual, independently assured, shared in full with others and ethical; • customer challenge on the nature, quality and use of customer engagement evidence – this should be independent, with board accountability, ongoing, informed, transparent, representative, comprehensive and timely; and • assurance of the quality and use of customer engagement evidence – this should be independent, transparent, expert, comprehensive and owned by the board.

Ofwat added: “We are continuing to work closely with CCW on all aspects of customer engagement policy development. This includes discussions about CCW’s role within the customer challenge and assurance solutions that companies will put in place to address the standards for high-quality research, customer challenge and assurance of customer engagement.

"We welcome CCW’s proposal for a ‘challenge co-ordination group’ and its intention to raise standards for customer engagement; improve sharing of best practice on customer engagement across the sector; and improve the availability and understanding of comparative information.”

The regulator pointed out that the customer and stakeholder engagement framework to be set out in the PR24 draft methodology will largely reflect the content of this document, together with that of its October 2021 ‘Collaborative customer research for PR24’ position paper.

It also took the opportunity to provide terms of reference for collaborative customer research steering groups, and to refresh and simplify the customer engagement principles established for earlier price reviews.


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