Stakeholder Terms of Reference
The stakeholder sub group undertakes detailed reviews, scrutiny and challenge of United Utilities’ performance and proposals from a stakeholder perspective
Requirement and Role
- YourVoice, the Independent Challenge Group for North West water customers and stakeholders, provides independent scrutiny, advice and challenge in relation to United Utilities’ customer engagement and research activities.
- In addition, YourVoice reviews and challenges United Utilities’ business plan delivery as well as reviewing and assuring its customer reporting. It considers, reviews and challenges the company’s customer research and engagement, and its PR24 business plan submission to Ofwat.
- The role of YourVoice is to be a ‘critical friend’ to United Utilities, understanding challenges, commenting on plans and expressing views about the key issues and priorities.
- To support its work, and enable more detailed scrutiny of important work areas, YourVoice has established four sub-groups focusing on customer engagement & research; the environment, natural capital & social capital agenda; seeking the views of regional stakeholders; and looking at customer vulnerability and affordability. The Chair of YourVoice will be a member of each of the sub groups.
- These are the Terms of Reference are for the Stakeholder sub group.
Purpose & Terms of Reference
The Stakeholder sub group will:
- undertake detailed reviews, scrutiny and challenge of United Utilities’ performance and proposals from a stakeholder perspective. It will review and challenge the company’s approach to stakeholder research and engagement, best practice, triangulation and how this insight and that from central research informs its PR24 submission to Ofwat, the company’s longer term plans and business-as-usual activity.
- as a critical friend of United Utilities seek to understand the challenges facing the company and its stakeholders, comment on plans and express views about the issues and priorities from a stakeholder perspective.
- comment on the extent to which the company has listened to customers and stakeholder views and taken account of these in its business planning and normal operations.
- review engagement methods and materials used, advise on their quality, attend engagement sessions and receive and review outcomes from engagement work with stakeholders.
- bring regional insight into the company, providing it with intelligence on issues and opportunities facing regional stakeholders.
- monitor company performance against targets and undertake deep dives into areas of concern and or poor performance.
On the delivery of the 2020-25 Business Plan (AMP7), the sub group will:
- review and challenge the company on the delivery of its AMP7 business plan including contractual over- and under-performance payments. It will consider key issues and challenges and, where appropriate, undertake a ‘deep dive’ looking in detail at particular areas and emerging issues.
- consider the ways in which the company reports progress on its stakeholder engagement activities, including advising on improvements to the clarity and suitability of information provided.
- review the company’s performance against other water companies.
- comment on to the design of stakeholder communications, particularly on engagement and performance reporting.
On preparations for the PR24 Price Review process (2025 – 2030), the sub group will:
- provide challenge and assurance to the company on the quality, clarity, inclusivity and extent of stakeholder research and engagement ensuring it is robust and reaches as many different types of stakeholders as possible.
- consider whether evidence from stakeholders exists to influence a business plan proposal and to review whether or not the final Business Plan takes account of these views.
- review the outcomes of central research, related to stakeholders, carried out by Ofwat and CCW and the ways in which this and other engagement work is triangulated with other local research and engagement work.
Governance and membership
- The sub-group’s membership will be drawn from North West stakeholders.
- The Chair will be selected by the YourVoice panel, and will be responsible for reporting back to YourVoice on the sub group’s activities in line with agreed levels of delegation. Administrative support in holding and reporting on meetings will be provided by the independent YourVoice Secretary.
- The relevant Director or suitable senior nominee, will be United Utilities’ lead representative on the sub group and will be supported by colleagues from across the organisation as required.
- The sub group will aim to meet at least quarterly but with more frequent meetings as required, for example to deal with urgent issues or during the later stages of the PR24 process.
- The sub group will be quorate if the Chair is present plus at least two other members.
- Members may meet in private if they deem it necessary
- Papers will be circulated to sub group members at least three working days in advance of meetings. Meeting minutes will be published on the YourVoice web pages.
- Members will declare any interests at least annually and if applicable at any meeting of this sub group
- Appropriate induction and training will be provided to sub group members,and detailed briefing made available on any new policy introductions, consultations or changes.