Achieving our vision
Our vision is to become a leading North West service provider and one of the best UK water and wastewater companies
Our 25-year strategy
In order to maintain a reliable, high quality water service for our customers in the future, we have to look to the far horizon and anticipate those changes and core issues that are likely to impact on our activities.
The water industry is an important sector which makes a wide ranging contribution, from the health of the environment to the strength of the economy.
In the next 25 years, we will face many challenges and opportunities including:
- climate change and its implications for water resources and flooding;
- the emergence of a more open, competitive UK water market;
- more rigorous environmental regulations; and
- the ever-present need to combine affordable bills with a modern, responsive water and wastewater service.
By anticipating these changes and balancing them against our customers' priorities, we can meet the future with confidence.
How we will achieve our 25-year strategy
Our Strategic Direction Statement, 'Playing our part to support the North West' (you can download this at corporate.unitedutilities.com/future) sets out our long-term strategy for the next quarter century. It examines the challenges ahead and explains how we will focus our resources and talents in order to meet them. We consulted with thousands of customers and stakeholders to make sure what they expect of us in the future is reflected in our plans. Their feedback helped us to create our five customer promises which, together with the 11 outcomes, will guide the way we deliver our services, now and long into the future.
Our customer promises
Our approach to doing business
Our long-term strategy is underpinned by our approach to doing business responsibly.
The customer outcomes
Providing great water
- Drinking water is safe and clean
- Customers have a reliable supply of water now and in the future
Dispose of wastewater
- Wastewater is removed and treated without customers ever noticing
- The risk of sewer flooding for homes and businesses is reduced
Give value for money
- Customer bills are fair
- We support those customers who are struggling to pay
- The North West's economy is supported by our activities and investment
Deliver a service customers can rely on
- Customers are highly satisfied with our service and find it easy to do business with us
Protect and enhance the environment
- The natural environment is protected and improved in the way we deliver our services
- The North West's bathing and shellfish waters are cleaner through our work
- Our services and assets are fit for a changing climate
Strategic delivery 2010-2015
Our current five-year plan for 2010–2015 is designed to build a platform for us to be able effectively to deliver our long-term strategy.
Building solid foundations for the future.
Our five-year plan is focused on improving customer satisfaction, meeting our statutory obligations and delivering shareholder value. We aim to deliver high levels of service to customers at the lowest sustainable cost, all whilst acting responsibly.
The activities we undertake to outperform for our customers include striving to be a leading company in the areas our regulator benchmarks for the industry. Measures include customer satisfaction (both qualitative and quantitative) and how well we maintain our assets (serviceability). We also assess our performance against other leading organisations in the North West through an independent brand tracker survey.
Metrics for assessing lowest sustainable cost include our outperformance against opex, financing and capex levels set by Ofwat.
The degree to which our actions are viewed as responsible is taken from performance measures set by the industry regulator, the Environment Agency and those which measure global best practice, as defined by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Our strategy – to deliver value by providing:
The best service to customers
Delivering excellent services to our customers by anticipating and responding to their needs.
At the lowest sustainable cost
Providing the service as efficiently as possible on a cost basis that can be sustained over the long-term.
In a responsible manner
Managing responsibly our interaction with the environment, the communities where we operate and our employees.
Our areas of focus:
- Improving customer service performance
- Investing to reduce the risk of sewer flooding
- Providing safe and clean drinking water
- Reliable supply of water now and in the future
- Maintaining the standards of our assets
- Building capability to compete in the expanding retail market
- Delivering capital commitments efficiently, on time and to a high quality
- Innovating to improve our use of technology and to improve our efficiency
- Generating energy from sludge to help power our assets
- Meeting our regulatory commitments
- Enhancing debt collection activities
- Providing support for customers struggling to pay
- Maintaining leakage at or below a sustainable economic level
- Improving the North West's river and bathing water quality
- Reducing our carbon footprint
- Improving environmental performance
- Ensuring we have a committed, capable and motivated workforce
- Continuing to support community groups
- Reducing pollution incidents
How we measure our performance – KPIs:
- SIM – qualitative
- SIM – quantitative
- Opex outperformance
- Financing outperformance
- Capex outperformance
- EA performance assessment
- Dow Jones Sustainability Index