An impartial board of customers, stakeholders and experts who act on behalf of customers (not just those billed by the company but also the wider community) to keep check on how South Staffs Water operates.
· Ensuring South Staffs Water is communicating well with its customers in an honest and transparent way
· Assessing whether South Staffs Water is listening to its customers and responding appropriately to what they are being told
· Reviewing whether South Staffs Water is meeting its commitments outlined in its business plan
· Challenging South Staffs Water’s performance to be sustainable, affordable and cost-effective for the benefit of customers and the wider community
The Panel has its own legal identity separate from South Staffs Water and operates independently of the water company with its own Terms of Reference. Apart from the independent Chairman, members are not paid but may reclaim reasonable travelling expenses and are offered an attendance fee for meetings.
The panel meets at least four times a year and at other critical times in the business planning cycle. It reviews reports from South Staffs Water, consults experts and carries out its own research to offer impartial scrutiny to the water company. It challenges the performance of South Staffs Water, encourages innovation and makes recommendations where deemed appropriate.
It submits an annual report to Ofwat and this is made available to South Staffs Water and the Consumer Council for Water. This includes an assessment of how South Staffs Water engages with its customers and others and its business plan and strategy.
The panel also reports to South Staffs Water non-executive directors on a bi-annual basis and to the full board at least once a year.