Yorkshire Water has announced it will create the first ‘openness charter’ in the water sector as part of efforts to lead the way in strengthening public trust in water companies.
The move comes at a time when the government has challenged all water firms to simplify their financial structures and act more in the public interest.
Yorkshire Water’s openness charter will mean stakeholders and the public can easily access a variety of company data, which will be hosted on a dedicated page on its website.
Information to be incorporated within the charter will include - but not be confined to - tax arrangements; directors’ remuneration packages; gender and ethnic pay gaps; and data on flooding, pollution and leakage performance.
A four-week consultation has begun this week to ensure the charter reflects customers and stakeholders views. The results of this consultation will then be published along with a roadmap setting out when the charter will be produced.
Liz Barber, director of finance, regulation and markets at Yorkshire Water, said: “We intend to establish ourselves as a global benchmark when it comes to corporate openness. The openness charter will mean that a host of critical information will be made easily accessible on our website for anyone - such as politicians, regulators or environmental organisations - to scrutinise and hold us to account.
“Becoming more open is one of our big goals so that we can re-earn customers trust in what is a vital public service. To achieve this, we’ve already taken proactive steps to close our offshore banking arrangements in the Cayman Islands and embrace an open data approach that will help us significantly improve our environmental performance.”
By 2020, Yorkshire Water aims to become a completely open data company and it predicts this will help meet ambitious targets to cut leakage and pollution each by 40 per cent. The firm has already held one collaborative hackathon event with more planned, which will unearth data driven opportunities to improve operational performance.
The firm’s commitment to improve its openness is linked to its ‘Not Just Water’ strategy, which consulted 18,000 customers to better understand the importance of water in everyone’s daily lives.
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