We’ve summarised some of our key achievements for consumers across England and Wales in 2020-21.
Watch our Chief Executive, Emma Clancy, reflect on some of our key areas of work from the previous year:
We worked closely with the water industry to help it develop and accelerate its response to supporting households and businesses that were hit financially by the pandemic. This led to more than 100,000 customers taking advantage of payments breaks. We also launched a comprehensive guide for consumers on Covid-19 help and assistance.
Ending water poverty
October 2020 saw us launch one of the most important pieces of work CCW has ever carried out – an independent review of water affordability and how to strengthen support for households unable to afford their bills. The review – carried out on behalf of the UK and Welsh Governments – saw us draw together experts and insights from across the sector and beyond. In May we launched our final report and recommendations which have the potential to end water poverty for 1.5 million customers across England Wales. Millions more households would also benefit from improved access to a wider range of support. Read more on our dedicated review page.
Helping the most vulnerable
Breaking down the barriers that prevent customers from getting the support they need from their water company lies at the heart of our Vulnerability Manifesto which we launched in November 2020. It includes pledges to ensure at least 60 per cent of consumers are aware of priority services and the free extra help they can provide by 2025 – up from 42 per cent. We will also provide a template for success to ensure water companies provide consumers with the information they need, when they need it most during periods of disruption. Take a look at our manifesto pledges.
More than 1,300 people used our Benefits Calculator which can help users identify means-tested benefits they could be missing out on. The calculator identified potential annual benefits totalling £6.25 million – a considerable increase on the previous year. Over 360 people also used our Grants Search tool to see if they might qualify for assistance from a pool of more than 3,000 charitable funds.
Water Meter Calculator
There were more than 220,000 visits to our water meter calculator during the year when it once again featured frequently in the media as a recommended money-saving tool. The calculator helps household customers work out whether they might be better off switching to a meter. The potential savings identified during the year totalled nearly £14 million. See if you could save.
Fighting your corner
Every day we helped household and business customers resolve complaints against their supplier – handling nearly 13,000 complaints and enquiries throughout the year. Our consumer relations team secured £1.8 million in compensation and redress for customers. That brought the total amount to more than £33 million since we were formed back in 2005. Our case studies provide a snapshot of the difference we’ve made in just a few of the many cases we’ve successfully handled.
Improving the complaint journey
We kick-started efforts with Government and the regulator Ofwat to explore how we could make the process of raising and resolving a complaint slicker, simpler and more effective for consumers. We started work with companies to introduce quick improvements such as having useful, consistent information available online while also making longer-term improvements to the journey. This includes looking at how we can better assist consumers, giving clearer advice and direction right from the outset so they can secure a resolution sooner. Read more about our work accelerating the complaints process.
A powerful voice in the media
The media remains a vital platform for us to voice consumers’ views and influence change. During 2020-21 we featured in almost 700 individual pieces of coverage across print, online and broadcast media. We spoke out on issues that mattered most to consumers including makes bills affordable for everyone, the impact of Covid-19, tackling leaks and sewer flooding and improving customer service. Take a look at our latest press releases.
Almost every aspect of our work is rooted in our research which enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of consumers’ evolving views and priorities. During the year we published two major pieces of research including Water Matters – our annual survey of household customers’ views on their water and sewerage services. We also used our online research community –WaterVoice – to speak to more than 600 customers in real-time about a range of issues including the impact of Covid-19, climate change and social value. Explore our research.
Delivering value for money
We know that water consumers want value for money from their water company – and we demand it from ourselves. All of our activities on behalf of consumers in 2020-21 cost each water bill payer in England and Wales 22p. You can read more about all of our work on behalf of consumers and how we funded our activities in our Annual Report and Accounts.
Our previous Annual Reviews
Below you can find our last three Annual Reviews.
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