Former CCW chief executive Tony Smith has scooped a top industry award for his outstanding contribution to the water sector and achievements championing the interests of water consumers.
Mr Smith – who brought the curtain down on his 15-year career with the consumer body in June 2020 – picked up the industry champion award at Utility Week’s prestigious annual awards on Monday night.
Other water industry winners on the night included Anglian Water which picked up three gongs including Employer of the Year, as well as United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.
Rob Light, Chair of CCW, said:
“Tony has made an immense contribution to the water industry and has been instrumental in ensuring the voice and views of consumers carries more weight and influence than ever before – the award is a fitting tribute to an outstanding consumer champion.”
Smith spent more than three decades working in the utilities and infrastructure sectors but it was at the helm of CCW where he really made his mark.
When he took the reins at the newly-formed consumer watchdog in 2005, his team were confronted by an industry that was struggling to contain rising complaint numbers – fuelled by poor customer service and inflation-busting bill increases.
CCW set to work challenging the way companies handled complaints so more problems were resolved first time and the root causes of customers’ frustrations were addressed. The approach has led to a 70 per cent reduction in complaints since reaching a peak in 2007-08.
Smith also successfully argued for a huge increase in the influence of customers on the industry and its regulation, which has grown to unprecedented levels.