Purpose of YourVoice
The YourVoice panel was established in 2015 as the independent challenge group representing United Utilities’ customers and stakeholders across the North West. Its role is to provide independent challenge to the company and independent assurance to Ofwat on:
- the development of United Utilities business plans;
- the quality and effectiveness of the company’s customer engagement, reviewing and challenging the company’s approach to research and insight;
- the extent to which this engagement is driving company decision making and is reflected in the company’s five-yearly business plan; and
- progress against the delivery of United Utilities current business plan commitments (2020 to 2025), including its Annual Performance Report.
Membership comprises a blend of customer, business, social, regulatory and environmental representatives – see the current panel here. The agenda and minutes of YourVoice meetings since 2015 can be found here.
How YourVoice operates
Much of YourVoice’s work is done through its sub groups. Currently there are three:
- Customer research and engagement group – consisting of YourVoice members, this group challenges the company on its approach to customer engagement and how it undertakes its research and insight. The terms of reference for the group can be found here. There have been 12 pieces of research and engagement work YourVoice has been involved in during the last year, including reviewing and commenting on materials to be used, attending research and feedback sessions, and discussing outcomes at YV meetings. In addition, YourVoice has welcomed the decision by the company to share its research and details can be found here.
- Environment and social capital group – consisting of YourVoice members, this group reviews the company’s approach to the region’s environmental challenges, providing expert perspective and offering insight on what it means for North West stakeholders.The terms of reference for the group can be found here.
- Affordability and vulnerability panel – consists of YourVoice members and other stakeholder representatives including the debt and advice sector, charities and other utilities. This group helps shape the company’s approach to supporting those struggling to pay bills and seeks to broker new collaborations to help those facing financial difficulties in the region. The terms of reference for the panel can be found here.
From September, a fourth sub group will be created focusing on stakeholder engagement. Its aim is to ensure that views from a variety of stakeholders is represented, providing a platform for differing perspectives to be shared with the company. Members representing economic, social and environmental sectors will sit on the group. The terms of reference for the group can be found here.
A subset of YourVoice members monitor and review the company’s delivery of its commitments to customers agreed with Ofwat and set out in its five-yearly business plan, currently running from 2020 to 2025. The panel’s reflections on current annual performance (2021/22) can be found here.
YourVoice and PR19
During PR19, YourVoice provided assurance on the range and quality of customer engagement and research, and the extent to which it was used to influence the development of the company’s business plans. You can view the panel’s report to Ofwat on United Utilities draft business plan proposals for 2020-25 here. In appendix 3 is YourVoice’s challenge log, a record of the specific challenges and issue raised by YourVoice and its sub groups, along with the action taken by the company in response.
In addition to the creation of a fourth sub group, from October YourVoice will launch a new website, yourvoiceicg.co.uk which will no longer be hosted on United Utilities’ website.