Our aim is to protect public health and provide excellent services to our customers
We continue to invest in our local communities both financially and through employee volunteering
We believe that responsible business should be embedded in everything we do and this should be evident across all of our activities
We are committed to delivering our services in a responsible way and our approach to responsible business practice is outlined in our Business Principles document available on our website at corporate.unitedutilities.com/united-utilities-business-principles. Some of the key components of our approach are set out in more detail below:
Our aim is to protect public health and provide excellent services to our customers. This means removing the need for customers to contact us unnecessarily, to taking ownership of queries and satisfactorily resolving them as quickly as possible, while keeping our customers informed along the way. We aim to provide bills that represent good value for money.
Whether it’s treating and delivering drinking water for our customers, or returning treated wastewater to rivers and the sea, we’re acutely aware of our responsibility to the environment. We continue to invest to protect and, where appropriate, enhance the natural environment of the North West. We continue to consider the impacts of climate change on the services we deliver and adapt accordingly. Our greenhouse gas disclosures can be found in the Directors' report: other statutory information.
The communities in which we operate are of great importance to our business – it is where our customers and employees live and work. We continue to invest in our local communities both financially and through employee volunteering. We recognise the effect that our operations can have on the community and invest in programmes that support affected areas or help tackle current social issues.
Health and safety is paramount and we strongly focus on our performance in this area. High employee engagement is a key contributor to our performance and we place significant emphasis on maintaining and strengthening levels of engagement. Our policies on maternity, paternity, adoption, personal and special leave go beyond the minimum required by law.
For disabled applicants and existing employees, we are committed to fulfilling our obligations in accordance with the relevant legislation. Applicants with disabilities are given equal consideration in the application process. Disabled colleagues have equipment and working practices modified for them as far as possible and wherever it is safe and practical to do so. We value diversity, providing equality of opportunity and recruiting and promoting on merit.
The table below shows the male:female ratio of people at United Utilities.
|Group Board||6 (75%)||2 (25%)|
|- Executive Team*||4 (57%)||3 (43%)|
|- Other Senior Managers||39 (80%)||10 (20%)|
|Wider Employees||3,428 (63%)||1,986 (37%)|
*Figures exclude CEO and CFO, who are included in group board figures.
We also have 15 (79 per cent) male and 4 (21 per cent) female employees who are appointed as statutory directors of subsidiary group companies but who do not fulfil the Companies Act 2006 definition of ‘senior managers’.
Delivering good value:
We are committed to honouring our responsibility to our shareholders, credit investors and those who provide us with goods and services. How we create value for our stakeholders is set out in the How we create value section. We work with suppliers whose business principles, conduct, and standards align with our own. Our key suppliers have committed to our Sustainable Supply Chain Charter, supporting us in the delivery of wider social, economic and environmental benefits.
Running our business with integrity
We have procedures and policies in place to ensure we act in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Given the long life of our infrastructure, we take a long-term view of our operations and key to the group’s strategic objectives is the goal to operate in a more sustainable manner. Sustainability is fundamental to the manner in which we undertake our business and the group has, for many years, included corporate responsibility (CR) factors as a strategic consideration in its decision making. Our board-level CR committee develops and oversees our CR strategy and this continuing focus helped the group retain our Dow Jones Sustainability Index ‘World Class’ rating.
Read more about our responsible business performance
Our business principles document can be found at corporate.unitedutilities.com/united-utilities-business-principles
What our customers think of us
Every month, an independent agency contacts around 600 households who we have recently had contact with. They are asked to rate their experience and to say how satisfied they are with our service and what would make it better.
This gives us great insight into how to make improvements in our customer service, whether it’s how we deal with water supply problems, bill payments or other enquiries. According to those surveyed across 2014/15, the majority of customers rated our service in the highest category of ‘very satisfied’. This is supported by the improvements we have seen in customer satisfaction over recent years, as evidenced by Ofwat’s SIM assessment – see Key achievements 2010-15. However, a minority of customers suggested we could have done better and we are listening carefully to their feedback as we strive for continuous improvement. Another valuable source of information is provided through our programme of proactively texting around 1,000 customers a day who have recently contacted us by mobile phone, inviting them to rate our service and provide any feedback.
Our WOW Awards scheme gives customers a forum to say ‘thank you’ to any individual employee who has provided excellent customer service. The forum allows the customers to suggest ways in which we can improve our overall customer experience. Some of the comments have been truly inspiring and demonstrate the dedication and commitment of our staff.
To assess customers’ perceptions of United Utilities and how they compare to nine other major service providers in our region, every quarter we commission an independent agency to contact over 1,000 household and business customers. Throughout the quarterly surveys we have consistently ranked 3rd out of 10 overall for customer service, behind only John Lewis and Marks & Spencer but ahead of seven other major organisations covering sectors including utilities, telecoms, media and banking services. Across 2014/15, we ranked particularly highly on the attributes of being ‘Socially responsible’ (2nd out of 10) as well as being ‘Trustworthy’ (3rd out of 10) and having a ‘Good reputation’ (3rd out of 10). Our lowest ranking was on ‘Innovation’ (5th out of 10) although this is an area of renewed focus for us and customer perceptions on this attribute have been gradually improving over the last few years.
Personality traits customers associate with United Utilities