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Our vision is to become a leading North West service provider and one of the best UK water and wastewater companies 

Achieving our vision

Our vision is to become a leading North West service provider and one of the best UK water and wastewater companies. We will deliver this by providing the best service to customers at the lowest sustainable cost and in a responsible manner.

Our 25-year strategy

In order to maintain a reliable, high quality water service for our customers in the future, we have to look a long way ahead and anticipate those changes and core issues that are likely to impact on our activities. Our long-term strategy helps us to define what we need to deliver over the shorter term.

The water industry makes a wide-ranging contribution to society, from the health of people and the environment to the strength of the economy.

In the next 25 years, we will face many challenges and opportunities including:

  • climate change and its implications for water resources and flooding;
  • the emergence of a more open, competitive UK water market;
  • more rigorous environmental regulations; and
  • the ever-present need to combine affordable bills with a modern, responsive water and wastewater service.

By anticipating these changes and balancing them with our customers’ priorities, we can meet the future with confidence.

The water industry makes a wide-ranging contribution to society, from the health of people and the environment to the strength of the economy.

Planning for future water demand

Our 25-year Water Resource Management Plan sets out the investment needed to ensure that we have sufficient water to continue supplying our customers, taking into account the potential impact of climate change.

What we will aim to do:

Ar Uu Timeline

How we will achieve our 25-year strategy

Our Strategic Direction Statement, ‘Playing our part to support the North West’ (which can be downloaded at corporate.unitedutilities.com/future), sets out our long-term strategy for the next quarter century.

It examines the challenges ahead and explains how we will focus our resources and talents in order to meet them. We consulted with thousands of customers and stakeholders to ensure their expectations are reflected in our plans.

Their feedback helped create our five customer promises which, together with the 11 customer outcomes in our strategy diagram, will guide the way we deliver our services, now and long into the future.

Our customer promises

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These customer promises are reflected in our business plan for the next five years, which focuses on providing the best service to customers, at the lowest sustainable cost and in a responsible manner (see here).

Our approach to doing business

Our long-term strategy is underpinned by our responsible approach to doing business, which is explained here.

Each five-year investment period is designed to help us achieve our longer term vision 

Strategic delivery

Our five-year plan for 2010–15 was focused on improving customer satisfaction, meeting our statutory obligations and delivering shareholder value. This plan was designed to build a platform to enable us to effectively deliver our long-term strategy.

A summary of our key achievements across 2010–15 is shown here.

As we begin the next five-year period to 2020 we are looking to build on our recent achievements, retaining our focus on delivering high levels of service to customers at the lowest sustainable cost, all whilst acting responsibly. This is designed to help us achieve our vision of becoming a leading North West service provider and one of the best UK water and wastewater companies.

Our focus on delivering for our customers includes striving to be a leading company in the areas our regulator benchmarks for the industry, such as on customer satisfaction (SIM). We also assess our performance against other leading organisations in the North West through an independent brand tracker survey.

As detailed in the economic regulation section here, the regulatory environment has evolved for the 2015–20 period, and our key performance indicators are also evolving to reflect this. With the move to a more outcomes based approach, the new outcome delivery incentives (ODIs) are key metrics to assess performance across a wide range of operational measures. In the now separated business retail price control, with the expansion of competition, measuring the impact of customer gains and losses is an important metric.

Metrics for assessing lowest sustainable costs include our outperformance against the new totex model (replacing separate opex and capex models for 2010–15) and financing levels set by Ofwat. With the retail household price control now being separated, we are also introducing a new KPI to measure our costs in this area.

The degree to which our actions are viewed as responsible is taken from performance measures set by the industry regulator, the Environment Agency and those which measure global best practice, as defined by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Our KPI performance for 2010–15 is shown here and further details on our 2015–20 KPIs are shown here.

In addition, executive bonuses and long-term incentives are intrinsically linked to our financial and operational performance and further details are provided in the Remuneration Committee report.

Our focus remains on delivering high levels of service to customers at the lowest sustainable cost, all whilst acting responsibly.

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