Customer engagement

Customer engagement

This group worked with us to determine, formulate and review the customer research that was carried out to identify our customers’ priorities, their willingness to pay for service improvements and their acceptability of our business plan.

Water Resources

Water resources are a key priority in the Cambridge Region. This task group is working with us to ensure we have sufficient water supplies to meet the demands of future housing groups, without adversely impacting on the environment.


This task group is responsible for helping us identify the outcomes and which associated measures we should achieve to help deliver them.

This is a new concept which replaces the standard regulatory targets set for all water companies.


The customer engagement sub group is responsible for carrying out customer research and feeding this information back to the Local Water Forum.

The sub group is made up of members of the Local Water Forum who have an interest in customer engagement.

Customer engagement sub group members
Customer engagement sub group meetings

The role of the customer engagement sub group is to identify how Cambridge Water should engage with its customers and ensure its research findings accurately represent the views of its customer base. It will then be responsible for ensuring Cambridge Water accurately interprets the research findings in its final business plan.

1: Focus groups and telephone interviews

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Focus groups

We recruited an independent research company, Community Research, to carry out four focus groups on our behalf in January 2013.

Cambridge Water customers were randomly selected to attend each event and were asked for their opinions on a wide range of issues like the quality of the water we supply and the service we provide.

Telephone interviews

Alongside the focus groups, the independent research company also carried out in-depth telephone interviews with selected non-household and domestic customers and spent time speaking to clients and advisers at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Cambridge.

Other research

A large part of our business plan involves planning for future generations and at Cambridge Water we felt it was important that younger people had the opportunity to comment on what was important to them. As part of this exercise we spoke to students from Cambridge Regional College and Swavesey Village College.

Research findings

A copy of the Community Research report can be downloaded here

A copy of the findings from Cambridge Regional College and Swavesey Village College can be downloaded here

2: Willingness to pay research

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Willingness to pay research

The second stage of our research involved asking customers how much they were willing to pay for the water services they receive and in which areas they would like to see the company invest in for the benefit of customers now and in the future.

We appointed ICS Consultancy to carry out the research on our behalf. They compiled a survey that was subsequently completed by 386 household customers and 100 commercial customers

Research findings

A copy of the research findings can be downloaded here

3: Draft water resources management plan

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We must ensure that we have sufficient water supplies to meet the demands of future housing, without adversely impacting on the environment.

Our joint findings have been used compile our Water Resources Management Plan, which we need to take into consideration when compiling our business plan.

4: Draft outline of the business plan

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We have used the findings from the research carried out in stages one and two to produce an outline of our draft business plan for 2015 to 2020. This identifies the areas of the business where we think money should be invested and includes an outline of our proposed prices over the five year period.

Our draft business plan is now ready. You can download it here, but consultation ended on 4 October 2013.

5: Customer acceptability testing

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The next step involves asking our customers what they think about our outline business plan. It is important that we strike the correct balance between delivering what our customers want, meeting future expectations and remaining a viable business.

Alongside this we will also be asking our stakeholders, such as the Environment Agency and the Consumer Council for Water, what they think of our proposals.

Find out how to get involved here

You can download our Acceptability Research here

You can download a copy of the Acceptability Research presentation here

6: Finalising the business plan

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Once the customer and stakeholder research has been completed a final version of the business plan will be produced and submitted to our regulator, Ofwat for sign off. The final plan will then be implemented in 2015.

On Friday, 27 June 2014, Cambridge Water submitted an update to their 2015-2020 Business Plan and further supporting evidence to the economic regulator, Ofwat.

After receiving guidance and feedback from Ofwat, stakeholders and customers, we’ve introduced further challenge and provided greater clarity and evidence on our performance commitments to our customers.

An overview of our Business Plan update can be downloaded here

Customer engagement sub group members

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The members of the customer engagement sub group are:

Rachel Talbot
Citizens’ Advice Bureau

Richard Thompson
Environment Agency

Gemma Cooper
Environment Agency
Caroline Owen

Cllr Jean Swanson
Cambridge City Council

Steve Grebby
Consumer Council for Water

Company representatives

Rachel Barber
Customer Service Director, South Staffs Water

Annalise Lister
Customer Communications Manager, Cambridge Water

Customer engagement sub group meetings

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23 October 2012

At this first meeting, members discussed the customer engagement plan.

Cambridge Water presentation

10 December 2012

Members discussed collaborative working with Anglian Water, training at The Consultation Institute, focus groups and willingness to pay research.

Community research presentation
Your Choice press release

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22 August 2012

Members discussed acceptability research, the draft business plan, willingness to pay results and promotion of the business plan.

Item 1 - Bill Calculator V1 Draft for pilot
Item 1 - SSW Accepability Showcards V1 0 Draft for pilot
Item 1 - SSW Pilot Questionnaire - Survey V1 0 -Draft for pilot
Item 2 - SSW bp Summary for consultation draft v9
Item 4 - Cambridge LWF Notes with responses
Item 5 - Customer engagement action plan

CCG, LWF, customer challenge group, local water forum, PR14, your choice, your ch20ice, your ch2oice

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Your choice