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Improving Services

Significant improvements have been made to water and sewerage services since Scottish Water's creation in 2002. These have benefitted customers in every community across Scotland.

Determining the improvements required - What is Quality and Standards?

Quality and Standards is the planning process by which the improvements are set. The improvements are expressed as Ministers' Objectives and cover improvements to:

  • Drinking water quality

  • The environment

  • Customer service

  • Enable new connections

  • Mitigate and adapt to climate change

Quality and Standards 4, the current plan, covers a twelve year horizon from 2015 to 2027.  Quality and Standards 5 will cover a twelve year period 2027 to 2039 and two regulatory periods.  It is acknowledged that planning over a longer horizon enables Scottish Water to plan investment more effectively and efficiently.

What are Ministers' Objectives/Ministerial Directions?

The requirements for each regulatory period are detailed by a legally binding direction. The requirement to deliver a specific set of objectives during 2015-21 and to plan and prepare for the delivery of a further set of outputs are available on our website, as are those for the previous regulatory period 2010-15.

What is the Technical Expression?

The Ministerial Directions for each regulatory period are underpinned by a list of locations at which improvements are required. This is known as the "Technical Expression" and is agreed prior to each regulatory period between Scottish Water, its regulators and the Scottish Government. This is one of the key documents which informs the Strategic Review of Charges and therefore the charges that customers must pay.

How is delivery of the requirements monitored?

Ministers have set up a specific group, the Output Monitoring Group (OMG), to ensure that Ministers' Objectives are delivered. The OMG brings together all major stakeholders in the Scottish water industry including the Scottish Government, Scottish Water, Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Drinking Water Quality Regulator, Scottish Environment Protection Agency,Citizens Advice Scotland and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. This group is chaired by the Scottish Government and operates to its protocol and remit.

The OMG produces quarterly reports summarising the progress made by Scottish Water in each quarter of the financial year. The report summarises progress in delivering Ministers' Objectives by reference to the targets and milestones shown in Scottish Water's Delivery Plan.

Progress for each output is colour-coded, reflecting whether Scottish Water is ahead or behind schedule and whether there is any prospect of recovering any slippage. To provide a more balanced view of delivery of the programme as a whole, and to recognise that some projects will proceed at a different rate than originally anticipated, the OMG has devised a measure known as the Overall Measure of Delivery. Full completion of the programme results in a maximum score of 250 points. Further details on the measure are available at information note number 14 on the Water Industry Commission for Scotland's website at: http://www.watercommission.co.uk/view_Information_notes.aspx.