Who does what?

Below is a guide to the main bodies involved in the Scottish Water industry.

Scottish Government

Scottish Ministers and their officials manage the relationship with Scottish Water and its regulators within the statutory framework established by the Scottish Parliament. Scottish Ministers set the objectives for the industry (as set out in the Ministerial Directions) and the principles that should underpin charges (as set out in the Principles of Charging Statement). More information on the Directions can be found in the improving services section and more information on the Principles of Charging Statement can be found in the water charges section.

Scottish Water

Scottish Water provides clean safe drinking water to 2.2 million households and 130,000 business customers in Scotland. Every day it supplies 2.3 billion litres of treated drinking water and takes away nearly one billion litres of wastewater from customers' properties and treats it carefully before returning it safely to the environment.

Scottish Water is a public corporation accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. Its performance is therefore subject to scrutiny by the Parliament and the Parliament's auditors, the Auditor General.

Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS)

WICS's statutory task is to determine price limits for Scottish Water based on the lowest reasonable cost of achieving Ministers' Objectives for the water industry.

There is a competitive market for the provision of retail services (billing, collection, customer management etc) to non-domestic customers in Scotland. All retailers must be licensed by WICS and a list of licensed providers is available from its website. For more information on retail competition for non-domestic customers, please see the page on non-domestic charges in the water charges section.

Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR)

DWQR is responsible for monitoring and confirming that the drinking water supplied by Scottish Water through the public water mains system meets the requirements of the drinking water quality regulations and is safe to drink. DWQR also advises Ministers on the delivery of and the need for future investment in drinking water quality.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

SEPA is responsible for monitoring Scottish Water's discharges to ensure they meet environmental requirements. SEPA also advises Ministers on the delivery of and the need for future investment in environmental improvements.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)

Citizens Advice Scotland is the statutory organisation which campaigns for a fair deal for consumers in Scotland. It undertakes:

  • Representation - to provide advice and information, make proposals and represent the views of consumers to Ministers, regulators, European Institutions and any other relevant person.
  • Research - to obtain information about consumer matters and consumers views on those matters.
  • Information - to facilitate the dissemination of advice and information to consumers.
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

SPSO acts as the final stage for handling complaints about most public services in Scotland.

Outputs Monitoring Group (OMG)

Ministers have set up a specific group, the Outputs Monitoring Group, 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, WICS, DWQR, SEPA, CAS and SPSO. This group is chaired by the Scottish Government and operates to its protocol and remit.

For more information on how Ministers' Objectives are set and monitored, please see the improving services section.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee

This is a Scottish Parliamentary Committee which regularly takes evidence from the water industry.