Water industry governance

Scottish Ministers are responsible for:

  • setting the objectives for the water industry, as set out in the ministerial directions
  • determining the principles that should underpin charges, as set out in the principles of charging statement
  • appointing the chairs and members of the boards of both Scottish Water and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS)
  • endorsing both Scottish Water and WICS' terms and conditions, including remuneration of their board members, senior executives and staff

Other roles, including the regulation of drinking water quality, are the responsibility of the organisations outlined below.

Private water supplies are the responsibility of owners and users and are regulated by local authorities. Issues with private water supplies should be discussed with the environmental health department of the relevant local authority.

Scottish Water

Scottish Water is a public corporation accountable to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. Its performance is subject to scrutiny by the Parliament and the Auditor General.  The Scottish Water Governance Directions 2009 set out the principles by which Scottish Water should conduct its business.

Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS)

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) determines price limits for Scottish Water based on the lowest overall reasonable cost of achieving Ministers' Objectives for the water industry.

Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR)

The Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) is responsible for monitoring the quality of Scotland's public drinking water and confirming that it meets drinking water quality regulations and is safe to drink. DWQR also advises ministers on future investment in drinking water quality.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is responsible for ensuring that Scottish Water meets environmental requirements, and advises ministers on future investment in environmental improvements.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is a statutory organisation that campaigns for a fair deal for Scottish consumers and assists with policy development.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) acts as the final stage for handling customer complaints for local authorities, most water providers, the Scottish Government, and its agencies and departments. Guidance on how to complain can be found on mygov.scot.

Delivery Assurance Group (DAG)

The Delivery Assurance Group (DAG) which we chair and operate, ensures the industry is delivering on the objectives that ministers set.