OFWAT fines Severn Trent Water

OFWAT fines Severn Trent Water £35.8million pounds.

Britain's second-largest water company is to be fined by Ofwat for supplying false data to the regulator and providing poor customer service. It admitted two charges of fraud in court today with Chief Executive Tony Wray blaming the old management regime. "There is no doubt that the previous regime and culture in place during the era from 2000 to 2004 was overly bureaucratic and lacked sufficient controls and procedures."

Also in the news recently were rival Southern Water who were hit with a £20.3m fine, also for providing false data and bad customer service. Whilst in the power industry, National Grid was fined £41.6m by energy watchdog Ofgem in February, the largest penalty imposed by a UK regulator.

So what is going wrong in our regulated industries? Is it inept management or untrustworthy employees? We do not believe either to be the case and in our view, very few people come to work to do a bad job, or to consciously deceive others. The failure we think comes from inheriting a culture, systems and processes that were more appropriate to a different era and which simply do not work in the 21st century where open markets and commercial operations are becoming the norm. Most organisations are genuinely trying to change their cultures but as Jarri Sandström, HR Director of E.UK says "you don't change cultures overnight".

Jari is right in some respects but if the commitment and support are there at the top of the organisation, then it is possible to accelerate the process of change. At DevelopChange we have developed a range of interventions and tools that will help your organisation. These can help to introduce the necessary changes to your culture, with significant and lasting benefits, within one to two years. The benefits are quantifiable, allowing you to see the return on your investment and will help you to reduce your corporate risks at the same time as improving outputs and effectiveness. For a no obligation meeting to discuss our approach and the benefits for your organisation, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it