february 2013 | thameswater.co.uk
THE PAST Iconic landmarks and treasure guaranteed
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‘Biggest alliance in UK water industry history’ Christmas is a time for giving for Ben Atkins
Here are the pick of your snow snaps. The white stuff covered the region at the end of January and creative teams got to work. The ‘Be safe – it’s slippery out there’ snowman served as an effective warning to those at Darenth depot and was sent in by field operations specialist Lucky Obuseh. Asset development manager Mariusz Cieslak took the impressive head-standing snowman, Oxford NST Mark Taylor was at picturesque Leafield and the man getting splatted outside headquarters is Rory snow-Broughal.
Revamped customer-friendly bills in the mail Everything you need to know about insets Day in the life of a key accounts manager Cover story: interview with Claire Hallybone
Cycle to Work scheme open this month
Editor’s column Everybody couldn’t wait to get running. The New Year turned the basement changing rooms at Clearwater into an underground train during rush hour as men of all shapes and sizes wrestled with their Lycra to shift the Christmas excess. One lunch time there was a squad of 15 runners banking miles along the swollen Thames. Then the snow came, and now there is space again. Remember – fit body, fit mind. And the centre spread looks at the serious subject of stress at work. Also of note this month, apart from the picture of Rory (Broughal, pronounced Brall) getting snow-balled, is the news of the ‘biggest alliance in water industry history’, the feature on insets and Piers Clark’s day in a red van. And, finally, news just in... Walnut and Kemble offices will be contact centres for Red Nose Day 2013 so a lot of volunteers will be needed on March 15. Let me know if you are keen and I will forward on your name. Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org
2 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
England’s wettest ever year Last year was England’s wettest ever and the second wettest across the UK in records dating back more than a century to 1910, the Met Office revealed last month. Total rainfall for 2012 was just a few millimetres shy of the record set in 2000, the figures showed. Persistent wet weather which saw a number of records broken led to a total rainfall for the UK for the year of 1,330.7mm (52.4 inches), just 6.6mm (0.26 inches) short
of the figure for 2000. It was the wettest year on record for England and the third wettest for Wales, but Scotland experienced only its 17th wettest year and in Northern Ireland it was the 40th wettest. The Met Office also said there had been a high frequency of wet years since 2000, with four of the five wettest years on record occurring since the beginning of this century.
AS FLOODS STRIKE Grateful customers kept Thames team running on tea and sandwiches all night to save homes from sewage flooding
Paul Norman and his team did an excellent job in very challenging circumstances
BY SIMON EVANS
ngland’s wettest-ever year ended with a very soggy festive period – and misery for many people across the Thames Water region. Following month after month of rain, the ground was like a soaked sponge. Rather than soaking into it, rain was running off the surface. Rivers burst their banks sending vast volumes of floodwater into the sewer network. Thames Water’s 109,000km of sewers across London and the Thames Valley were designed to take wastewater from homes and businesses, not the full flow of rivers and streams. Across the patch many people were being flooded both by overwhelmed rivers and by storm and wastewater spilling out of the sewerage network. Cirencester, Oxford, the Lambourn Valley in West Berkshire, areas of Kent and Great London were just some of the places affected. Saturday, December 29 was the turn of Ham Island, which sits in the middle of the River Thames at Windsor. A combination of very high flows in the river and extremely high groundwater levels led to Ham Island sewage works being flooded. The pipe taking treated wastewater from the works to the river was two metres under water, so treated effluent from the works was adding to the rising floodwaters, which were fast encroaching on a row of houses. Wayne Daniels and Charlie Doherty, of Thames Water’s maintenance team, were first on the scene, closely followed by technician Paul Baker and area manager Paul Norman.
“It was puzzling. We knew the works was operating at 100%, and while the river was high it had dropped slightly,” said Paul. “Then we realised that groundwater, which is always high on the island, was bubbling up above ground, adding to the problem, and that the treated wastewater couldn’t leave the works.
“THEY DIDN’T JUST STAY UNTIL THE END OF THEIR SHIFTS OR WHEN THEY GOT TIRED. THEY STAYED UNTIL THE JOB WAS DONE” “The result was floodwater bulging like an incoming tide over a patch of grassland between our works and several of our customers’ homes. “The solution was very clear: we needed to get tankers down there immediately. If we could pump out some of the floodwater we could
stop people’s homes flooding.” By Saturday afternoon, Paul and his team had arranged for three tankers to attend. Within a few hours the tide halted, and a few hours after that it began to recede. Paul and his team stayed at the scene until 3am the following day, when it was clear the homes were no longer at risk of flooding. Grateful customers kept Paul and his men topped up with tea and sandwiches long into the night. A spokesman for Thames Water told BBC Radio Berkshire: “I’m proud to call Paul Norman and his team my colleagues. They did an excellent job here in very challenging circumstances. “They didn’t just stay until the end of their shifts. They didn’t just stay until they got tired. They stayed until the job was done. The result was these customers’ homes did not flood, so their start to 2013 was a great deal less unpleasant than it could have been.”
Hero David is a cracker! David Barry’s Christmas spirit shines on after he was named February’s Hero of the Month. The Beddington sewage works technician put in a cracking performance over the festive period to support his colleagues and customers. David had returned from leave on Christmas Eve and discovered there was nobody available to work the already stretched standby evening shift due to sickness. He volunteered immediately. David then gave up his Christmas Day when the heavens opened and he correctly anticipated his colleague would require urgent assistance. Team manager David Peers said in his nomination: “Dave is a quiet, unassuming individual who always gets ‘stuck-in’ and sees the dirtiest job through.” David’s actions in December show huge commitment to Thames Water and his colleagues. And the Virgin Experience vouchers he has won will hopefully make up for the time he lost with his family on Christmas Day.
‘Day in red van a real eye-opener’ Is it good for Thames Water to let other firms use its name to sell their products? Commercial director PIERS CLARK says all is working well with HomeServe We have many different types of business relationships with external third parties. Each has its own nuances and complications, much like most personal relationships. I have long been of the view that good business is all about how to ‘flex’ these corporate relationships. Business success only happens when both sides have gained something they wouldn’t have otherwise achieved. This may sound obvious but you would be surprised how often we forget this simple fact. Often, in a desire to protect our own interests, we negotiate terms which leave our partners reeling or wounded. This situation never, ever, results in a long term benefit. One corporate relationship which is often described as complicated is the one we have with HomeServe. I say it’s complicated, but actually it is incredibly simple – we simply choose to make it complicated sometimes.
“HomeServe enhance our brand and provide a sterling service to our customers” HomeServe are a large, national firm that sells home serving packages, including insurance against water-related problems. We let HomeServe use the Thames name (and our channels to market, such as leaflets in bills) and, in return, we receive an income. The more they sell, the more income we get. HomeServe has similar relationships with other water companies but the one with Thames, because of who we are and the territory we cover, is their most important. But is it good for Thames to let other firms use our name? How do we know they are not abusing our brand, pulling us down? We have all heard stories about dodgy salesmen knocking on the doors of helpless old ladies and talking them 4 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
Piers Clark, left, with Steve Vincent, the HomeServe Heroes Employee of the Year 2012
into sales agreements they don’t need. I want to go on record as saying I am very proud of our relationship with HomeServe, and I recently spent an afternoon on the road with one of their technicians. Sue Stevens, who manages our HomeServe relationship, came with me. It was a real eye-opener. As we followed a couple of HomeServe visits I saw just how fantastic their approach to customer satisfaction is. They were impeccable, dealing
HomeServe provide home emergency insurance cover and domestic repairs to Britain’s homes. Visit www.homeserve.com for more information.
with issues that ranged from the distressing to the (quite frankly) downright trivial – for all of them showing a level of professionalism and service that made me glow with pride. It is no wonder that we now often get customers coming to us at public events and commenting on the ‘nice men in red vans’ who sort their domestic problems. HomeServe are an excellent firm and I am proud that we work with them. They enhance our brand and provide a sterling service to our customers. I was so impressed with what I saw that I subsequently became a HomeServe customer myself. Fortunately I have not (yet) had to make a claim. If you are interested in hearing what they can do for you then contact Sue – I am sure she will happily advise.
‘Biggest alliance in UK water industry history’ Capital delivery director announces a “complete transformation” to the way Thames Water carries out its investment – using an ‘alliance’ delivery model
The alliance will decide the best team for each job
BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES
hames Water is the first UK water company to start the procurement process for partner organisations to help deliver its 2015-to-2020 investment programme, and potentially beyond. It is expected that in AMP6 (asset management period six) the alliance will carry out between £2bn to £3bn of essential upgrades to its pipes, sewers and other facilities. At the AMP6 supplier launch event in December, capital delivery director Lawrence Gosden announced a “complete transformation” to the way Thames Water carries out its investment – using an ‘alliance’ delivery model. The AMP6 alliance will consist of Thames Water, four design-and-build (DB) teams, a programme manager and a technology innovator, all of which will be represented equally on the alliance board. “By joining forces in this way, we can bring together the very best Thames Water and the industry has to offer,” said Lawrence. “The alliance will decide the best team for each job. Through early contractor involvement we’ll be able to share ideas and challenge the norm to deliver the best results for our customers.” In January interested suppliers submitted their pre-qualifying questionnaires in a bid to become part of what is likely to be the biggest alliance the UK water industry has ever seen. Suppliers who are successful in this phase of the selection process will be invited to submit tenders by March 1, with further assessment stages to follow in early spring before alliance members are then confirmed. Thames Water’s capital delivery team opted for an alliance delivery model after six months of research, which included asking employees, the supply chain and key stakeholders for their views on how to achieve aims in AMP6 and beyond. Lawrence added: “One of the killers of
innovation is not having enough time. In the hurly-burly of an AMP that’s what happens. “By getting our alliance partners on board two years before the start of the next fiveyear investment period, they can study the detail and look for the best, most innovative solutions, which, we hope, will enable us to avoid simply pouring more concrete.
“THIS WILL PUT US IN THE BEST POSITION TO ACHIEVE OUR AIMS – EXCELLENCE IN SAFETY, EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND LONG-TERM VALUE FOR MONEY” “Our alliance partners will be involved in the formation of our five-year business plan, due to be submitted to the regulator Ofwat in 2014. “We believe this early contractor involvement will put us in the best position to achieve our aims – excellence in safety, exceptional customer experience and long-
term value for money.” Suppliers involved in the AMP6 alliance will have a potential of up to 12 years’ work, running from the end of AMP5 (2010 to 2015), through AMP6 and extending across AMP7 (2020 to 2025). Lawrence said: “Our suppliers want long order books. This long-term approach provides that. Rather than ramping up staffing levels every five years when the regulatory cycle scales down then up again, they can keep them constant, saving money and delivering a better service.” He added: “Since privatisation in 1989 we have invested £17bn on improving our pipes, sewers and treatment facilities. As a result of this work tap water and the environmental compliance of our 350 sewage works are better than ever, and leakage from our 20,000 mile network of water mains remains close to its lowest-ever level. “Our focus now is to build on these achievements, so we can continue to deliver the best possible service for our customers long into the future.” www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 5
volunteering Crisis? What’s Crisis? Crisis is a national charity for single homeless people. They are dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change, and the Christmas project has been running for 41 years with many success stories.
“We give homeless people a nicer place to spend the festive season” Ben said: “Two years ago I met a young man in his mid-twenties, Luke, who was relatively new to the street after a relationship breakdown – the most common cause of homelessness. “He was found by the police sleeping in a skip. They had to encourage him to come to us as he felt the centres were for people in worse circumstances than him. “When he came to us he was on the verge of hypothermia. We were able to feed him, give him a fresh set of clothes and get him seen by the doctors. He also had a massage in the centre – the ‘first time anyone had touched him kindly in years’. “This year he returned to us as a volunteer.” A mountain of bedding for the guests
Christmas is a time Or so they say. BEN ATKINS is one man who takes his goodwill way beyond a pair of gift-wrapped socks and shower gel when the bells start ringing BY STUART WHITE
W One place at Crisis at Christmas costs £20.48 and provides: • A warm welcome and good company • Three nutritious hot meals – including Christmas dinner • A chance to shower, freshen up and get clean clothes • Health check and treatment from a doctor, optician and dentist • Housing and employment advice • Expert help with mental health and addiction problems • Access to year-round services at Crisis Skylight 6 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
inding down for Christmas is not the way Ben Atkins rolls. For 10 years, he has dedicated his festive break to helping homeless people in London. This year he even managed to talk a few Thames Water colleagues into giving up their Christmas Day, and the Executive team were so impressed by his commitment they donated £500 to the cause. Crisis at Christmas has provided vital services to homeless people in the capital for over 40 years and Ben, part of the transformation and change team, was the Bermondsey centre leader working 12-hour shifts, for nine days, for free. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “Crisis at Christmas is about companionship. Simple things like sitting down and playing Scrabble with someone. We made sure they each had two individually wrapped presents to open with
their Christmas dinner. We brought in a choir and sang karaoke songs. “It’s important to have somewhere to go at Christmas time, and the guests walk out feeling better about themselves, knowing people care.” Bermondsey was one of nine centres in London, open from December 22 to 30, and welcomed 100 guests. During their stay residents are able to see a doctor, dentist, optician or podiatrist, get a haircut, use the internet café, eat three hot meals a day and get new clothes. “Not only do we give homeless people a nicer place to spend the festive season, but we also tap them into services they can then access all year round,” Ben, 31, who lives near Maple Lodge in Hertfordshire, said. He was first introduced to Crisis by his sister and this was the tenth year he has volunteered. “It has changed my perception of homeless people,” he said. “I used to think it could never happen to me but I was speaking to a man
Delivering customer friendly annual bills Revamped bills arriving in the mail this month BY HELEN MAIN
hames Water’s new bills will be much clearer and easier to understand when they arrive through the post this month. The new-look bills give customers a better explanation of how they are calculated, and contain simplified and improved information on ways to pay and how to get in touch. The revamped lay-out is being sent to our unmetered customers this month for this year’s annual billing cycle, and will soon be followed by metered bills, statements and notices in March/April.
“The new bills show off the new brand in a fresh and customer-friendly way” Ben Atkins talked Tracey Newton, Stacey Bowers and Alice Cowie into giving up their time over Christmas
e for giving
Research undertaken in December proved the new designs are appreciated by customers and should help to improve satisfaction scores and drive down unwanted calls. Bills redesign project manager Michael Klonowski said: “We’re sure you’ll agree that the sample bills shown here are much nicer than the old black and white versions and show off the new brand in a fresh and customer-friendly way that should make all our lives a little easier.”
Both staff and customers will also now be able to use Thames Water’s new ‘View your bill online’ service, where you can opt to stop receiving paper bills in favour of an email notification when the bill is ready to view online. A new interactive tool on the website also allows you to explore the new bills in more detail, finding out exactly how they are calculated, what specific terms mean, and find links to selfservice webpages where you can pay your bill or set up a direct debit, for example. The project, led by contracts manager Julie Jones and her team, together with the customer change programme, has also seen the appointment of a new print supplier – Liverpool-based Communisis. They use cutting-edge technology to print bills, letters, notices and statements, at significantly lower costs than before. The first new products, Thames Water Welcome Letters, came off the press in the first week of December 2012.
The transformed youth club in Berm
who worked for Lloyds who got too involved in the office drinking culture. It spiralled out of control, his relationship broke down and two years later…” This Christmas Ben was also grateful for the added support from colleagues at Thames Water, where he has worked for just over a year. “Around 8,000 people volunteer in total and I dragged Stacey Bowers, Alice Cowie and Tracey Newton into it for a couple of days,” he said. “It’s nice to get help from people at work and the Executive’s personal donation of £500 was massively appreciated. That would have paid for around a quarter of the visitors to Bermondsey.”
NEXT MONTH: meet the redesign team www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 7
news NEWS Volunteers wanted The community investment team need volunteers to help deliver Thames Water’s flagship engineering activity the Network Challenge. They need volunteers to help engage secondary school students in planning, building and testing their own real-life water networks. This term’s events will be held in: •NEWHAM February 13 and 27 • SWINDON March 13 • READING March 26 More events will be taking place in April, May and June in Hounslow and Reading. If you are interested in volunteering contact Liz Banks.
Jan’s a WaterAid Lottery winner The winner of December’s WaterAid Lottery jackpot of £800 is a delighted Janet Passmore. It was the second time Thames Water’s corporate tax manager has scooped the grand prize in five years. She said: “I really do feel extremely lucky. That has made my 2013 already!” Runners-up in the monthly draw, each receiving £25, were: DG Saker, CA Gardner, V Hoosen Jones, Helen Burton, GV Eadon, WM Tavner, Louise Bancroft, Leslie Bonnyman, Allan Comins, J Haworth, TH Wilks, RJ Tull, PA Parkin, R Teague, Chris Webb, JF Davis, Nicholas Burkinshaw, Kevin Kelleher, Fiona Bartlett-White, Stephen Pulling, Rob Hales, Melissa Blake, Jason Beasley and Teresa Fisher. Each entry share costs only £1, and you can buy as many as you like. The more you buy, the more likely you are to win – and all the profit goes to WaterAid. To take part contact Ginika Okoye.
Barrow Hill before
Barrow Hill after
Council agrees green Barrow Hill plans Sensitive approach helps secure permission to turf over reservoir in congested area next to Primrose Hill Park BY HEATHER LEWIS JONES
£13 million reservoir project in one of the most developed and congested areas of London has been granted planning permission. Barrow Hill reservoir was constructed in 1826 but decommissioned in 2002 after ground movement was found to be affecting its structural integrity.
“This is typical of the challenges we face, delivering projects in highly populated areas” Although there was a need to establish a new storage reservoir in the area, obtaining permission to use the existing site was complicated by its location – a residential area next to Primrose Hill Park and half a mile from Regents Park.
Thames Water spent over a year engaging with the community and stakeholders, including ‘Friends of Primrose Hill’, councillors, the local school and both The City of Westminster and London Borough of Camden. Their opinions helped shape the company’s plans, including the decision to improve the landscape by replacing the existing barrel arched roof with a grassed-over roof. Features like nesting boxes and new plant life will bring further environmental benefits to the area by attracting a wide variety of birds. Scott Wilkins, head of programme delivery for the London process team who are managing this project for capital delivery, said: “Barrow Hill is typical of the challenges we face, delivering projects in highly populated areas. “The sensitive approach we’ve taken to engaging with the local community and the environmental considerations we’ve built into our plans are really good examples of how we are overcoming these challenges to produce better outcomes for local people.” The team are planning another phase of engagement to let residents and other stakeholders know what to expect when construction begins in the next few months.
Innovation hub celebrates first birthday The capital delivery innovation hub has generated nearly 100 ideas and suggestions in its first year. In that time it has helped save time and money, improve safety and reduce the impact of work on the environment and customers Ideas have included recycling old kit, like valves, to save as much as £25,000 in a London network tunnel inspection project. There have also been suggestions for new ways of working including ‘core and vacuum’ keyhole repairs of pipes under roads where a single core of tarmac is removed and then popped back into place after the repair has been completed. This technique saves time over traditional methods and improves the standard of reinstatement. Special projects manager Peter Taylor explained: “We’ve been impressed by the range of ideas added over the last year. The hub has put these great ideas
at our fingertips and is helping us to make more of them part of our programme.” Based on TWEXnet, capital delivery’s document management system, the hub is available to Thames Water employees with TWEXnet access and current capex contractors. “To be truly innovative we need to keep sharing the best ideas out there,” Peter added. “If you’ve come across something different which could benefit our capital programme, get involved by sharing it on the hub.” To find out more or to gain access to the hub contact Peter M Taylor or Mark Davis. Peter Taylor
Twitter – one good, one bad
Happy customer : Your guys are on site and replacing our mains supply. Brilliant job thank you :-)
with media manager Simon Evans
Each month BH drills down on the news and issues affecting Britain’s biggest water firm
Unhappy custom er: 10 days since we reported our garden flooding with poo. It’s now mm from the kitch en. You’ve done nothing.
‘Flushable’ wipes a drain on resources
TV ad for Andrex Washlets tells would-be consumers that the “toilet tissue wipes” are “flushable” and “biodegradeable”. The packaging says: “For best results, flush one or two at a time.” Our flushers, whose job it is to keep the bowels of London running, beg to differ. Danny Brackley, pictured digging out a vile blockage of wet wipes and fat from sewers under Leicester Square, said: “Only human waste and loo roll should go down drains. Anything else is sewer abuse. You can flush a lot of things down the loo – but that doesn’t mean you should. Wet wipes are no different. They don’t break down like toilet tissue. They collect in sewers and fat clings to them and before long we’ve got a hideous fatberg blockage to clear, which can in some nasty cases lead to sewage backing up and flooding customers’ homes. That’s why our motto is ‘Bin it – don’t A ragged off Danny Brackley block it’.”
Never let the facts get in the way… A London council, which, in the interest of discretion, BH will not name, announced in a press release that it had given the “green light” for a housing development on a riverside plot earmarked for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Local media reported the story with gusto, but it failed to gather momentum at a regional level. Far be it for BH to speculate but this was perhaps because, on closer inspection, journalists realised that the council cannot grant planning permission on a site safeguarded by the Government for a specific purpose without first getting Secretary of State approval. Still, what the press release lacked in accuracy it more than made up for with sophisticated wordplay, referring in consecutive lines to the tunnel as both a “white elephant” and a “dead duck”. Right, that’s enough of that red herring, I’m off like a deer in the headlights to count my chickens.
BH with Polly Mortlock
EXPERIMENT: wet wipes v loo roll
Troubled by this grim business, whic h costs Thames Water £1 million a year , BH carried out an experiment to test whe ther washlets break down or not. Equipment: two carafes, each half full of water. A piece of toilet tissue. A ‘flushable’ washlet. Method: Each swished round in a cara fe, as if being flushed down a sewer. Results: The loo roll immediately disintegrated, as it should: flushable. The washlet frayed at the edges but rem ained intact: should not be flushed. Conclusion: Wipes? Bin it – don’t bloc k it. Loo roll? Good to flush.
Looking on the bright side… England’s wettest-ever year led to misery for many of our customers over the festive period when rivers burst their banks and inundated our sewer network. Some people suffered the misery of sewage flooding their homes. But one householder, whose garden was flooded by sewage at Playhatch in Berkshire, managed to see the lighter side. “We’re not going to be able to use the garden for a while, but we’ll probably have the lushest grass in the area,” he told the Henley Standard. Email BH your gossip: email@example.com
Praise for ‘old school’ water firm On a positive note, a reporter for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ industry magazine spotted a leaky water main and decided to try reporting it to Thames Water via Twitter using the #tweetaleak hash tag. He got an immediate response and 24 hours later the leak was fixed. He said: “If ‘old school’ companies such as Thames Water can rise to the challenge and integrate new media channels such as social media into their workflows, then your company should be able to do this as well.” www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 9
Emmeline Smart and Erin Matthews
INSETS: everything you need to know Insets will continue to grow in number this year. But do you even know what an ‘inset’ is? Here, ERIN MATTHEWS and EMMELINE SMART explain all
ost of the customers that lie within Thames Water’s geographical area are served by Thames Water. However, there are some pockets that aren’t – these are called insets. If a new development is being built within our region, the developer can choose who they would like to serve their development with water and sewerage services. Water companies can apply to Ofwat to serve
these developments. If Ofwat agree, these companies then become the inset providers and are solely responsible for supplying water and/or sewerage services to customers within that development. They also provide customer services – like billing and complaint handling. For these inset sites Thames Water is only responsible for the provision of treated water up to the boundary of the development. Since Thames Water provides the bulk water supply, the inset provider then becomes our customer.
How many are there? There are currently 14 inset sites in Thames Water’s region and there has been an increase in applications over the past year. Currently there are two inset providers operating within our region. These are SSE Water, part of Scottish and Southern Energy, a large gas and electricity supplier, and Independent Water Networks Ltd (IWNL), who provide a range of multi-utility services.
What does this mean to me? As a customer of Thames Water, we
Case study: Kennet Island One inset site is directly across the road from Reading sewage treatment works. Kennet Island is a development of flats which is served by SSE Water, not Thames. This development was built in two phases. The first phase was granted as an inset by Ofwat in 2009 and the second phase was granted in 2011. This means that the customers who live in these flats pay SSE Water for their water and sewerage services. If they have a problem, find a leak or want to make an enquiry they contact SSE Water directly. SSE Water buys a bulk supply of water from Thames Water and it is their responsibility to look after the network in this area. 10 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
news treat the inset providers, SSE Water and IWNL, with the same high level of service expected by all our customers. However, due to the special arrangements we have with them, most of the interaction is led by the key accounts team. Therefore, if you receive an enquiry about an existing inset, please refer it to this team. Remember that the customers within insets are not served by Thames Water. Therefore, it is important we do not interfere with any of the day-to-day services delivered by the inset provider, such as leak detection, repair, metering or billing.
How can I find out more? If you would like to know more about insets and how they might affect you, get in touch with Emmeline or Erin.
“It is important we do not interfere with any of the day-to-day services delivered by the inset provider” Erin is the market operations manager and looks after all inset applications. She is the first point of contact for inset providers and makes sure the company provides a smooth and efficient service. She works with developer services, water quality, leakage, operations, billing, legal and key accounts to provide a coherent and reliable service to this new type of customer. Emmeline first became involved with insets as regulatory metering manager and is currently leading a project for her Foundation Leadership Programme to improve current processes regarding insets. The hope is that by building awareness the company can provide the best customer service to inset providers and not mistake their customers for its own.
Health kiosk reveals all
Machine measures your weight, body mass index, fat content, blood pressure and heart rate BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES
he health and safety leadership team (HSLT) is sponsoring a new initiative at Rose Kiln Court to help staff make a health-conscious start to 2013. After the massive success of Wellpoint kiosks at September’s health and safety conference, the HSLT were keen to give Thames Water employees a chance to try out the intuitive machine for themselves. This state-of-the-art touch-screen kiosk is easy to use and takes just a few minutes to measure your basic health statistics – like weight, body mass index, body fat content, blood pressure and heart rate.
“THE HEALTH KIOSK IS LOCATED IN THE RECEPTION AREA AT ROSE KILN COURT IN READING” Test results can be printed or emailed to you and you can register to track your progress over time. The two-month trial, funded by capital delivery contractor Optimise, is open to all, and people have been queuing up to try it out since its arrival in January. Although the machine tracks how many people use it, the results are confidential –
dream come true
Head of programme delivery Andy Popple looks happy with his results
saved under a self-selected username. The kiosk is located in the reception area so if you’re at Rose Kiln Court in Reading this month give it a try and use the feedback forms to let us know what you think.
Team Beckton sent Isabella to Disneyland
The operations staff and contractors at Beckton rose to the challenge of sending Isabella to Disneyland for Christmas. The two-year-old daughter of security guard Chris Coomber has a brain tumour and dreamed of meeting Mickey Mouse. The teams set aside two fundraising days for the Isabella Coomber Disneyland Appeal and managed to raise £1,651 to make her dream a reality. To rake in the cash, the Lee Tunnel team baked enough cakes to rival any Great British bake off and sold them at their coffee morning and around site. The Thames Water operations team held a raffle, and Tamesis, GBM and visitors donated vast sums into the special pink collection buckets. www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 11
‘Life balance is the key’ MEG PENTECOST said the resilience and emotional wellbeing workshop was “useful and worthwhile” Changes at home or at work can gradually interfere with our concentration and ability to deal with the challenges of our job. We become irritable, feel anxious and overwhelmed on what really matters and put things off. I was surprised to learn that I was nudging into the stress curve, when I thought I was managing my team effectively. Life balance is key – making time for yourself, family, friends, planning activities you enjoy, trying to keep weekends work-free, all protect that. By attending this course I learnt that some things are not negotiable and, most importantly, there are small changes you can make that help stabilise the physiology of resilience – exercise plans, diet changes, relaxation time, sleep habits and alcohol and caffeine intake. I recommend this workshop to all managers. 12 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
DON’T LET ST GET YOU DOW Stress is a key contributor to sickness absence in the UK. But how can we recognise stress in others before it takes hold and starts to be a real issue?
we need to recognise that our bodies and minds can only take so much and so we need to adjust accordingly to make sure we don’t overload them. “The workshop helps us understand that it’s not always about trying harder, it’s often about getting the right balance in our lives so we can be more effective and more healthy.” Graham said the point of the training was to help his team leaders and managers identify some of the signs of stress in themselves and their teams, and to make adjustments to improve their support. “Looking after each other’s wellbeing is the right thing to do, and it will also lead to a better result for our customers,” he said. “We have zero compromise on health and safety, and we need to extend that to wellbeing. That doesn’t mean taking all the pressure away – some of it helps everyone to perform well. “It means we all have to be better at spotting issues early Graham Lunt says we need zero and rebalancing priorities. We compromise on wellbeing also all need to understand that
hames Water takes stress seriously. There is a range of support and guidance available for all employees to help recognise and deal with any issues you might be facing now and in the future. But it is definitely not straightforward, as everybody has different levels of stress in their lives and everybody deals with it differently.
“When under pressure we need to recognise that our bodies and minds can only take so much before we overload them” Developer services manager Graham Lunt recently attended a resilience and emotional wellbeing workshop, which is available to all managers, and was so impressed he arranged a follow-on session for all of his team leaders and managers. He said: “When under pressure
TRESS Eye-opening tours WN Politicians and journalists unite for Thames Water’s premium tour
it’s okay to ask for help.” Contact health and wellbeing manager Jill Cottrell or visit the portal for more information on how to improve your wellbeing. For details on the workshop contact training manager Carol Moore.
New health and safety DVD out now Thames Water’s new health and safety DVD ‘zero accidents, zero harm, zero compromise’ launched this month. It has been produced to help everybody understand their role in achieving the health and safety vision and is made up of seven modules, each supporting the company’s aims. The executive and extended leadership teams are committed to making sure everyone goes home safe and well every day, and a number of them have taken lead roles on camera. All line managers across Thames Water will receive a copy of the DVD early this month to watch at team meetings.
BY SIMON EVANS Chief finance officer Stuart Siddall took a gaggle of journalists and politicians on a tour of the historic sewers near Blackfriars Bridge. Among Stuart’s guests were veteran Fleet Street columnist Anthony Hilton, Tony Blair’s former gatekeeper Anji Hunter, Sunday Times reporter Danny Fortson, Angling Trust supremo and ex-MP Martin Salter and Westminster MP Mark Field. Many of these people also visited the Lee Tunnel construction site at Beckton. The tours took place ahead of the submission to
Picture by Daily Telegraph
The Lea Valley abstraction team know how to have fun while getting the job done
the Planning Inspectorate, during the first quarter of 2013, of a development consent order (DCO), or planning application, for the Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT). Stuart said: “The Thames Tideway Tunnel is six times bigger than the Lee Tunnel, which is currently the biggest-ever single project in the privatised water sector’s history. “The construction of the tunnel will create a total of 9,000 jobs, giving the UK’s flailing economy a much-needed boost.” He added: “Regardless of EU directives or the UK Government wanting this project to be done, sewage going in the river cannot be right. A decade of study has shown the tunnel is the most timely and cost-effective solution to what is a big and growing environmental problem.”
From left, chief flusher Rob Smith, Westminster MP Mark Field, his assistant Stuart Gardner, Stuart Siddall, ex-Reading MP Martin Slater, Times reporter Oliver Moody and Sunday Times’ Danny Fortson
www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 13
Million safe hours mark ‘fantastic’ BY CHARLIE MONGER The upgrade team at Crossness sewage works has passed an “incredible” health and safety milestone. The 200-plus strong team has now worked over one million man-hours on site without a RIDDOR (reporting of injuries,
“THIS IS FANTASTIC NEWS AND AN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS MASSIVE PROJECT” diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations) incident since starting the £220 million major construction project three years ago. Delivery manager Tim Hockney said: “This is a really good measure of how far we’ve come.
Thames Water and contractors Tamesis have made health and safety the number one priority at Crossness
It’s a proud moment and couldn’t have been achieved without the team’s commitment to health and safety. Preventing any type of injury on site is paramount and the team are dedicated to delivering this.” Nick Fawcett, head of programme delivery, added: “This is fantastic news and an incredible
achievement for everyone involved in this massive project to extend the works by over 40 per cent. “Getting our people home safely is our very top priority and the team have proven that zero compromise on health and safety really does make this vision achievable.”
‘A total turnaround in performance’ Business communications executive GEORGIE WILKINSON explains why chief executive Martin Baggs said this about developer services Developer services undertakes around £70 million of work for customers each year. During 2011 this typically led to around 35 complaints a month. However, when WAMI was introduced in November 2011 things didn’t quite go to plan. The implementation was more difficult than expected. It took time to adapt to the new systems and resolve issues, and during that period backlogs of work started to build. Customers were affected, and at the peak complaints reached over 600 per month. This rapid and unexpected spike created a huge challenge for the team. To help resolve the issue
they refocused roles in the team and dedicated people to dealing with complaints, escalations and customer issues. To bring the complaints and escalations down they needed first to pin-point the cause of the problem. This would identify where the process had failed rather than the customers’ description of the problems. Weekly action-planning meetings were held to focus on where the complaints were coming from and then put them right. For example, if customers were complaining that emails were not being responded to within five days they focussed on the
14 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
immediate action needed to rectify this. The action plan was adjusted weekly so each issue was focussed on and mitigated one by one. They adopted a case management approach, meaning one customer was looked after from start to finish by one
“THE OVERALL SUCCESS IS THE RESULT OF AN AMAZING COLLABORATIVE EFFORT ACROSS THE WHOLE OF DEVELOPER SERVICES” developer services agent. This gave consistency for the customer and increased the speed in reaching resolutions. Now complaints are in hand, the focus has switched to the ‘Rant and Rave’ tool. Using customer feedback and again monitoring the situation closely means that the team can
understand what pleases as well as disappoints our customers, and use the feedback to improve things further. It is outstanding to see that through their dedication, perseverance and great planning developer services has managed to move their complaint volumes back down to around 30 per month. Chief executive Martin Baggs wrote in his final 2012 e-brief message this was “a total turnaround in our performance – a great effort”. And I spoke to customer service manager Sharon Massingham about their success, and she said she was “really proud of the team’s hard work and dedication”. She told me the overall success is the result of an “amazing collaborative effort across the whole of developer services and the helpdesk – so a well done to everyone involved is deserved”.
‘Nothing but praise’ Here’s a small sample of some of the amazing stories coming through Thames Water’s Employee Recognition Scheme – keep up the good work!
COMMITTED Neil Cripps, technician – Nominated by Matthew Cotton Site manager Matthew Cotton nominated Neil for his commitment on the capital project at Witney sewage treatment works. Neil went far beyond the call of duty to ensure the project was completed on time, to a high standard and without putting the site at risk. Neil worked through the night on numerous occasions and often gave up his weekends to oversee the work. His positivity built strong relationships with contractors and inspired those around him to make sure the capital work was a huge success. Matthew said: “Neil has played a massive part in the success of this project. Neil’s
knowledge of the site and willingness to get involved has proven invaluable and I have had nothing but praise for him from the contractor staff and management. “I am in no doubt that a significant amount of the success of this project lies with the effort he has made – I am very grateful for this.” Dan Cleary, left, and Russell Brown were both nominated
SUPPORTIVE Russell Brown, project manager Nominated by Laura Lynch Russell was nominated by Laura Lynch for helping out in an area of the business he had nothing to do with. After a system change, Laura’s HR operations team needed help to fix an Excel spreadsheet. Despite having no direct responsibility to help Laura’s team, Russell set aside several hours of work, some in his own time, to help correct the problem with running the daily dashboard. It was an extremely selfless gesture. By doing this Russell showed incredible amounts of kindness and compassion. Laura said: “He has shown himself to be very supportive to an area of the business which has no impact to him.”
COMMITTED Dan Cleary, road risk analyst Nominated by Jill Sterry
Neil Cripps has been an inspiration
Dan was nominated for the concern he showed Jill Sterry and her husband following a road traffic accident that meant they were left stuck by the side of the road for hours. Despite it being late on a Friday, Dan remained at work and didn’t leave until a tow truck arrived for the couple and he knew they were safe. Jill said: “Dan stayed on the case with our roadside recovery firm for us and didn’t go home, despite it being a Friday. Without Dan we would have been sitting there for a lot longer.” www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 15
day in the life
From London Zoo to Gary Barlow Source editor Stuart White spent the day with key account manager OLLIE ARTHURS
llie Arthurs joined the bright lights of the retail team nine months ago. He has worked for Thames Water for over 12 years and previously spent most of his time within property searches. “It’s very diverse,” said the key account manager. “People may think we just manage customers’ bills, but that is just a small part of it. It’s more relationship and rapport building – we help iron out any issues and sell them products and services.” He has to be contactable and able to communicate at the right level to all his customers. He acts as the face of Thames Water. If his customer has a problem, like a leak or billing concern, or anything, he is the man they call.
What is a key account?
Ollie Arthurs is a regular at Paddington, having around 20 meetings a month with his key account customers including London Zoo, the BBC and University of London
stands and freebies for events, like its Go Green Week, plus provide information on work experience placements. And there was water regulations training for plumbers and advice on borehole abstraction. Ollie can’t do all this himself, of course, but he took the requests away and is now contacting the right people to make sure it all happens.
Thames Water’s high-end customers are referred to as key accounts. Put simply, all those who use a lot of water. Ollie, 32, who lives in Reading and has an 18-month old son called Lennon, looks after the higher education and culture sector and so his 60 customers include universities, museums and Buckingham Palace. These big hitters have different privileges to normal customers, with their own hotline and dedicated account manager.
“HIGH-END CUSTOMERS ARE REFERRED TO AS KEY ACCOUNTS. PUT SIMPLY, ALL THOSE WHO USE A LOT OF WATER”
What the customer wants…
Water drama at the Albert Hall
I sat-in on a meeting with Westminster University and within 45 minutes Ollie had covered a wide range of subjects. His follow-up actions included leakage detection and water audit advice and support. He was going to supply them with their last five years of water consumption data to help set reduction targets, discussed carbon footprints and gave an update on Thames’ automatic meter reading plans. Ollie is going to help book a speaker to talk to students on water efficiency and/or the Thames Tideway Tunnel, and will look at ways of providing in-house training. He will help with campaigns and provide
Half way through a Gary Barlow concert at the Royal Albert Hall at the end of last year, the water went off. All toilets were shut down and the caterers forced to close early. Had the gig not already started, it would have been cancelled. Gary is big news and this hit the headlines – and Thames Water took the blame. As the Albert Hall’s key account manager, Ollie was called into action. Following investigations and a meeting with the Hall’s senior directors, however, it turned out that the large number of guests at the gig had drained the historic venue’s holding tanks and it was not Thames Water’s fault after all.
16 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
Ollie is now working with the team to develop a water contingency plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “Basically, too many people (women) were flushing the loo at the same time before and during the concert,” Ollie said.
‘Exciting times ahead’ With the water industry now competitive, Thames has gone from three key account managers to eight. Part of Ollie’s job involves sounding out customers to find out if they have any other sites outside of the standard Thames region to tap into. And, like all good salesmen, to find out if they have been contacted by another rival supplier. “Some people may prefer a monopoly, but I see it as a challenge,” Ollie said. “These are exciting times – we could end up being bigger.” Gary’s fans had flushed one too many times
Unearthing and protecting the past CLAIRE HALLYBONE makes sure Thames Water’s projects have as little impact on archaeological and cultural heritage as possible BY SHAUN LOWMAN
enior heritage advisor Claire Hallybone doesn’t just have buried ruins to contend with when Thames Water launches a new project. Historic landmarks are dotted throughout the region, meaning hundreds of sites have to be assessed every year. How do you go about replacing Victorian mains in the Tower of London, for example? It was up to Claire to keep a constant dialogue with partners, including English Heritage, to ensure as little impact as possible on the Crown Jewels. It’s important for residents to see Thames Water treating their community with respect, but such detailed screening is not something the company is bound to do every time.
“EVERYTHING WE FIND ON THAMES SITES GOES TO MUSEUMS OR GETS USED IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH” “In many cases we’re not governed by the laws, because our work doesn’t need planning permission.” explains Claire, who has been in the role for nearly five years. By rerouting pipes around significant features or excavating ancient artefacts, Britain’s biggest water firm can promote local heritage while enhancing its reputation. For someone with a qualification in forensic archaeology, which involves analysing murders from decades ago, you may think Claire’s role at Thames seems a little more sedate. However, the scope of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project means there are some exciting finds to be had. “We’ve already uncovered a Mesolithic structure near Vauxhall Bridge,” says Claire, who can’t wait to take a closer look at the timber piles that pre-date the Pyramids. The team had to be patient though because of the tide and heavy rainfall at the start of the year. She said there’s a good reason why many of the best finds are on the foreshore sites like this.
Claire Hallybone says most artefacts have very little monetary value
“Waterlogging preserves everything – you can find seeds and even fruit that’s thousands of years old. It looks perfectly ripe if conditions are right.” As a result, Claire is predicting even more significant finds in Lambeth when work gets under way. So what actually happens to all this treasure that gets unearthed? “It belongs to the landowner,” explained Claire. “In reality, most
artefacts have very little monetary value, so there’s no point in holding onto a few scraps of pottery in the hope of making cash out of them. “Everything we find on Thames sites goes to museums or gets used in academic research.” Find out more about Claire and the team by searching ‘heritage assessment’ at www.thameswater.co.uk www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 17
cycle to work
‘Ideal time to get riding’ Supply chain payment agent VICKI MASLEN got her bike using the scheme last year I would definitely recommend the scheme. You get a new bike, make a good saving off the price and spread the cost. If you have been thinking about getting a new bike for a while then this is the ideal time to go for it. I saved around 20 per cent off the cost of the bike and use it to cycle to work at Clearwater Court from my home in Tilehurst, and also go out for rides with the family during holidays and at weekends. Halfords, where you get the bike from, were very helpful and make sure you get the right one to fit and suit you. The Cycle to Work scheme gets a big thumbs-up from me.
Pedal fast to save on new bike initiative The Cycle to Work scheme is spinning for all Thames Water employees until February 24 – get fit and save a fortune
he wheels are in motion for you to get your hands on a discounted brand-new bike, and spread the cost over the year. The Cycle to Work government initiative, running at Thames Water since 2009, is designed to encourage people to commute to work on two wheels.
“Savings are made by paying for it out of pre-tax salary” Thames Water pays the full price of the bike and safety equipment at first, and you hire it back over a 12-month period – making payments out of pretax deductions.
Reward analyst Clair Morland said: “If you want to cycle to work we can give you the chance to get your hands on a brand-new bike and safety gear like lights and a helmet. “Savings are made by paying for it out of pre-tax salary, reducing the amount of income tax and National Insurance contributions you need to pay. You also spread the cost over 12 months.” Thames Water is opening up the scheme to all employees for a three-week period only – from Monday, February 4, to Sunday, February 24. Throughout the hire period, any bike and safety equipment brought remains the property of Thames Water and there is no automatic right at the end of the scheme for you to own it. Details of how to participate will be available at www.benefitsontap.co.uk from February 4 or by calling 0845 299 0908 from this date. Please see the portal for further details and for information on what happens to the bike at the end of the scheme.
Lorry drivers put in the saddle Lorry drivers were put in the saddle to raise awareness of cyclists on the road and prevent potentially fatal collisions. Cycle Confident ran the course for Thames Water contractor J Browne, further developing an initiative being run by the health and safety leadership team (HSLT) on improving HGV safety. The training involved spending a large part of the day out on bikes learning new skills and understanding what it is like to be a cyclist on busy roads in Enfield. Bill Gill, one of 12 who completed the course, said:
“As a cyclist and a HGV driver I found the day really useful. It showed that like in any good relationship there needs to be give and take on both sides. “Cyclists can keep safer by giving themselves more
18 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
space and as drivers we need to be aware of what space cyclists need and allow them to have it.” Jeremy Browne, chairman of J Browne and HSLT member, added: “This is an
effective course which will fundamentally change the mind-set of HGV drivers and help prevent cyclist fatalities as a result.” Visit www.cycleconfident.com for more information.
Tino Capaldi, Rumy Datoo, Lenka Ramsey, Angie Frewin, Gill Shephard, Chris Finan, Nikki Osborn, Dawn Hennessy and Tom Wickens
We spent a lot of time understanding questions The annual Q12 survey is designed to engage the hearts and minds of all Thames Water employees. Here, TINO CAPALDI talks about how he turned his team around from Q12 also-rans to a best practice team The past year has been extraordinarily challenging for my team. On January 9, 2012 we went live with WAMI. The whole team pulled together and worked tirelessly to stay on top of the increasing workload. There were many problems in the first few months, as always with a new system, but as a team we never lost focus on the need for good communication, driving performance with our colleagues and not forgetting celebrating success. We also managed to squeeze in a couple of after work drinks to celebrate getting through ‘go live’. The problems are by no means over, but the team feel happy that by working together and being supported throughout the transformation we can now face any challenges. Our Q12 grand mean score was 4.36.
Although the team has changed around since the last Q12, this was a significant increase on the previous year’s score of 3.85. Ensuring Q12 was at the front of everybody’s mind throughout the year really helped to achieve the score. Firstly, we spent a lot of time really delving into the questions until we really understood them.
“Ensuring Q12 was at the front of everybody’s mind throughout the year really helped achieve the score” We had a section in each of our monthly team meetings to discuss Q12 and work through our action plan. One of the hardest messages to get across was that they were not generally measuring the company but were measuring me and our team as a whole.
The Wraysbury PaRC planning team consists of Tino Capaldi as area planning manager, planners, senior scheduler, assistant planners and business support. They are based at Wraysbury Reservoir and are one of three PaRCs (planning and resource centres) which plan and schedule all Thames Water’s above ground work to maintenance, process and production (sewage works, clean water treatment sites and pumping stations).
This understanding really helped in our discussions about where we felt strong and where we felt there could be improvement. Some of our strong areas were around the team feeling that they were cared about and their opinions mattered. They felt strongly that they were being developed, recognised when they were doing well and that they could trust and rely on their colleagues. We also had some small quick wins (like bringing some plants into the office) which made some of the Q12 actions visible and a reminder of what we can achieve through the survey. www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 19
HYDRACHILL Wokingham Mayor Bob Wyatt visits the Thames Water stand
Star of the careers show Thames Water volunteers were out in full force to support students in their quest for careers information in Wokingham. Around 2,500 attendees met staff from across the business – including property, HR, asset management, capital delivery and stakeholder engagement. During the day, students aged 14 to 19 years enjoyed building a real-life water network, looking at innovation’s bio bullets and talking about how what they do in the classroom translates to the water industry. And in the evening students and their parents took the opportunity to discuss skills and careers with Thames Water staff. Local key figures also visited the stand, including Mayor Bob Wyatt and Cllr Rob Stanton, executive member for education services at Wokingham Borough Council. Event organiser Gill Waller said: “Thames Water demonstrated how a large and diverse organisation can offer a huge variety of opportunities across departments and locations. The stand was absolutely brilliant – I heard many people comment that it was the star of the show.” Clare Sandels, community investment and education manager, added: “It was a fantastic opportunity to reach our younger customers, and talk to them about how their learning in the classroom really does translate to real life.” If you are interested in volunteering at school events please contact Clare Sandels or Liz Banks.
machine in full flow Water refilling station aiding hydration and learning at Henley River & Rowing Museum
chool children visiting the education centre at Henley’s River & Rowing museum can stay cool thanks to its new HydraChill Water Refilling Station. The HydraChill machine was donated by Thames Water and has been designed to illustrate the museum’s key themes, including iconic images of Henley and Olympic rowers, together with interesting facts on the River Thames and water itself. The new HydraChill two-in-one station provides all visitors with free chilled tap water with the added option of buying a museum-branded reusable bottle – which is available from within the machine.
“It acts as an interactive aid to informal learning, helping to inform on current health and environmental issues” Helen Cook, head of learning at the museum, said: “We are extremely grateful to Thames Water for this valuable donation. The HydraChill machine is an attractive and welcome addition for our visitors. “In addition to dispensing free water, it also acts as an interactive aid to informal learning, helping to inform on current health and environmental issues. Visitors also have the option of a souvenir reusable bottle to help reduce litter through continued future use.” Each bottle displays the renowned character of Mr Toad and costs £2 to help raise extra revenue for the museum. Thames Water community investment manager Rosemary Waugh said: “We are delighted the museum is so pleased with the HydraChill machine,
20 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
The museum’s Helen Cook with children from Badgemore Primary School in Henley
which is the first of a number of units Thames Water are donating to key partners in our region. The importance of good hydration, especially to schoolchildren, is well known and I am glad the machine also helps to promote the quality of our tap water.” Nick Davis, founding director of HydraChill Ltd, added: “This latest installation is a perfect example of how our relationship with the UK water industry was designed to function. HydraChill machines have been specifically developed to help promote the environmental benefits of mains-fed water and improve public access to free water. “We are preparing further installations with Thames Water and believe that such enhanced provision should ultimately become the norm for ‘onthe go’ users.” The next installations will be at Beckton sewage treatment works, in the visitors’ reception area, and Eversley Primary School in Enfield, as winners of the Thames Water Fit to Drink competition.
Mike Cannon, far left, with the graduates on a visit to the sewers at Hyde Park
All I expected and more MIKE CANNON says he is relishing every challenge above and below ground after joining Thames Water as a graduate energy and carbon specialist
have been working here at Thames Water as a graduate energy and carbon specialist since September. I joined following a number of internships and work placements having completed my BSc in environmental geography and international development in July 2011. I chose to pursue my interest in energy and carbon with the company due to the unrivalled opportunities the graduate programme offers. So far it has not failed to disappoint.
The graduate journey Due to the exciting and dynamic nature of the graduate scheme, the initial few months have been overdosed with apprehension, hard work and unique experiences. I have been particularly taken aback when learning how many underlying intricate
“I HAVE ALREADY STARTED DRINKING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF COFFEE AND CYCLING TO WORK”
business arms conform to represent the face of Thames Water, outlining how complex and truly successful the company is. I have already attended a vast array of placements, ranging from shadowing a network service technician to enjoying the pleasantries of Hyde Park sewer – the latter proving to be particularly enthralling. Such opportunities have granted me incredible learning experiences while presenting a number of key challenges throughout, the greatest of which is undoubtedly the need to assimilate large amounts of information over a relatively short time period. Despite struggling at times, I have found the challenge itself yet another positive attribute of the programme. Overall the whole process has delivered everything I expected and more and I am now looking forward to completing my placements and gradually being integrated further into my role.
Life in the office
My role essentially revolves around the 2014 Periodic Review (PR14). Specifically, I am looking to assist with the delivery and documentation of an optimised carbon impact programme associated with PR14, drawing up a comparison of carbon impacts from various scenarios with pre-determined targets. I am now becoming more involved with the implementation of the carbon mitigation programme while simultaneously scoping up an innovation project to be employed from now until March. I believe we as a team are approaching an interesting and busy period for which I am excited to be a part of. www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 21
news WaterWatcher hits the January sale Customer service agent Theresa Healy was thrilled to win the latest WaterWatchers prize draw. She hit the January sales with full force after scooping £250 in high street shopping vouchers in last month’s quarterly draw. Theresa, who has worked for Thames Water for 15 years, said: “I was so excited I gave everyone in the team a high-five.” Theresa is known to report a number of leads to WaterWatchers, a team based in customer service in Swindon who investigates reports of unbilled water use. They pay £30 direct into your salary for every lead that produces a bill. This will also trigger an automatic entry into the draw to win the shopping vouchers – accepted at over 85 leading retailers. Submit a lead via the new form on the portal or text 07797 800 808. Alternatively, email waterwatchers@ thameswater.co.uk or call 0845 301 0200.
Ofwat licence changes accepted
Crowds flock to see rare American birds Only the second inland sighting of the bird in UK history and “biggest ever twitch” in Berkshire BY CRAIG RANCE
ore than 1,100 bird-watchers lined the banks of Thames Water’s Queen Mother Reservoir near Datchet to see a buff-bellied pipit. The small songbird, usually found on the North American tundra, was first spotted on Wednesday, December 12, and by the following weekend ‘twitchers’ were arriving from as far afield as Belgium. The pipit was still present until Boxing Day when unbelievably it was joined by another buff-bellied pipit – there have only ever been two occasions of a multiple record of this species in Britain. The pair immediately disappeared but returned on January 9 and were still there at the time of going to print. Michael McKee, a member of the Berkshire
Thames Water has accepted Ofwat’s revised licence modifications, which will change the way companies can charge their customers. The company said on January 18: “The Thames Water board has decided to accept Ofwat’s proposals, and we will be confirming this to the regulator formally in writing by the January 23 deadline.” The regulator originally tried to implement changes that companies claimed would increase householders’ bills by £1,000 a year.
The bird, no larger than a Robin, most likely flew across the Atlantic in two days
Deephams sewage works upgrade supported by residents Enfield residents have shown their support for the Deephams upgrade. Community groups and residents were invited to have their say during a consultation between July and October and most agreed with proposals to improve the sewage works. Thames Water held exhibitions around the local area and spoke to over 700 people about their plans. Capital delivery director Lawrence Gosden said: “We had some really constructive and 22 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk
Ornithological Club, was the first to identify the bird. “The pipit probably got caught up in the fast moving air currents as it migrated south, ending up in Britain,” he said. “Buff-bellied pipits are occasionally seen in Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and the Isles of Scilly, but you almost never find them inland. You don’t expect to see rarities like this in Berkshire, so this is very exciting.” Andy Tomczynski, biodiversity compliance manager for Thames Water, said: “This is just fantastic for Berkshire birders. People like to see rare birds on their own patch and this is probably the biggest ‘twitch’ Berkshire has ever had. “This is only the second inland record of a buff-bellied pipit and the other was on another Thames Water reservoir in Oxfordshire, back in 2007. “The BOC were fantastic in their management of the day and I’d like to thank them for their help getting all the enthusiasts into the site to see this amazing bird.” Visitors were asked to make a small donation to visit the site, and over £2,000 was raised for the Berkshire Ornithological Club’s conservation work around the county.
thoughtful feedback from residents that helped us understand their concerns about our proposals. “Although a small number wanted us to move the sewage treatment works to a new location, but most agreed that upgrading our current site at Deephams is the best option. “A lot of the feedback related to the smell in the area so we are going to make it a priority that this upgrade significantly reduces the levels of odour.”
Work could take up to seven years to complete and, subject to planning permission, the main construction work is expected to start in 2015. The company needs to upgrade the site to improve the water quality that flows into Salmon’s Brook, a tributary of the River Lee. It will also allow Deephams sewage works to cope with the predicted population increase in the area. There were options for the sewage works to be moved to a new location, most agreed that it was more sensible to keep the works in its current location on Pickett’s Lock Lane. Thames Water will now start designing plans to be presented at a second consultation in 2013.
LETTEitRor to the ed
‘London’s Water Wars’ Dear Stuart
Andy Baldasera, left, Adrian Hurford and Simon FollowellMattin want to race you
Enter Green Park Triathlon now W e want you! That is the message from this triathlon trio ahead of next month’s Green Park Triathlon. The March 5 event is open to all Thames Water employees – not just Kemble Court workers – of any standard and is designed to raise cash for Red Nose Day. Andy Baldasera, 53, and in asset management, will get this team flowing with a 400m swim in the Nuffield Health Club pool before tagging in SCADA’s Simon Followell-Mattin, 45, and who has lost four-and-half-stone in under three years since taking up cycling, for a 17km ride around the Reading business park. The glory will be in the 44-year-old legs of Adrian Hurford, from operations, as he motors across the finish line after a 6km run. “We’ve got a chance of winning,” said Adrian, and the others nodded in agreement. “Last year we were
looking good until the runner got lost. He has now left the company so there is no excuse.” You can enter as a team or individual in the sprint (400m swim, 17km cycle, 6km run) or shorter distance (200m swim, 9km cycle and 3.5km run) fun event. The team added: “It is open to all the business, not just those who work at Kemble Court. We would encourage people of all fitness levels to get involved, either as a team or on your own if you’re feeling fit. And if you don’t fancy racing, come and support.” Last year, more than 300 people took part and raised £32,000 for Sport Relief. Why not put all your New Year training to the test? Visit www.greenparktriathlon.co.uk for more information and to register.
I was very interested in the article on the history of London’s water supply (January Source). Like Chris Reichl, I too ploughed through the old companies’ archives, when they were in the basement at New River Head, and published a book, London’s Water Wars (2000), about the early 19th century period of direct competition. The archives contained many fascinating items, such as wartime maps showing the locations of mains fractured by “enemy action” and the companies’ “letter books” into which were pasted hand-copied letters. The transition from the latter to boxes of typed carbon copies occurred rapidly during the 1880s. In about 1986 Bob Wates, then the district engineer at Hammersmith, rang me excitedly and said that a leak had been found from a trunk main in Kensington; the iron had the manufacturer’s name (I think the Butterley Iron Company of Derbyshire) and the date 1812 cast into it. The iron was in excellent condition with no corrosion – the leak had been caused by a “badly-made joint” having pulled apart, after 170 years! Bob had the piece cut out and preserved; it was housed with a suitable plaque in the Round House (base of the former windmill) at New River Head. Does any reader know what happened to it after New River Head closed in 1992? Yours sincerely, John Graham-Leigh Employee of the Metropolitan Water Board/ Thames Water, 1970-2000
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Source February 2013