october 2012 | thameswater.co.uk
Thames Water enters the
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answers your questions
GOLD RIVER RUSH Olympic stars shine at raft race BY STUART WHITE
lympic rowing champion Andy Triggs Hodge swapped his gold with Thames Water torchbearer Gordon Ralphs at this year’s “fantastic” raft race. The annual event raised more than £30,000 for charity WaterAid as 37 Olympic-
themed teams battled it out on the Thames in Reading on September 13. Thames Water-backed Triggs Hodge was the star attraction amidst the chaos. He said: “This event was fantastic and I had so much fun taking part. Sharing the joy of my gold medal is all part of the fun and Thames Water has helped me in my career right from the start.” Gordon was one of the many who got
to wear his London 2012 gold, calling it a “special experience”. He said: “Andy epitomised everything I had hoped for in an Olympian – modest, driven and a genuinely interesting person to talk to, and a sporting inspiration. He also seemed genuinely interested in my small contribution to the Olympics. “Once again the race delivered on all fronts. I am always impressed at the quality of the fancy dress and lack of quality of the rafts.” See pages 2 and 3 for the full story.
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PR14 team at Mayor’s Thames Festival
Licence to sell water across country Awards for water efficiency campaigns Health and safety awards launch and news Ask Martin: chief executive answers your questions
Paresh ‘The Bull’ Kavia and the comms team
Editor’s column The month ended in style with a party to thank everyone involved in London 2012 and the drought. I held the print deadline over a few days to include the celebrations, which is why this Source is out a little later – see the centre spread. I was grateful to receive a message from ‘Games Maker’ David Hall who thanked me for letting him “share the most fantastic experience I have ever had” – read about his time in Stratford on page four. I’d also like to thank Richard Albanese for giving me an in-depth tour of Kew Bridge Steam Museum. The whole place is being rebranded and revamped, and there will be regular updates here as things happen. But the biggest shout-out goes to my wife who gave birth to Ruby Elizabeth White on September 14, with a broken arm. Incredible. Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org 2 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Medal winner t Living up to their reputation as winners of the least sporting behaviour medal, NATALIE SLATER from the media team gives a totally biased and self-congratulatory report on 2012’s raft race
s always, it was an oar-some event the annual Thames Water raft race to raise money for WaterAid. A staggering £30,000 plus was raised for the charity by 37 teams, who took to the River Thames at Caversham Bridge in Reading on rafts, themed as Olympic cities, hoping to paddle their way to glory. From German lederhosens to Australian kangaroos, the fancy dress did not disappoint, and Olympic gold medal winner Andy Triggs Hodge was the star attraction as he took his rowing ability to the next level by jumping on board with the communications and brand Team Pumped. Having eagerly told the watching media how excited he was to get involved with a raft race to raise money for charity and how he was confident of picking up another gold, the 6ft-and-some blond-haired muscle man was shown to his slightly rotting plank of a vessel. Team Pumped had acquired their ‘raft’ from the roof of a portakabin at Reading’s Fobney
water works, thanks to a helping hand from site boss Andrew Grant. In hindsight, there was a reason it had been abandoned for so many years. After robing its degrading form beneath some GB table cloth (style over substance, darling), the team were ready to go and
“SHARING THE JOY OF MY GOLD MEDAL IS ALL PART OF THE FUN AND THAMES WATER HAS HELPED ME IN MY CAREER RIGHT FROM THE START” despite jeering from others, the glorified table top (raft), was placed in the water. With his Olympic gold medal tucked neatly in his Team GB rucksack on the banks of the River Thames, Hodge was set to paddle to victory along the gruelling course. The horn sounded and the teams were off. Captain Carbon’s Carnival crew had a storming
turns raft race sinner start and looked comfortable and relaxed in the water – the winners looked decided from the start. But the water was less kind to Team Pumped and just metres away from the start line, the raft capsized. As the Olympian tested his swimming skills, he decided to lead the rest of the team on a course of mischief – attempting to pull others into the water. With Hodge as the ring-leader, chaos ensued. Under his Olympian leadership, media manager Simon Evans was encouraged to sabotage the leaders, Captain Carbon’s Carnival, who were left picking up silver as Peter Brett Associate’s team took gold. But let’s remember the real winners - the charity whose donations can help some of the poorest people in the world. And Hodge did not leave the race empty-handed, as Team Pumped were awarded medals for the most unsportsmanlike behaviour. He said: “Our raft was certainly not made of the sternest stuff, so having come off within metres of the start line, it seemed only appropriate to meet the other rafters by welcoming them for a chat in the river.” On a serious note, he added: “This event was fantastic and I had so much fun taking part. Sharing the joy of my gold medal is all part of
the fun and Thames Water has helped me in my career right from the start. I have a lot to thank them for.” Jayne Farrin, head of communications
and brand, said: “The raft race is always a great laugh, but there’s a very real reason for doing it. It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year for WaterAid and this year was no exception. “We take for granted in this country that you turn on the tap and get clean water, and that we have such beautiful rivers running through our counties – other countries are not so lucky and that’s why we support WaterAid. The money we raise goes directly to helping provide clean water and sanitation to some of the poorest communities in the world.” She added: “I have heard rumour that John Gilbert, team leader of Captain Carbon’s Carnival, is still sulking about being thrown off the raft, but I can’t believe that’s true – it’s only a bit of fun!” The winning team of the 2012 raft race was Peter Brett Associates representing Amsterdam, in 16 minutes and 42 seconds. In close second was Thames Water’s Captain Carbon’s Carnival, representing Rio, in 17 minutes and 22 seconds. The Least Sporting behaviour award went to Team Pumped, Thames Water’s communications team, representing GB, starring guest rafter Andy Triggs Hodge. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/ raftrace2012 www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 3
‘Now I’m going to write a book’ Kemble Court shift contoller DAVID HALL was one of the celebrated London 2012 Games Makers. Here he reflects on the “most fantastic experience” of his life
Donald Thomas in his cooking zone
Let’s get the food on Cooking with a smile and Marvin Gaye in his ears here is Abbey Mills masterchef Donald Thomas. One half of ‘Ronald and Donald’s Olympics Diner’, the Murphys hi-ab driver – that’s a truck with a specialised crane attached – and international safety coach was ever-present at the hub stove and cooked up a storming Caribbean feast for the closing ceremony which had the Executive team drooling. Field supervisor Rob Piper said he “doesn’t stop cooking, doesn’t stop eating” and that his feasts made sure the shift workers in east London were well-fuelled throughout the Games. “It has been going down perfect,” said Donald. “I’ve been cooking since I was a kid. I was the youngest of five and was always in the kitchen with my mum. I picked everything up from her. “I always cook with my iPod in. It is my comfort zone, listening to Rn’B, classic, all sorts. My favourite is Marvin Gaye.” According to the grapevine, the 45-yearold’s Caribeean Olympic twist with curried chicken, onions, sweet potato, and roast potatoes for the English guys was a particular Sunday favourite. “The Olympics have been superb, everything is running smooth,” he added. “I’ve been here since the start and will be here until the end.” 4 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
On Monday, September 10 I took part in the Team GB victory parade in London and wore the uniform I have become so proud of for the last time. It is my intention to write a book on the whole experience – the best thing I have ever had the privilege of doing in my life. I had first registered my interest to volunteer at the Olympics in August 2008 and submitted my application a year later. My first selection event was nearly two years later in August 2011. This ended with a formal interview and in early 2012 I was offered a volunteering position with the mobility team at the Olympic Park in Stratford. My role had several responsibilities, including manning a mobility hub for wheelchairs and scooters, pushing spectators in wheelchairs and, the best job ever, driving a mobility buggy. I also needed a good all-round knowledge of the Park to assist the thousands of spectators passing-by and for giving informative buggy tours. A typical day would start with getting up at 2.30am, driving for an hour from my home in Hampshire to the outskirts of London and getting on the bus at 4.15am before arriving at the Olympic Park for quarter to six. You check in, and are then allocated your duties for that shift – all lasting 10 hours with
30 minutes for lunch. I would get home at about 6.30pm and in total I did 12 shifts in 14 days. It was fantastic, brilliant, awesome… I have had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people. A vicar from Elephant and Castle who was letting out his spare room free to Games Makers, a young lady from Newbury who had only been married a month and was camping at an east London rugby club, students sleeping on friends of friends’ sofas giving up their summer, a pensioner who came in each day from Southend on the
‘A VICAR FROM ELEPHANT AND CASTLE WAS LETTING OUT HIS SPARE ROOM FREE TO GAMES MAKERS’ train, a gentlemen from Wales who was at the London Olympics in 1948 and a Chinese man who said this was his fourth Games and by far the best. I also saw a host of famous people including Mayor Boris Johnson, cyclist Victoria Pendleton, swimmer Rebecca Adlington and presenter Chris Evans (every day). It was absolutely amazing, but I need to thank my family for all their support and my colleagues who covered my shifts, especially Bill D and Bob D for enabling me to attend the victory parade.
Driving a mobility buggy was the ‘best job ever’, said Games Maker David Hall
The capital delivery team celebrate their success
Professional and committed – great job All was calm underneath the greatest show on earth BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES
team to keep things on track at a time when public interest in Thames Water’s activities had never been higher. pectators flooding the Olympic Park A huge part of their contribution to Thames would have given little thought to Water’s Olympic strategy was putting together the hard work invested in the ground contingency plans that would support beneath their feet. operations teams should emergency work be Capital delivery’s London network team’s task required during the major sporting events. was to plan and deliver a number of projects Despite careful planning, they faced their and programmes of work to eliminate, as far share of challenges, not least in providing as possible, any potential disruption involving technical support to a burst 16 inch water main the water and wastewater network during the which flooded Kilburn High Road just days Olympics and Paralympics, which finished on before the opening ceremony. September 9. The capital delivery team also supported Antony Rippon, programme delivery manager, their operational said: “We looked at ONE RST THE FEA IS colleagues in leading CHR rol the condition of our cont of d Hea , a number of events underground assets, commended the capital delivery team such as the repair of like trunk mains, and saying: “They’ve done an impressive far ered deliv team a burst 800mm rising the of identified those which y man job. So , main at Store Road, were most at risk of more than I could have asked of them e adjacent to the ExCeL causing problems. going far beyond their day job to mak ible Centre, and the repair We were especially sure that we were ready for any poss unt of amo e hug a of trunk main leaks been e’s concerned about Ther . ome outc on the 1,000mm roads close to Olympic effort from everyone involved.” ‘Millennium’ main, venues and assets on which was key to resilience during the Games. the route itself.” Head of programme delivery Jason Aldred The team, led by principal project manager said: “I’ve been so impressed by the level of Danny Leamon, put together a detailed commitment and professionalism shown by the programme of activities representing an whole business. investment of around £25 million to get “Although capital delivery has received praise everything in shape. for its efforts during the Olympic period, it This included the Olympic Park 42 inch mains has relied on and received a huge amount of replacement project – one of the team’s support from many people across the business, proudest achievements – which despite joint venture partners and other contractors. significant challenges from the Olympic Delivery Authority and local services was finished on time. I would like to offer my personal thanks to everybody who has been involved in delivering At every stage, they worked closely with operations, asset management and the Olympic a great job.”
Clive Dickens, left, oversees the delivery of items from the dismantled Olympic hubs on September 11
Surplus hub gear donated to veterans Army veteran and Team Thames star Clive Dickens made sure unwanted gear from the dismantled Olympic hubs went to a good home. Surplus to requirements after the Paralympics, the equipment from both Abbey Mills and Battersea hubs was delivered to the Veterans Aid hostel in White Horse Road – close to the east London site – last month. This included fridge freezers, cookers, washing machines, beds, bedding, crockery, cutlery and various other items. Clive said: “Following the dismantling of the Olympic hubs, I suggested that we donate everything to the British Legion and in particular Veterans Aid. As you can appreciate having served in the Army for 12 years this is something close to my heart.” Veterans Aid helps ex-service men and woman who are in crisis, homeless or likely to become homeless. www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 5
Sunshine draws in the crowds at Mayor’s Thames Festival Thousands of people visited the Thames Water stands whilst enjoying the carnival atmosphere in central London BY MONICA KUMAH
t was a busy day for the Thames Water team as they spoke to visitors enjoying the weekend-long festival on the banks of the River Thames by Tower Bridge. As part of the Blue Ribbon Village, sponsored by Thames Water, the festival provided a great opportunity to talk to customers at the Thames Water stand and to discuss with visitors the need for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. An information stand giving people the chance to talk about the future services of the company was also a popular attraction, and between the teams they spoke to more than 1,500 people. The village included a river and environmental zone with stalls and attractions from charities and businesses involved with the river’s ecology, wildlife, history and industries that the
6 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
River Thames supports. Activities provided by Thames-based groups proved a hit, including swash-buckling sailors from the Golden Hinde, wildlife man Jules and his pond-dipping demonstrations, willow-sculpting workshops and kayaking sessions on the river led by Westminster Boating Base. Ed Dodman, part of the stakeholder engagement team, said: “Handing out our free shower timers proved to be a hit with many visitors and provided an opportunity to engage in a discussion on our long-term business plans and answer questions about our service. “The Thames Tideway Tunnel team were also able to show visitors models and short films about the project set to tackle sewage overflows, and had welcome representation from Thames 21 and Thames Tunnel Now. “It’s right to thank all the staff from the
Thames Tideway Tunnel team, Mott MacDonald, who are supporting the consultation on PR14 and stakeholder engagement who gave up their time to help out at the event.” On Sunday morning, MP Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Chairman of the Festival Trust, stopped by for a coffee and a chat at the stand with Festival Director, Adrian Evans. Karen Bermingham, from the Thames Tideway Tunnel team, added: “The scaled-down model of the tunnel, which illustrates how we plan to intercept a combined sewer overflow, proved popular with both adults and children and visitors to the stand were interested in hearing about the project. People expressed their support for improving water quality whilst tackling sewer overflows. “We also had supportive comments on how good the community consultation was, and many people were impressed with our sustainable fish policy.”
THAMES FESTIVAL Higher response than expected BY ANDREW BOYD Customers and staff have given views that will help decide Thames Water’s strategy for the next 25 years and beyond. More than 1,500 took part in a three-month consultation to help establish the main challenges facing the company and the long-term priorities it should focus on. Thames Water’s company strategy to 2040 will play an important part in deciding the more detailed proposals submitted to regulator Ofwat in its business plan at the next Price Review. The process, in early 2014, will determine the level of customers’ bills and the work carried out between 2015 and 2020. The first strategy consultation closed last month. It was held by independent consultants Mott MacDonald, who were joined by Thames staff at 11 public events staged to help gather feedback from across the region. Head of strategic business planning Sarah McMath helped staff the stand at the Mayor’s Thames Festival in central London. She said: “We had a higher response rate to the consultation than we expected, and many of the people we met at our roadshows were obviously pleased we were asking for their views. “One of Ofwat’s main requirements for the 2014 Price Review is we show our plans are supported by our customers. That goes for our longterm strategy as well as our proposals for the five years from 2015. “We will therefore look carefully at the feedback we’ve received to make sure the proposals we’re forming are in line with what our customers are telling us. “I’d also like to thank the more than 300 staff who responded. We’ll be taking their opinions into account as well, to ensure we capitalise on their knowledge and experience of the business.” Among the initial findings of the consultation: • Two-thirds of those taking part agreed we had identified our most important challenges. • Roughly the same proportion also agreed with the long-term priorities we had set ourselves. • When asked the most important challenges, issues identified included the availability of water resources, a rising population and climate change. The views expressed will be fed into the drafting of the company’s longerterm strategy, on which it will be holding a further public consultation. www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 7
Boost for good kitchen habits Thames Water has formed a partnership with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) to help keep sewers flowing. Cooking fats and oils poured down drains and into sewers is a massive problem for the water industry. Fat sets hard, blocks drains and prevents sewage from flowing. This can cause sewage to back up, especially when other unsuitable products such as wet wipes and sanitary items mix with the fat, leading to waste flooding into homes and streets, and having a devastating impact on the environment. The CIEH train environmental health practitioners and people employed in the catering trade, and this partnership will help raise awareness of the problem and provide guidance. This is a first for the water industry and the aim is to get the issue recognised nationally across hygiene certificate courses.
London Bridge essential works Thames Water has started essential work in St Thomas Street to meet the demands of some of London’s most important buildings. The company is relining 360 meters of water main that run between Joiner Street and Bermondsey Street to help safeguard the water supply for the London Bridge area. Thames Water has been working closely with Network Rail and Transport for London highway authority on this project and road diversion signs are in place clearly showing drivers an alternative route. Jason Aldred, head of programme delivery, said: “This is a really important water main and we’re making sure that it’s robust enough to provide water to some very important buildings. This work is essential to help prevent bursts that affect the area’s water supply.” The £4 million work started on September 10 and is due for completion in early 2013.
Crossness Honey: see page 21 8 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Operation Eldon Harris hawk Eldon was given the job of scaring away the growing number of pigeons hanging out at Thames Water HQ. The dashing two-year-old, who is trained to frighten and not kill, is pictured here with Mitie’s Michael Wakeham in the courtyard at Clearwater Court. He spent two weeks in September at the central Reading office clearing the pests from the roof and marking the air-space as a no-go area.
Entering retail market as the ‘natural choice’ Britain’s biggest water company has been granted licences to sell water to commercial customers throughout England, Wales and Scotland BY SIMON EVANS
wo licences which have been granted by Ofwat, the regulator for England and Wales, and WICS, the Scottish regulator, have marked Thames Water’s entry into the expanding competitive retail water market. Retail services include all customer-facing activities: billing, account handling (payments, debt management, meter reading), customer queries, as well as water-efficiency advice and tackling leaks on customers’ pipes. Business customers in England and Wales using five million litres of water a year or more can choose their provider for these ‘retail’ services. Piers Clark Meanwhile in Scotland all commercial customers can choose, regardless of water use. Thames will market its retail services through Thames Water Commercial Services Ltd, a newlyformed company separate from Thames Water Utilities Ltd, the regulated business serving 14 million mainly residential customers in London and the Thames Valley. The company said it aims to be the “natural choice” for business customers. Piers Clark, director of Thames Water Commercial Services Limited, said: “Securing these licences
marks our official entry into the competitive water retail market. “Under these arrangements, eligible business customers won’t see a physical difference in the delivery of water to their premises: it will still arrive at their taps through the same set of pipes. The difference will be in the customer service offering. “Large organisations, like supermarket chains or regional authorities, often have a raft of different water accounts with a raft of different providers and often across many different sites. “We will offer eligible business customers the simplicity of having one bill, one service provider, one number to call if there’s a problem and a range of products and services tailored to their specific needs. We want to be ‘the natural choice,’ helping customers to better manage this essential resource and save money on their water and wastewater bills.
“ONE BILL, ONE SERVICE PROVIDER ONE NUMBER TO CALL IF THERE’S A PROBLEM” “Creating a competitive market is good for highuse customers. They can now vote with their feet if their service isn’t good enough, putting the onus on us to provide the best possible service to both win and keep their business.” Until recently, only business customers in England and Wales using 50 million litres a year or more could choose their supplier. But in November 2011 this threshold was lowered by Ofwat to five million litres a year - whose average annual bill is £8,000 or more resulting in a far larger market for retail providers to compete for. This move is part of Ofwat’s ongoing plan to introduce full retail market competition for commercial customers in the water sector. Thames Water’s regulated business, Thames Water Utilities Ltd, provides 2.6bn litres a day of water to 9m people across its London and Thames Valley region, while treating 4bn litres a day of sewage from 14m people.
Twitter – one good, one bad Envir
onment Agency: “@thameswater Co ngrats on your Water Efficienc y Aw 2012 Chairman’s Aw ards ard for Save Water Swindon !” Angry customer: “It ’s a toss up between Sky TV an d Thames Water as to who is Britain’s Nastiest company. Sim Both foreign owned ilarity = and don’t give a s***”
with media manager Simon Evans
Each month BH drills down on the news and issues affecting Britain’s biggest water firm
Media welcomes move into competitive market
t is heartening to see Thames Water embracing competition,” said Times city editor Ian King after news broke in his paper that Britain’s biggest water firm was looking to “poach” high-use business customers from other suppliers across Scotland, Wales and England. Licences granted by the Scottish and English regulators marked the arrival of Thames Water Commercial Services Ltd (TWCSL) in the expanding water retail market. “Our aim is to be very competitive,” said a shadowboxing Piers Clark, director of TWCSL. The Press Association news wire followed up immediately, circulating the story to all the news desks that matter in Britain and Ireland. Positive reports appeared in the Independent, Mail on Sunday, ITV, Aberdeen Press and Journal, Scotsman, Huddesfield Examiner, Midlands Express & Star, Eastern Daily Press and others, including the, er, Times of Malta. Of course. “No, this does not mean we will be driving tankers of water from Farmoor reservoir to Scotland,” press officer Craig Rance had to make clear to an un-named regional BBC journalist. Well, that’s the easy bit done. Now we need to win some big customers, while keeping our existing ones. Our success depends on one thing: customer service. “
A Liz you can Banks on Pranksters from BBC3’s ‘The revolution will be televised’ hauled two handcuffed men dressed as schoolboys into Thames Water’s Reading HQ demanding they be told off for squirting each other with water pistols during a hosepipe ban. Liz Banks, spotting the ‘secret’ cameras, demanded the detainees be decuffed then whisked them off for a chat about using water wisely. In the end it made good telly. Liz, BH salutes your streetwise indefatigability.
Water babe Clive goes Brazilian In readiness for Rio 2016, Clive Dickens, Thames Water’s Olympic monk (Source’s passim), gave an interview to Brazilian TV. “Of course I’m open to being the mascot for the 2016 Games,” said Clive in his best Portuguese.
Not so sweet corn Enfield Independent reporter Hermione Wright, after touring Deephams sewage works to hear about plans to expand the plant, pleaded with her readers: “Go easy on the sweet corn.”
A piece of history
Newbury bursts a priority The Newbury Weekly News is taking up its readers’ concerns over burst mains left unfixed for many weeks. “We’re sorting this out as a matter of urgency,” said a Thames Water spokesman.
Supermodel Helena Christensen has revealed her beauty secret – drinking water. “I am always trying to force myself to drink more. My team carry bottles of water for me so I don’t forget,” the 43-year-old told the Mail on Sunday. BH confidently assumes that on her London assignments Helena’s water carriers refill her bottles only with the finest Thames tap water. Oh no, BH’s own beauty secret is now out...
Oar-right, guvna! Gold medal-winning Olympic rower Andy Triggs Hodge caught up with the boss of his local water firm at the annual Thames Water raft race. “You’re oar-some,” both said in unison.
Thames Water’s Russell Harvey, appearing in a Financial Times photographic reworking of Maddox Brown’s famous 19th century painting “Work”, said of his role in improving London’s infrastructure: “It will be nice for my children to think ‘My dad contributed to that’.”
Flusher Rob the media darling Chief sewer flusher Rob Smith pops up from a London drain in the Department of Work and Pensions’ latest telly ad to endorse the Government’s new ‘opt in’ pension regime. Rob, you’re a legend.
Don’t take my word for it... Thames is “a water company that has gone way beyond what it is required to do by the regulators. We need more of that in this country,” said Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury after our Save Water Swindon and Care for the Kennet campaigns won UK Water Efficiency Awards.
www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 9
HR roadshow gets rolling The HR team are on the road visiting Thames Water sites to help answer all your questions – ask them anything you like. They will be at sites up until next March with no agenda. The team will simply listen and, where possible, solve your queries there and then – or give you deadlines for when they will. They have selected a number of sites, including Walnut Court last month, across all corners of the region to reach as many people as possible. All are welcome to attend the sessions, with the next four at: October 8: Mogden STW October 25: Clearwater Court November 16: Kemble Court November 29: Maple Lodge
Business communications executive Tracey Newton has vowed to giveup smoking for Stoptober. The 30-year-old is joining a number people across the business and country for this month’s first ever mass quit attempt launched by the Department of Health. Research suggests that by stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stay smokefree and Tracey hopes it will be the spark to help kick the habit she started at school. She said: “I like a challenge and I don’t like losing, so once everyone knows it will make it easier. “Hopefully people will be supportive too. People lecturing me about how bad it is doesn’t normally work for me. My boyfriend smokes, which makes it more difficult, but can I do it? Absolutely.” As well as saving money, Tracey says that giving up cigarettes will help improve her overall health and fitness. “I really like running and am just getting into swimming, so quitting has got to help with that,” she said. “I’ll be running a marathon before I know it.” For more information and support visit www.smokefree. nhs.uk/ Stoptober. 10 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Water efficiency campaigns take the top accolades Thames Water has gained national recognition for two water efficiency campaigns at an award ceremony held in the House of Lords BY SIMON EVANS
are for the Kennet, a campaign to protect the long-term environmental health of the world-renowned chalk stream, was named best community-led initiative at the UK Water Efficiency Awards while Save Water Swindon collected the Environment Agency (EA)’s Chairman’s Award. Save Water Swindon, set up in 2010, has so far cut the town’s daily water use by an estimated 560,000 litres on the way to hitting its goal of one million litres a day by 2014. This has been achieved by giving residents free home makeovers and free water-saving devices – from tap aerators to efficient shower heads. Care for the Kennet kicked off last autumn by Marlborough-based Action for the River Kennet (ARK) and Thames Water as the country was heading into what turned out to be the driest two year period since records began in 1884. Speaking about Care for the Kennet, Defra’s Water Minister Richard Benyon credited the campaign for helping support his department’s national Love Your River (LYR) campaign. Charlotte Hitchmough, director of ARK, said: “Working with the schools and communities around the upper Kennet has been great fun, and I’m delighted that so many people took the water-
WEA care for Kennet
WEA Save Water Swind
saving message to heart and are now using less water and understand more about their river. Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said: “Projects such as Care for the Kennet are vitally important if we are to protect river environments for the benefit of local communities, fish and other wildlife. I hope that the award for this project will help highlight the need for us to do much more to protect the flow and water quality of chalk streams.” Speaking about the Save Water Swindon campaign, Alan Alexander, Waterwise chairman, said: “The wide-ranging partnership established for Save Water Swindon is impressive, and it is commendable that Thames Water has initiated a whole-town project – the first of its kind in the UK. It is an excellent example of a small-scale, ambitious project being taken forward to develop a bigger and better programme of work.” Rose Timlett, fresh water programme manager at WWF-UK, said: “It is a real pleasure to have been working with a water company who, with our help, has gone the extra mile in achieving measurable results to benefit local rivers and the wildlife they support.”
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK Drought and Olympic teams were in good spirits as they joined forces for a big bash to celebrate two jobs well done BY STUART WHITE
ll the hard work paid off. Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs invited all those involved in the drought and Olympics to a party to celebrate the company’s overwhelming success. Around 300 people joined Olympic champion Andy Triggs Hodge and a live band for the event, which proved a massive hit, at Shehnai in Reading on September 27. Martin said: “It was a double celebration and a big thank you to those involved in the drought and Olympics. “The drought could have been massively serious and I am grateful to everybody who played their part.
“In our own quiet way we have been leaders in the background. My personal thanks to everyone involved” “The Olympic ceremonies and events were amazing and the athletes an inspiration to us all. From Thames Water’s viewpoint all the hard work paid off and we have done ourselves proud. In our own quiet way we have been leaders in the background. My personal thanks to everyone involved.” Operations director Bob Collington, who managed the drought and Olympics, was also full of praise for the people connected, and those who kept the rest of the business
running in the background during the two high profile events. “A huge thanks to everybody involved,” he said. “I can honestly say, I have never felt prouder to work for Thames Water. The amount of effort that has gone in over the past five years has been absolutely brilliant. “But I also want to acknowledge all the people back in the business that did their day job and who allowed us to focus on the Olympics.” Referring to the drought, he added: “Anyone who has ever been involved in a drought, and I have been involved in five or six, knows that the minute you announce restrictions it rains so hard for the next few months it is virtually over. Yet again, exactly the same thing happened. “Fortunately the weather did its job, but we were well prepared and managed our way through it superbly.”
Pure gold from Andy Triggs Hodge
Big applause from Bob Collington. es Left, Clive Dickens with a Team Tham e | 11 mad had he d www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 ed Monopoly boar customis
Olympic gold is for everybody Rowing champion ANDY TRIGGS HODGE thanked Thames Water for helping him win London 2012 gold Thames Water has been supporting me as an athlete for a number of years, and it really makes a huge difference. The bottom line is it helps me train as hard as I need to because in rowing the standard is set high, following the likes of Pinsent and Redgrave. I consider myself a very lucky person. Twelve years ago I didn’t have much going for me. I scrambled around at a few things and tried to make my way in life. But it wasn’t until I found rowing that I realised I could be good at something.
“IT IS MY JOB NOW TO MAKE SURE YOU ALL FEEL THE POWER OF THIS MEDAL” However, I soon realised that without the people around you, you are nothing. Without the team I would never have achieved anything let alone Olympic gold. The road to the Olympics is uncompromising. My coach Jurgen Grobler set a programme with one goal, which was to eat 100 per cent of life out of every training session. If a rower has time to enjoy life outside of training he is not training hard enough. For three and a half years I was tucked away in Caversham at the rowing centre. He made sure there was no excuse for when the big day came. It was that sole drive. He pushed 12 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
us hard enough, and that medal and performance came from every step along the way. It involves a lot of pain and sacrifice – there are so many parties I missed. At the Games you sit on that start line with one thing on your mind. If you let all of those people down by not performing at your best then how are you going to live with yourself? That expectation, effort and time you have put in. It applies to Thames Water too. Clive Dickens was talking to me about practically living on the Olympic site for five years. He and the company committed to something. Thames Water applied itself to a project which could have failed. It could have been a huge embarrassment. But thanks to everyone involved, and the people across the country that made the Olympics what it was, I as an athlete was so lucky to win Olympic gold. But this isn’t my medal. The work and effort that went into my gold medal is a collective, national effort. This medal represents everything that went into these Games. It is my job now to make sure you all feel the power of this gold medal. Thank you.
Government thanks Team Thames for Games support BY SIMON EVANS
eam Thames has been praised by the Government for helping stage a hugely successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Jeremy Beeton, director general of the Government Olympic Executive (GOC), said in a letter to Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs: “I just wanted to thank you and everyone at Thames Water for everything you did in helping to make London 2012 such a success. “I was very impressed with Thames Water’s total buy-in approach in helping to stage what has been seen as the most successful Games ever. “There were many incidents where your approach prevented a major incident that would have adversely impacted upon the Games were it not for your action. Thanks again for everything you did.” Danny Leamon’s crack unit of 250 Team Thames engineers ensured several potentially serious incidents were averted.
Two days before the Olympic opening ceremony, a 42 inch-wide water main supplying the Olympic Park sprung a leak. Thanks to Clive Dickens arranging for a custom-made clamp to be flown down to London from Newcastle, the pipe was fixed within 24 hours with the outside word none the wiser. The night before the men’s cycling time trial, Locog engineers were working to repair a badly pot-holed road leading to Hampton Court Palace, the cyclists’ final destination and the grandiose setting for the medal ceremony. Locog called Team Thames for help. Overnight 16 tonnes of aggregate were packed down by Team Thames operatives, saving Locog’s blushes and ensuring perfect cycling conditions for the race that Team GB’s Bradley Wiggins went on to win. These are just two of the many situations Team Thames helped sort out. There are many more tales like it – as the Government knows only too well.
Leamon: ‘We smashed it’ Olympics principal project manager Danny Leamon said Thames Water “smashed it”. Talking at the celebration party, he said : “It has been an amazing experience. In order for us to be successful we needed to pull together as a business and stand together. I don’ t think anybody thought it would go as well as it did. It is an amazing achievement and I have this huge sense of pride. “Prior to Games, we said that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wou ld only get one chance to get this right . Well, we smashed it and we should all be rightly proud of everything we have achieved . “So many people, some it has been their way of life, have done such a fantastic job. I just wanted to extend my personal than ks to each and every one of you for everything you have done over the last few days, weeks, mon ths and in some cases years.” www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 13
‘Amazing, emotional and inspirational’ And on to one member of Team Thames who did win gold (and two bronze medals) at an alternative ‘Olympics’ BY STUART WHITE
ave Elsom is set to compete for Team GB in the World Transplant Games in South Africa next year after winning three medals at the British Championships. The 48-year-old Thames Water procurement manager who battled back to fitness after a lifesaving kidney transplant in October won gold in the badminton doubles and bronze in tennis and archery. He was among the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s 22-strong Games team which gained 30 medals at the four-day contest at Medway in Kent at the end of August.
in 2008 and he was forced to undergo six to eight hour haemodialysis sessions in hospital three times a week until his second operation last October. He returned to work at Clearwater Court in Reading in March following the successful operation. Now he feels on top of the world as success at his first British Championships looks set to earn him a place on Team GB for the World Games. Dave Elsom
“I AM NERVOUS AS HELL, BUT EQUALLY EXCITED AND BUZZING WITH PRIDE” Dave, who lives in Bracknell, said: “It was really amazing and emotional to compete in front of my family and friends, and inspiring to meet other patients. “My transplant has been an opportunity to live a more normal life and has given me a new lease of life.” More than 700 athletes completed in this year’s event, organised by Transplant Sport UK, representing hospitals in a range of sports including track, field and swimming. Dave, who was born with blocked valves, initially had a transplant in 2001 but it failed
Youngsters to design calender Young artists are being asked to design next year’s Thames Water calendar. Now is the time to ask young friends and relatives to take a picture or send the communications team a drawing of why it is so important to keep safe and healthy at work. The new deadline for entries is October 19 with full details on the portal. Danielle Southall, aged 12, designed this poster entitled Keeping Fit for Work the Thames Water way. Danielle is the daughter of Graham Southall, from the commercial department. 14 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Without a holiday in six years, Dave is just waiting on official confirmation before packing his bags for the Durban event next July where he is likely to play in his preferred sport of badminton. “I am nervous as hell,” he said, “but equally excited and buzzing with pride. To represent Great Britain will be fantastic. It obviously depends a lot on my kidney but at the moment I have no restrictions and everything is working well.” Dave said the sporting events are a great way of spreading the word of the importance of organ donation and proves how lives can be transformed. “To see young kids who have had transplants running around in the fun events makes it really hit home,” he said. “It is a massive decision, huge, but I would say if you want to donate talk to your parents. Many people carry donor cards but if you don’t discuss it with your parents they can still say no.” Dave started working for Thames Water on a two-week temporary contract in the warehouse in Bracknell 18 years ago. He then went fulltime before working his way up to his current position as procurement manager. He said: “Thames has been supportive throughout and we have always managed to work around everything.” Contact 0300 123 23 23 or see www.organdonation.nhs.uk to register as an organ donor.
Man arrested after shots fired
A man was arrested after a Thames Water contractor was shot at in a west London street. The engineer was clearing a blocked drain in Kensal Green at 1.30am on Septemb er 26 when a resident armed with two hand guns came out and fired at his vehicle. While one round hit the windscreen, fortunately no-one was injured. Officers from Scotland Yard’s armed response unit later arrested a man. A Thames Water spokesman said: “Wh ile we cannot comment on this case as it may well lead to criminal court proceedings, incidents like this draw into the sharp focus the risks our fron t-line teams can sometimes face. “It also emphasises the need to take the utmost care when out and about, particularly if working alone or at night.”
RORY CAN MAKE YOU A STAR He is the main man to contact for this year’s Employee Recognition Scheme. Source spoke to RORY BROUGHAL to find out about what’s new for 2013 in our latest tweet interview – with answers restricted to 140 characters How can I nominate someone for an award? Using the portal, by post or email, or by calling me on 47689. I will take the details over the phone. That’s 47689. This is new. What questions will you be asking? Some of the things people have done at work are amazing. I’ll just be trying to get it all down in a quick phone call. What’s your shorthand like? Will we have to talk slowly? Nah I’m a dab hand at quick note taking. Bring it on!
‘THERE’S NO EXCUSE NOT TO NOMINATE. SHARE THE LOVE’ But it’s best to avoid jargon when nominating, right? Yes, judges might be from different parts of the business and will not always understand technical talk. Neither will I. So what are you looking for? I want to know how they have brought the company values to life – but check out the booklet for all the details. Previously, only managers could nominate. That has now changed hasn’t it? Yes, the scheme is now open to all employees. So there’s no
Rory with head of communications and brand Jayne Farrin, centre, and business communications manager Melissa Varcoe
excuse not to nominate. Share the love! This will open the floodgates won’t it? How many are you expecting? Last year we had over 300, and this year Martin has told us to get in more. I’ll be a busy bunny but 400 will keep me and him happy. What do you actually win? A certificate, Thames Water memento, vouchers for an experience day of your choice, fame, a great night at the awards and a hangover.
Yes, last year’s ceremony was hailed the best-ever. You were there. What was it like? Absolutely brilliant! So many people from all over the business with fantastic stories all in one place. Makes you proud to work here.
And do you fancy yourself for an award after taking on this key role? I’ll take an award for epic amounts of letter writing.
PRIZE CATEGORIES 2013 Supportive (team/individual) Challenging (team/individual) Committed (team/individual) Reliable (team/individual) Purposeful (team/individual)
‘Bright’ engineer one to watch Thames Water employee has been named “one of the brightest and most innovative young engineers in the country” by a national industry body. Richard Smith, 23, from Reading, was one of six apprentice engineers selected by Barry Clarke, incoming president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). “I am honoured to have been chosen as the opportunities it
Any gossip from the night? The Riverside boys sure know how to have a good time.
will provide during the year are incredible and it will help me develop my career in civil engineering,” said Richard, who started working in Thames Water’s capital delivery department after graduating last year from Leeds University. As part of the ICE’s President’s Apprentice application, candidates were asked to submit a 500-word essay on ‘Ethical challenges: the conflict between the design brief and
Delivering our Customer Experience Volunteering Excellence in Health & Safety Behaviour
sustainable principles’. Richard added: “The main thrust of my essay was that ICE must continue to provide a voice to influence new Government legislation and ensure barriers for delivering sustainable designs are removed. “Ultimately, only by satisfying all sustainable principles – economic, social and environmental – will the conflict between design brief and sustainable principles be overcome.” Mr Clarke said: “We received a significant number of high-quality applications and while it was tough to pick just six, I am confident that I have chosen some of the brightest and most innovative young engineers in the country.” www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 15
Thames Water’s new graduates
Meet the graduates Cherry-picked from nearly 2,000 applicants, these are the 23 graduates who joined Thames Water at the end of September. The vast majority are on an 18 month programme with nine in operations, eight asset management, two in capital delivery and one each in HR and support services. Two others are on a three year programme in finance alongside their Chartered Institute of Management Accountants course. Their time at Thames started with an induction week at Reading Town Hall, where they were introduced to the company vision, mission and values. The team also met chief executive Martin Baggs and line managers, heard from representatives from each business unit, visited the operations management centre and both a water and waste site. The company received more than 1,800 applications for the 23 places. Each were subject to application form screening, a telephone-based interview and online assessments. Candidates also had to put forward why they were right for Thames Water in a three minute video and attended an assessment centre.
Swindon sewer collapse brings traffic misery Thames Water engineers repairing a collapsed sewer under busy Devizes Road in central Swindon discovered a 15 metrelong, two metre-deep void underneath the broken pipe. A company spokesman said: “This is a more serious problem than first anticipated, which will require a 40-metre length of brick sewer to be completely replaced. “This work could take up to three weeks, during which time Devizes Road is likely to remain closed to traffic. “We are really sorry to motorists and residents affected by this must-do repair work.” 16 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Power cables cross river to Crossness Heavy duty power cables had to cross the river to fire-up Crossness as part of the £220 million project to extend its sewage treatment capacity by 44 per cent BY SONIA RANA
wo 33,000 volt power cables have recently completed the 3.8km journey under the Thames to Crossness sewage treatment works. The Thames Water project team were forced to feed the supply from Barking as there was no available power on the south side of the river. The route required a great deal of planning and eventually took the cables underneath a housing estate, a canal, two dual carriageways and the Thames itself. Crossness delivery manager Tim Hockney said: “This was an extremely challenging project, both technically and legally, with many different stakeholders involved along the way.” To ensure Tim’s team could bring the cables across safely, on time and with minimal disruption, a total of 16 legal and technical experts were deployed to deliver the £11m project. He added: “The fact we managed to do this successfully is a real testament to the many people involved on the project team, including senior electrical engineer, Tim Smith, who lead the complex design of the scheme. “A special mention must also go to UK Power Network’s subcontractor Murphy, who worked tirelessly to ensure minimal disruption for residents and traffic by carrying out essential roadworks during evenings and weekends.” To bring the power cables across from Barking, the team employed a special ‘directional drilling’ machine to tunnel under
in front of Capital delivery leadership team ers sform tran new the power station’s
Thames Water’s Lawrence Gosden and Tim Smith inside the new electrical substation with UKPN
the various hazards and obstacles, laying the cable behind it. This small machine avoids the need for massive disruption to local people and businesses as it can carry out its work relatively unnoticed.
“THE FACT WE MANAGED TO DO THIS SUCCESSFULLY IS A REAL TESTAMENT TO THE PROJECT TEAM” The new supply cables recently reached their destination at Crossness, where they have been linked up to a brand-new, state-ofthe-art electrical substation, equipped with the company’s largest distribution transformers. The station has just been switched on, ready to distribute power to the work’s massive new extension. Tim said: “To mark the successful end of the two-year project, we recently opened the doors of the new substation to the UK Power Network and capital delivery leadership team for an exclusive tour, where directors from both ends closed the day with a handshake. “Next year, the station will be supplemented by a 2.3MW wind turbine, capable of powering 1,000 homes and up to half of the new site. It will be the first turbine to help power a major British sewage works, making an impressive statement on the landscape while contributing to Thames Water’s proud record of being the largest producer of renewable energy within the M25.”
Improvements will have a big impact Good news for the environment as ageing Deephams receives a £70 million makeover BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES
he capital delivery team behind the upgrade of the inlet works at Deephams sewage works celebrated the completion of the first phase of the project with a ribbon cutting party on site. They were joined at the works, which is close to Picketts Lock, Edmonton, by contractor Murphy and the operational team for an afternoon celebration which marked the handover to operations. Nick Fawcett, Thames Water’s head of programme delivery for major projects, commended not only the successful delivery of the scheme but also their exceptional health and safety performance – achieving over half a million man hours without a RIDDOR. Russell Waller, project complex delivery manager, said: “Deephams was an ageing works. Some of the equipment on site was nearing the end of its life so these improvements will have a big impact, easing the pressure on the existing pumping stations and inlet works particularly during heavy rainfall when flow can increase by as much as six times.” The £70 million project involved constructing a new inlet works, installing a new underground pumping station and providing additional storm tank capacity to help reduce overflows of untreated sewage into the river.
A key feature of the upgrade is the new 22 metre deep underground pumping station which roared into action for the first time on May 30, a month ahead of schedule. Russell added: “The new station has five storm pumps which kick in when the ordinary four dry weather pumps can’t handle the flow, taking it to the new storm holding tanks which sit below the inlet area – the two-storey design being a creative solution to the lack of space on site.”
‘THE IMPROVED STORM WATER STORAGE AND MANAGEMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN OF GREAT BENEFIT’ The team also replaced the storm screens and added two new ones. This means that in future, during periods of exceptionally heavy rainfall, any flow which has to be discharged into the river because the tanks have reached
Russell giving your author a tour of the completed works
their capacity will have been screened first. In fact, this is the part of the project which the Environment Agency is most pleased with, as it will reduce the amount of rag which ends up in the river. Russell said: “This impact on the river was the main motivation for wanting to finish the pumping station before the start of the Olympics, as the overflow point from one of the site’s incoming sewers is just a quarter of a mile from the Olympic site.” To make this deadline, the team had to overcome some big challenges, not least keeping the site operational during the upgrade, and took a flexible approach working with operations. Operations manager Jim Jenkins explained: “We’ve been working very closely with capital delivery and our contractor Murphy to ensure a problem-free transition from the old to new plant. “The upgrade is a welcome addition to the site’s ailing processes. The improved storm water storage and management has already been of great benefit and will have a positive impact on the environment for years to come.”
Nick Fawcett, Russell Waller, Murphy’s Paul Bourke and Deepham’s team leader Ian Bullock are joined by the team for the celebration at the end of August www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 17
HEALTH AND SAFETY Setting the bar higher As part of an update from the Thames Water AMP5 Health and Safety Leadership Team newsletter, JASON ALDRED talks three zeros I have been with Thames Water now for six months as capital delivery’s head of programme delivery for London networks. Having spent 25 years in the airport industry prior to joining Thames, I know just how important health and safety is and I am committed to helping us achieve our zero accidents, zero harm, zero compromise vision. I am passionate and uncompromising when it comes to health and safety and am fortunate to be a member of the HSLT. Being a part of this collaborative group allows me to have a positive influence on health and safety initiatives across AMP5, helping to make sure we do everything we can to get everyone who works with us home safely every day.
‘I AM COMMITTED TO HELPING US ACHIEVE OUR ZERO ACCIDENTS, ZERO HARM, ZERO COMPROMISE VISION’ To me the three zeros demonstrate our commitment to the way we do health and safety. As well as using a common language we all understand it sets the bar higher; walking by, turning a blind eye or not being bothered should never be compromised on. To achieve our vision we need to act and behave in a healthy and safe way all of the time. It is important for me to set a standard as a role model for my direct teams, contractors and the wider business. As a leader, if I don’t role model the health and safety values and beliefs how can I expect my teams to? I want each and every one of us to be passionate about, get involved with and actively contribute to helping us achieve our vision. I actively encourage everyone to focus on the welfare of each other.
Enter awards to recognise excellence The Thames Water Excellence in Health and Safety Awards were declared open at September’s conference at Reading sewage treatment works
ealth and safety remains Thames Water’s number one value and the annual awards are designed to celebrate achievements and excellence at work. They are open to all Thames Water employees, contractors, consultants and suppliers working for or on the company’s behalf, and given to those who make a signiﬁcant contribution to the improvement of health and safety. They aim to motivate individuals and teams to improve their overall health and safety performance, recognise and celebrate achievement, to reinforce great behaviour, encourage positive role models and reinforce that everyone is in this together, as one team with one vision.
“IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO RECOGNISE THOSE WHO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM” Chief executive Martin Baggs said: “Entries over the past two years have been brilliant with the standard rising each year. As a result I’m looking forward to seeing the range of initiatives that have been proposed this year to help us achieve our collective vision ‘zero accidents, zero harm, zero compromise’. “Nothing is more important than keeping everyone safe and healthy. It is therefore really important to recognise those who go above and beyond what is expected of them, those who challenge accepted practices and are always searching to achieve the best in
health and safety.” All winners will receive a speciallycommissioned award and donation of £500 to a charity of their choice, with the exception of the young person of the year (under 26) who will receive £250 in vouchers to spend as they wish. Those shortlisted will be invited to attend the awards ceremony, following the March 2013 Health and Safety Conference, where the winners will be announced and prizes given. Entries will be judged by a panel including highly experienced, independent health and safety experts, chaired by Mr Baggs. One winner will be selected in each award category (team or individual) and all shortlisted entries will be recognised as highly commended. Entry forms are now on the health and safety hub at www.healthandsafetyhub. co.uk. The closing date is November 30, 2012 at 5pm. For more information contact healthsafetyandenvironment@ thameswater.co.uk. AWARD CATEGORIES The eight award categories will cover work conducted during the calendar year 2012: Excellence in health and safety performance Health and safety initiative of the year Excellence in health and safety innovation Best practice in health and safety collaboration Best health and safety improvement Design contribution Health and well-being initiative of the year Young person of the year
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Putting the ‘health’ back into health and safety Health and well-being the focus at Thames Water’s sixth health and safety conference BY GEORGIE WILKINSON
ontinuing a recent trend of holding health and safety conferences on Thames Water sites, the latest conference was held on September 18 at Reading sewage treatment works. The event put the spotlight on health and well-being and was appropriately titled, ‘Putting the health back into health and safety’. At the conference, Martin Baggs spoke passionately about the importance of both health and safety, emphasising that the two must be treated as equally important across Thames and our contractors. Around 120 people attended the event with an audience largely comprising senior members of our contractor organisations, but was also attended by a number of senior representatives from Thames Water, including most of the Executive team. There were five interactive break-out sessions run by different external organisations. Everyone enjoyed hearing about case studies from National Grid and the Olympic Delivery Authority. There were also excellent break-outs hosted by our own contractors, Black & Veatch, as well as Thames Water.
Those attending were lucky to hear from Dr. Chris Pugh from Duradiamond Healthcare. Dr. Pugh is one of the leading occupational health physicians in the field and was the key note speaker at the event. He focussed on the ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘could’ aspects of what can be done in health and well-being. Everyone agreed that with our zero accidents, zero harm, zero compromise vision we must focus our attention on all three of these areas to ensure we are doing everything we can when it comes to the health and well-being of those working for us or on our behalf.
“THE HEALTH AND SAFETY MANTRA IS ZERO ACCIDENTS, ZERO HARM, ZERO COMPROMISE” Delegates were able to find out more about their own health and well-being with Wellpoint kiosks set up to measure individuals body mass indexes and blood pressure levels. In addition, a break-out session on musculoskeletal health resulted in toetouching stretches and other exercises. The conference saw the launch of the recently enhanced and re-branded health and safety hub and ended with the launch of the third health and safety awards, which, in keeping with the conference theme, now includes a category on health and well-being initiative of the year.
Safety hub aims for global impact
A new website has been launched to prevent accidents and save lives in the construction sector across the world. The web-based tool, www. healthandsafetyhub. co.uk, which currently has 40 ‘partner’ organisations, was set up to share hands-on health and safety information and best practice. The Health and Safety Hub’s mantra is “zero accidents, zero harm, zero compromise.” Martin Baggs, chief executive of Thames Water said: “The Health and Safety Hub is a major step forward for the water industry. This is the first industry-wide tool of this kind, and the first time the whole industry has been willing to share health and safety information in an open forum. “This takes us on from simply looking at numbers and statistics to driving values and behaviour, and, fundamentally, looking after our people. Not only will the hub prevent accidents, it will save lives.” Although it was created by and is managed by Thames Water, the website does not carry the company’s logo on its homepage – and for good reason. “This hub goes not just beyond Thames Water but beyond the water industry and into the wider construction industry,” Mr Baggs added. “Already we have had contributions from organisations around the world dealing with major clients and major projects. “This is a forum that is open to absolutely everyone, regardless of the size and nature of the organisation.” Organisations can sign up to the hub free of charge, benefiting from information contained within it while also helping other organisations by sharing their own. The Health and Safety Hub offers the following features: • A striking ‘hi-vis’ theme • Homepage automatically displays the latest content and health and safety initiatives • Powerful built-in search tool means relevant information is quick and easy to find • A forum pilot - assessing appetite for online discussion, feedback and Q&A • Allows partners to add documents, creating their own content • Instant sign-up process and option to receive alerts and the hub e-newsletter • A ‘share’ feature, enabling partners to email best practice resources to colleagues • Twitter integration: updates from the hub will be tweeted to digital-savvy audience • Easy-to-use logo bar on the homepage scrolls through partners • Each partner has their own section in the hub – their own site within the site. www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 19
Sun shines on fly fishermen Walthamstow Reservoirs saw 36 of the keenest fly fishermen take part in a scorching WaterAid angling competition. A total of £740 was raised from the event and the aim is to now get that match-funded by Thames Water. The biggest haul on one of the hottest days of the year in late August was taken by Charlie Abraham, who weighed in over 14lb for his three fish. He is pictured here accepting the trophy
from access and recreation manager Roo Newby, who presented the prizes and thanked all involved for making the day “a very special one”. Although it was considered terrible conditions for fly fishing, all but a handful of competitors caught fish and claimed a prize, donated by local angling shops. Thames Water also threw-in several season and day tickets to Farmoor Reservoir and Walthamstow reservoirs four and five.
Thames Water’s ‘BioBlitz’ proves we’re all ‘wild’ about nature From dawn until dusk, nature enthusiasts were invited to take part in an ecological survey to record everything that moved – bugs and all BY CRAIG RANCE
ore than 150 nature enthusiasts scoured Farmoor Reservoir in Thames Water’s first ever ‘BioBlitz’ last month. This event gathered data for use by an environmental records centre monitoring the changes to biodiversity in the area, identifying at least 250 different species including birds, bats, bugs and badgers. Pinkhill Meadow nature reserve is usually off limits to the public, but for one day only, BioBlitzers were given access to this special four hectare site and told to ‘go everywhere and record everything.’ Cathy Purse, Thames Water’s biodiversity engagement manager, said: “This was a great turnout for an important event and this information will add to the knowledge and understanding we have of Oxfordshire’s wildlife. It’s amazing that we have so many different species right under our noses.” The event was supported by Berkshire, 20 | october 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and Oxfordshire Ornithological Society. Plus the Environment Agency was there to show children how foreign invaders are damaging native species. They then got their hands on a tank full of American Signal Crayfish that have got their pincers into our smaller more docile Europeans ousting them from streams and rivers.
“IT’S AMAZING THAT WE HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT SPECIES RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES.” “It was a brilliant day, with all sorts of exciting species” added Erin Murton of BBOWT. “Pond dipping proved most popular, turning up some really weird creatures, including our find-of-theday, a water scorpion!” This was the first BioBlitz, but the results were so encouraging, Cathy has already got her eye on how to make next year’s even bigger and better. If you want to take part, contact Cathy on email@example.com
Beedazzled by sweet honey haul The last few jars of Crossness honey are now on sale at a non-stinging £3 a jar – with all proceeds winging its way to charity
Karen Sutton’s Crossness bees produced around 60 jars of honey
BY STUART WHITE
usy bees at Crossness have stung the odds by producing a crop of delicious honey just months after moving into the Thames Water sewage treatment works. Nature reserve manager Karen Sutton had been told not to expect any of the sticky stuff after welcoming two colonies in April and May as part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s Capital Bee scheme. But it seems the Queen and her army of workers really are the bees knees and the south east London works is home sweet home after the team extracted 13kg of pure honey at the end of August – now in Crossnessbranded jars. “It was very much unexpected,” said Karen. “We went into beekeeping on conservation grounds because honey bees are declining so dramatically and need all the help they can get.
“HONEY BEES ARE DECLINING SO DRAMATICALLY – THEY NEED ALL THE HELP THEY CAN GET” BEELINE “So to take a harvest this year has been a real February 2011: Sign up bonus, especially with all to Capital Bee scheme this wet weather which has training on how to keep the June 2011: Start training not been helpful to their important pollinators, a free hive with Ruxley Beekeepers foraging activities. The jars and a free colony of bees, while ive Rece April 26, 2012: of honey look great with Thames Water paid for the two hive Bee Capital their Crossness labels and it volunteers to also undertake the May 16, 2012: Receive tastes even better.” training, specialist clothing and a ey Ruxl second hive from Crossness Nature Reserve second colony. rs Beekeepe volunteers and staff have all Karen added: “It is surprisingly August 25, 2012: Carried been given samples to try but out honey extraction time-consuming, requiring the remainder is being sold once per week inspections at £3 per jar, with proceeds plus feeding and disease control, but all the going to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust – hard work has paid off. Ruxley Beekeepers a scheme being supported by Thames for the have been incredibly helpful and very next five years. knowledgeable, and they still provide support Karen has been working with Sidcup-based in our novice beekeeping activities.” Ruxley Beekeepers and Crossness volunteers The hives are positioned in a protected area Reg Northam and Roger Taylor after signing of the 20 hectare nature reserve, screened by up to the mayor’s scheme, designed to help tall reeds to provide wind shelter and drive the reverse the decline of honey bee colonies – a bees up so they are not a nuisance to visitors. massive 54 per cent in the last 20 years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find The initiative granted Karen free expert out if there are any jars left.
Rare glimpse of seabird
This manx shearwater was pictured by Andrew Moon at the Queen Mother Reservoir after losing its way in early September. Thames Water environmental consultant Andy Tomczynski said it was “extraordinary” to get this rare sighting of the seabird in Datchet, Berkshire. According to records, it is only the 20th manx shearwater – which looks like a flying cross – spotted in the Royal coun ty since 1883, and the sixth since 2000. The last four have all been seen on the Thames Water reservoir.
www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 21
Schools dip into water quality studies
Year six pupils from two Bexley primary schools visited Crossness Nature Reserve to look at what aquatic invertebrates can tell us about water quality. The children from St Joseph’s and St Paulinus had been learning about the subject as well as Victorian sewage treatment methods and cholera. Nature reserve manager Karen Sutton also organised a visit to the Crossness Pumping Station, in south east London, where pupils learned of the Bazelgette sewerage system and had a look at the restored Prince Consort beam engine. She said: “This fitted perfectly with what they’d been learning in school and they were fascinated.” The pupils then visited the nature reserve for some pond dipping to see how it can be used as a biological water-quality monitoring exercise. They learned about species that are pollution tolerant and about those that can only thrive in good quality water. The groups were all fortunate to see a range of aquatic creatures including cased caddisfly larvae, water boatman, pond skaters, leeches, water scorpions, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, as well as stickleback fish and even a common newt. Karen added: “The range of species indicated good water quality, but, as any child would, all they really cared about was catching the biggest fish, the fastest leech or who finding out who would win in a fight between a water scorpion and caddisfly larvae.”
Thames Tideway Tunnel inspires London pupils New educational tool introduced to secondary schools to help raise awareness
he next generation of engineers could be inspired by a new, interactive set of educational materials called Tunnelworks. The website features a series of short films presented by eight members of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project team who work in STEM-related areas (science, technology, education and maths). It is also packed with teaching aids developed in consultation with 25 teachers from schools in four London boroughs. Communications executive Scott Young said the launch of Tunnelworks is a key milestone in spreading the word. He said: “It will go a long way to raise awareness of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and demonstrate to students that their grasp of maths and science subjects is vital in opening up future careers paths.” Scott worked closely with Thames Water’s Clare Sandels and Liz Banks in the community investment team to successfully shape the project’s education programme. The maths and science lessons are targeted at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 pupils and are available free of charge. They cover science topics such as forces, pressure, wavelengths and electrical circuits. Maths topics include averages, area and volume, Pythagoras’ Theorem and bearings. Other materials available to teachers include interactive white board presentations, worksheets and project ideas for use in science
St Paulinus students analysing aquatic invertebrates at Crossness
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The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new sewer that will help tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s Victorian sewers and protect the River Thames from increasing pollution for at least the next 100 years
Section 48 publicity
WaterAid Lottery Lorraine Jinks, a projects accountant based at Nugent House in Reading, is the winner of August’s WaterAid Lottery. She scooped £800 in the monthly prize draw while AJ Dearden collected £50 after being drawn twice for a runners-up prize of £25. Other runnersup were: Lawrence Adams, DA Keating, Stephen Jakeman, Robert Hillstead, Carl Leadbeater, Robert Nockolds, Angela Barugh, SM Woodcock, David Parkes, Julian Tranter, WG Webber, WJ Perrett, JD Jaggs, AP Hatton, CA Gardner and SEM Theis.
or after-school clubs. Members of the project team, including engineers and programme managers, all presented topics to introduce students into engineering – some from Thames Water sites like Beckton sewage treatment works in east London and the Hammersmith pumping station in west London. There is a particular focus on inspiring groups under-represented in engineering, including women and ethnic minorities. Visit www.tunnelworks.com to take a look.
Patricia Stevenson from the project planning team with a cake celebrating the launch of the Section 48 publicity
Section 48 publicity is a chance for people to review the finalised proposals of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which is due to be submitted for application for development consent order by the planning inspectorate early next year. A two-page advertisement was published in the national and local press explaining the project and where the public could view the hard copy documents in the 14 London Boroughs affected by the proposed tunnel. When we launched our Section 48 publicity we also changed the name of the Thames Tunnel to the Thames Tideway Tunnel. This followed consultation with numerous groups that have repeatedly pointed that other Thames Tunnels already exist. The revised brand also helps to avoid confusion with Crossrail’s tunnel currently under construction.
Thames Water chief executive MARTIN BAGGS answers your questions in Source every month I have not seen one benefit of WAMI. As an NST, I am driving more and doing fewer jobs. There is less customer information, little job details, if any, never any meter details even on a customer appointment, address details are sometimes blank, just a road name, and raising a followon job is a nightmare – you repeat yourself box-after-box. I try to be positive about WAMI but it has made my job worse. Sometimes all you want is information but with WAMI there is a total lack of it. What is being done to sort these problems out?
Still a long way to go with WAMI team talks but clearly the messages are not getting out to all the teams and equally we are not getting to hear about all of the issues. But in the meantime here is a quick update. Following the feedback, a lot of the forms are now being redesigned requiring far less information and speeding things up (some have already been changed). Also, improvements are being made to the scheduling and planning of work to cut down on travelling and improve service. As I say, still some way to go but it is not just about improving the system we also need to keep people informed.
The Q12 scores are in. Which areas are the Executive team going to be focussing on this year? SHARON SMITH Process coach at Kemble Court The Q12 survey this year has been really interesting and has created far more debate in the Executive team than previous years. The new questions on health and safety and customer service have
“GOOD ENGAGEMENT USUALLY MEANS HIGH PERFORMANCE, GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND A SAFER PLACE TO WORK”
Why do we have a staff retention problem? I believe it’s to do with the way we are running this company. I love this job but at times you could just scream, and we have had very good people resign due to total frustration. Why can’t we keep our best people? GRAEME THRIFT Process controller, Maple Lodge
GUY WILLIAMS NST, Guildford From the feedback we received during the Executive Roadshows and also from talking to people over recent weeks it is clear we have not got WAMI right. The system has been delivered which is great but we still have a long way to go in how we use it together with the necessary training and support.
“A LOT OF THE FORMS ARE NOW BEING REDESIGNED REQUIRING FAR LESS INFORMATION” What is also clear is that we have a long way to go with communicating what we are doing to fix it – this has been covered in recent e-briefs and
given us a good picture on these key areas but more importantly we have been looking at the levels of engagement right across the business. We now have a really good model that enables us to look at the engagement scores in all areas at all levels, which provides us the information where we need to focus our efforts and the improvements we need to make. It sounds too obvious but good engagement usually means high performance, good customer service and a safer place to work. The key thing to look for is whether the teams are actually discussing their Q12 scores and following up on their actions – again it sounds obvious but these are the teams that are making the most progress.
Can you think of a caption for these raft race pictures? Best ones will be printed in next month’s Source
I understand there are lots of things happening in the business and that in times of change we don’t always see immediate benefits. This can lead to some frustration. But it’s not true that we have a problem with staff retention. Our forecast turnover rate for 2012/13 is 7.12% compared to a national figure of 16.1%, and our resignation rate is 4.4% compared to a national rate of 8.9%. This doesn’t mean I’m not concerned if there is frustration in the business. If there are things happening and you’re not sure why you should ask your line manager to explain it. If they don’t know, ask them to raise it further. You may then highlight things that are unnecessary and we can change, or you’ll get an understanding of why we are doing them the way we are.
Send your questions and caption ideas to Source editor email@example.com www.thameswater.co.uk october 2012 | 23
First class TEAM THAMES These commemorative stamps featuring some of Thames Waterâ€™s London 2012 heroes were produced to celebrate their gold-medal performances at the Olympics
Designed by: Octagon Design and Marketing Ltd, Britannic Chambers, 8a Carlton Road, Worksop, Notts S80 1PH. Tel: 01909 478822 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org