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14 March 23

Affinity water achieves the BSI certification for helping vulnerable customers

Affinity Water has announced that it has achieved BSI certification against BS 18477:10 Inclusive service provision requirements for identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability for another year.

Achieving this certification shows how the business, the largest water-only company in the UK, is providing for the needs of its most vulnerable customers both financially and non-financially. This includes those who may have gone through a recent life event and have transient needs.

The three-day audit took place in January 2023. Affinity Water employees across the business were asked to demonstrate how the work they do considers the needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances.

Liz Freitas, Inclusive Services Engagement Manager, said:

"We are committed to providing a fully inclusive service for all our customers, so I am delighted that the efforts of colleagues across the business have been recognised during this audit. Anyone can find themselves in vulnerable circumstances for any reason, so this standard helps us focus on ensuring we are considering the needs of the widest range of customers not just those who are known to be financially struggling.

“We look forward to working with BSI next year when it will be updating the standard to an ISO (International standard) with a Kitemark certification. This further emphasises that organisations should focus on how services are accessible to all including using clear concise language to help those with literacy or cognitive problems or ensuring that customer journeys and processes are designed and delivered inclusively to vulnerable customers.

“The ISO standard covers a wide range of topics across our organisation and over the coming months we will be reviewing the standard in detail to understand what we need to be able to demonstrate for our next audit. We are eager to improve our services to vulnerable customers in any way that we can”.

Achieving certification against the BSI standard shows Affinity Water’s commitment to customers, colleagues and external organisations including its regulators that how it treats its customers in vulnerable circumstances is important to the business.

Fiona Wilson, External Communications Manager said:

“We are delighted to have achieved certification against BS 18477 again this year. It demonstrates how we are proactively reaching out to our 3.8 million customers across the South East of England in new and creative ways. We have partnered with local organisations and charities, such as the Citizen Advice Bureau, Reed in Partnership and Small Acts of Kindness to distribute thousands of our Priority Services Register flyers. We have also used our own channels to reach out to ensure the needs of vulnerable customers are met.”

Natasha Bambridge, Global Director Consumer Promise Practice at BSI said:

“We’re delighted that Affinity Water has once again achieved certification to BS18477, highlighting their work to provide a fair, flexible service to all, regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances. By achieving certification, the team has demonstrated that it has the relevant policies and procedures, training plans and fair and accessible practices embedded within its organization, benefiting the most vulnerable in society.

“We look forward to working with Affinity Water next year to achieve our new ISO (International standard) with a Kitemark certification.”

The LIFT discounted Tariff

If your household income is less than £17,005 or you’re currently claiming certain benefits such as Universal Credit or Job Seeker’s Allowance, you may be eligible for a reduced water bill on our low-income fixed tariff (LIFT). Further struggling to pay schemes are also available.

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