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12 January 21

Affinity Water achieves BSI verification certification renewal for helping vulnerable customers

Affinity Water has once again achieved verification certification to British standard 18477 for inclusive services provision and the service that the company provides to customers in vulnerable circumstances. It has now held verification certification to the standard since Feb 2019.

This British standard provides a framework which Affinity Water has used to help us understand the underlying factors involved in consumer vulnerability and to demonstrate that we are providing a fair, flexible service that can be used by all consumers equally, regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances.

Verification to BS 18477 requires an independent assessment by BSI, including a rigorous on-site audit, to demonstrate that an organization has the required processes for identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability. The outputs of these processes are also tested to ensure they are working in practice.

Liz Freitas, Inclusive Services Engagement Manager for Affinity Water said:

“Working to the high expectations set by the standard has been pivotal in Affinity Water being able to demonstrate how we are improving across our business and the annual review means that we are continuously looking for ways to move forward and improve. The Affinity Water teams have worked hard to deliver this standard.

“I would like to thank Heather Nowak the BSI auditor who throughout the audit has given us all the benefit of her valuable experience.”

Kevin Barton Head of External Communications said:

“The continuation of our verification certification to BS 18477 for inclusive services provision shows how Affinity Water is proactively reaching out to its 3.6 million customers in new and creative ways. We have partnered with the local Charity Small Acts of Kindness to distribute 7,500 Priority Services Register flyers. As well as using our own channels to reach out, we work in partnership with local charities, utilities and other organisations to maximise awareness of the support we can offer to ensure the needs of vulnerable customers are met.”

Heather Nowak, Client Manager at BSI said:

“We’re delighted that Affinity Water has once again achieved verification certification to BS 18477. This will help provide its customers with the confidence that it is providing a fair, flexible service to all, regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances.

“By achieving verification certification to this standard, the team has demonstrated that it has the relevant policies and procedures, training plans and fair and accessible practices embedded within its organization.”

Those struggling to pay their bills because of Coronavirus or other issues or know someone who is can find out more about Affinity Water’s Priority Services Register by visiting: www.affinitywater.co.uk/priorityservices.

These two case studies explain in more detail how Affinity Water is reaching vulnerable customers.

SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS

We have provided the local charity Small Acts of Kindness with 7500 of our Priority Services Register flyers which not only provides information on the PSR but also has information about the alternative tariffs which are available. The flyers will go into their ‘winter bags’ and form part of the ‘purple pages’ which contains useful information for our older residents in the Hertfordshire area. We have also offered help to pack the bags on a volunteering basis.

WEBINAR – UTILITIES AGAINST SCAMS

Through Affinity Water’s inclusion in a local Dementia Action Alliance group we have partnered with a local trading standards team to hold a webinar for the company wide audience on raising awareness of scams. An expert from Herts Trading Standards shared with our colleagues the signs of scams, what to look out for, what to do if concerned and how trading standards can help. This is not only important in helping raise awareness for when we visit our customers in the communities but also for our own friends and families that can easily fall victim to scams. The webinar also provided an overview of BSI.

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