UK: The boards of British Water and the Water Industry Forum have confirmed that the proposed merger of their two organisations is to go ahead and will now prepare detailed plans and agree the timetable leading to merger later this year.
On June 28, the two boards reaffirmed their recommendation to move forward together, first announced in May this year, following feedback by members that demonstrated clear support for the merger.
Then, on Thursday July 15, a key piece of the jigsaw was put in place when British Water members, as required by the organisation’s constitution, approved a formal merger resolution tabled at its AGM.
The two organisations say that their combined influence will enable them to deliver enhanced value for members and respond most effectively to the unique challenges facing the UK water sector – and the many opportunities these challenges present.
In a joint statement issued today, chairs Chris Loughlin and Mark Fletcher of British Water and the Water Industry Forum respectively, said: “We are delighted that the merger of British Water and the Water Industry Forum has thebacking of our combined membership and that we are now able to finalise our detailed plans.
“We would like to thank members for their clear and positive feedback. Their support means we are now able to move forward together and build a stronger and more influential organisation, providing new and enhanced opportunities for members.”
The two chairs say they believe the new, combined organisation will:
- Enjoy increased authority, weight and impact, with a stronger voice to help support and shape the future direction of the UK water sector
- Provide access to new, enhanced services and increased value for money for members
- Unite the geographic profiles of the two organisations, providing truly UK-wide coverage
- Respond to research in which a majority of respondents said that greater collaboration and/or a ‘coming together’ of UK water membership organisations would be beneficial.
A proposed operating model and governance framework has been developed to support the activities and priorities of the merged organisation, and importantly to preserve the Water Industry Forum’s integrity and independence, enabling it to maintain the trust and respect that it enjoys throughout the sector.
As such, the Water Industry Forum will remain as a limited company, operating as a subsidiary of British Water, with its management board bound by a code of conduct guaranteeing its independence and neutrality.
The Water Industry Forum was launched in 2012. Its purpose is to tackle the many challenges facing the UK water sector, through thought leadership and facilitated collaborative working. It does this by providing a forum which is both independent and neutral, enabling multiple stakeholders to come together to share ideas and develop solutions. The challenges are identified by members and addressed through briefings, seminars and challenge-based events such as roundtables, workshops, competitions and surveys, with associated outcomes captured in publications and shared across the sector. Around 600 partner, full and associate members including government, regulators, water utilities, contractors, consultants, manufacturers, research companies, third sector organisations and investors.
British Water dates back to 1938 and today provides a leading and coherent voice on behalf of the UK water sector supply chain, to ensure its members have access to the information and contacts they need to enhance their businesses. It does this by representing members’ interests to key stakeholders, providing contacts and mechanisms to raise their profile and grow their business, and by promoting best practice in the water and wastewater industry. In addition to supply chain organisations its membership also includes water utilities and academic institutions. British Water also represents the interests of its members on UK and European regulations and legislation, and in the creation of European and international standards. 200+ full members including supply chain companies, water utilities and academic institutions, together with a network of 3000+ partners and other stakeholders.
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