Consultants for IPART found that Central Coast Council Water has not done a Customer Service Standards survey since 2012 and that performance outcomes are not aligned to targets set by the community.
IPART said CCC Water has advised that it will engage with its customers to identify the outcomes that matter to them, such as the number of bills paid on time and percentage of dollars in arrears.
“Outcomes-based reporting is considered best practice and is likely to be more meaningful to customers, CCC Water, and regulators,” IPART said in one of a dozen reports included in its final decision on prices Council can charge for water, announced on May 24.
“In reviewing CCC Water’s prices for water-related services, we saw ample evidence that CCC Water needs to improve its performance and increase its accountability to its customers and regulators,” IPART said.
“CCC Water has acknowledged that it needs to improve its performance and it has committed to measures that would improve accountability to customers.
“It accepted our draft recommendations and welcomed a review of progress after 2 years.”
IPART said its final recommendations are broader than the draft recommendations.
“A published implementation plan for CCC Water’s commitments would improve our confidence, and the confidence of its customers, in implementation being achieved,” IPART said.
“It may also help CCC Water to focus on the necessary planning and implementation tasks and it would help us assess CCC Water’s progress in 2 years’ time.”
CCC Water listed the types of information that it intends to publish on its website in addition to an annual report.
- drinking water standards, sampling, non-conformances and improvements
- water outage information
- sewer overflows and non-conformances
- compliance with its Customer Charter, community engagement and complaint resolution and handling
- water yield, production and consumption.
IPART said CCC Water should also publish additional information on complaints, assets, operating result and water losses.
IPART recommends that CCC Water publish performance information and strategic documents by September 30 of this year and an annual performance report by October 31 next year.
“This should set out its performance against measures that reflect the community’s preferences,” IPART said.
IPART also expects CCC Water to undertake deeper engagement with its customers to better understand the information that is important and meaningful to them and to use this to inform its ongoing performance reporting.
“CCC Water should also consult on its service level targets to ensure that they are at a level that customers find reasonable and at a cost that is acceptable to customers,” IPART said.