UKRN Young Professionals Network (YPN) Newsletter for March 2020. In this latest edition, the YPN provides updates on three events it held recently: a Regulators in Focus event from Ofcom and Ofwat, an early careers event, and an event on Sustainability and Climate Change which featured presentations from Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom.
The 10 February event focused on how data and research has been and can be used to improve outcomes for consumers in vulnerable circumstances. A varied agenda shone light on the good work being done to support consumers in vulnerable circumstances, both in terms of research studies and practical solutions. The agenda also provided for some challenging Q&A sessions and the sharing of different perspectives. In combination with the Insight and Case Studies handout, the event’s objective to improve understanding of how outcomes can be improved through the use of data and research was achieved. The event was a strong demonstration of UKRN-led collaboration, bringing together over 120 delegates from a range of sectors and backgrounds, including representatives from regulators, industry, government, consumers groups and academia. The UKRN was able to facilitate working across UK markets and enable the sharing of experience and insight. The UKRN will continue to support cross-sector working and help to connect people within the vulnerability space. Insight gained on the day and from the pre-event survey will be invaluable in helping the UKRN to achieve its aims, particularly in relation to its planned research. The event also helped to highlight the work and purpose of the UKRN itself.
The UKRN, with the FCA, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat and the Consumer Council for Water, have been working together to develop a set of performance scorecards to measure the customer experience across key sectors. Today’s publication, Moving forward together, brings together these scorecards from all four sectors. Each regulator has also published their template, plus links to more detailed analysis, on their websites. Transparent, high quality performance information is an important tool for identifying where consumers are being well-served and where performance needs to improve. Jonathan Oxley, CEO of the UKRN, said: “Understanding the experience of consumers across our sectors is a vital part of improving consumer outcomes. I am delighted at the ways in which our members have worked together, building on their extensive sectoral knowledge to create shared insight. I hope this project helps consumer groups and other interested parties recognise where consumer needs can be best served.” Ensuring regulators work together to measure and improve the consumer experience across our sectors is also a priority for government. Consumer Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “Performance scorecards will be a welcome step for customers: providing them with trusted, impartial information to compare how well companies deliver for their customers. This will help people make an informed judgement about who should provide them their water, telecoms, energy and essential financial services – but it will also incentivise companies to improve their performance to attract customers and beat their competition. I will continue to work with the UK Regulators Network and regulators to expand the information available in the scorecards.” UKRN members, including the regulators involved in this project, will continue to work together to improve outcomes for consumers. For more information on the work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today UKRN have published a new report: Considerations for UK regulators setting the value of debt beta. This reflects the commitment in our 2019 Cost of Capital Report to commission a short report on approaches to debt beta estimation and the link between debt beta and gearing levels. The report was carried out by CEPA and is a review of the methodologies used to estimate the debt beta, and of the ways in which different regulators used debt beta in estimating the WACC. The report aims to identify key insights for future regulatory determinations. The UKRN’s cost of capital network will work closely together to reflect on this analysis, as well as continuing to bring together experts from across our member regulators, ensuring that our work in this area is aligned where possible and sharing knowledge and best practice.
Jonathan Oxley’s opening remarks from the fourth UKRN-LTIIA joint seminar on infrastructure regulation, hosted by Pinsent Masons on 10 September 2019.
The UKRN has written to the Public Accounts Committee in response to its July report on consumer protection. The report found that many consumers, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, had difficulty accessing services in water, energy, telecoms and financial services and stressed the importance of regulators working closely together to improve outcomes for consumers. Our letter sets out our members commitment to collaboration and sets out some of the ways in which all of our members are working together to improve consumer outcomes.
UKRN has published the 2019 cost of capital report. The report provides a summary of the most recent cost of capital decisions and analysis by each regulator, providing an easily accessible reference document for those interested in our sectors. It also sets out where regulators share a common approach, and where approaches diverge to reflect differences between sectors, regulatory timings and structures. The report is the product of the UKRN’s cost of capital network. The network brings together specialists from across UKRN members to share expertise and best practice, and to develop shared approaches where appropriate. The cost of capital is an important input into regulators’ price control decisions, helping ensure companies have an incentive to invest and the opportunity to earn a fair return on those investments. UKRN members will continue to work collaboratively on these issues, learning from each other, sharing best practice and, where appropriate, aligning our approaches.
Data is transforming the way infrastructure companies work and has become a new asset to manage that underpins every sector. Sharing data within sectors, and between sectors, is essential for ensuring we have well-performing infrastructure that meets people’s needs, as well as having the potential to generate significant economic benefits. The UKRN, working with consultants Black & Veatch, has published a report on the extent of infrastructure data sharing currently taking place across the transport, water, energy and telecoms sectors; the role of the regulators; and potential barriers inhibiting the progress of sharing data. The report was developed through a series of interactive sessions and discussions with representatives from infrastructure companies, government and regulators. It confirms that there is already much exciting activity in this area, and a growing industry commitment to share data. The report also identifies some key developments that contributors believe will drive positive change and create better collaborative working environments throughout the infrastructure industry: · Regulatory support and guidance on data, including best practice guidelines; · A common data standard, definitions and shared framework; · A central data portal that holds the ‘what, where and who’ for all assets in the infrastructure industry; and · Organisational ownership, culture change and targets on data sharing.
UKRN, with the FCA, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat and the Consumer Council for Water, have been working together to develop a set of performance scorecards to measure the customer experience across key sectors. Today we have published our Performance Scorecards Progress Note, setting out where we have got to and how we will be taking this work forward. Transparent, high quality performance information is an important tool for identifying where consumers are being well-served and where performance needs to improve. In April 2018, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Green Paper, Modernising Consumer Markets, proposed that Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofwat and the FCA, through the UK Regulators Network, would develop performance metrics for companies and digital comparison tools operating in their sectors, where relevant. The progress note summarises the work to date, highlighting the collaborative approach taken across the regulators. It also sets out the next steps for the work, including our intention to publish the first iteration of scorecards by the end of 2019. For more information on the work please contact the UKRN team on email@example.com