Water Redress Scheme
The video shows a customer or representative how to register a new complaint and upload information on the secure case management system. The system will be used to communicate with you and for you to see what is happening on your case. You will be able to supply us with all the required information, see what the water company has said and keep you up to date with the progress of your case. Please note that the file size is 100mb and you will receive an email notification at each stage of the process. Please contact us if you need any assistance with registering a case or any questions about our case management system.
WATRS has been designed to complement the mediation and investigation roles of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW). If CCW is unable to settle a customer’s dispute, WATRS will provide a final resolution that is binding upon water and sewage companies. This needs to be done within six months from the date of the CCW closure letter.
WATRS is an adjudication service based entirely on documentary evidence. The appointed Adjudicator will only consider the evidence submitted by the customer and the company and will have no direct contact with the parties to ensure full independence and impartiality.
In reaching their decision, the Adjudicator will consider all relevant law (such as The Water Industry Act 1991 and The Water Supply and Sewerage Services (Customer Service Standards) Regulations 2008), the company’s terms and conditions, the Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) and what is most fair and reasonable in light of the circumstances.
Once the decision is issued the customer can decide to accept or reject the findings. If the customer accepts the decision the company is contractually bound to provide the redress ordered by the Adjudicator. If the customer decides to reject the decision the process has no effect on law and the customer is free to pursue their claim through the courts.
A new version of the WATRS Scheme Rules will come into force on 1 September 2020, introducing some improvements to the journey taken by a dispute referred to WATRS.
The new process for WATRS cases will be:
1. The customer must first raise their complaint with their water company directly.
2. Customers of water and/or water and sewerage companies can apply to WATRS if they meet all of the following requirements:
3. Non-household retail customers can apply to WATRS if they meet at least one of the following four categories:
4. When WATRS receives an application, we will decide if we are able to consider it. Not all disputes can be considered by WATRS. See the WATRS Scheme Rules for full details (at www.watrs.org)
5. If we think we can consider the dispute, we will send the customer’s application and supporting evidence to the company. The company will have 10 working days to either:
The company will also have a limited opportunity to say that WATRS is not able to consider the dispute. If this happens, WATRS will decide if it can deal with the dispute.
6. Where the company sends a written response to the claim, it will be shared with the customer, who will have 5 working days to comment on it. The customer cannot introduce any new matters or new evidence at this stage.
7. A WATRS adjudicator will then weigh up all of the information and evidence in the case, as well as the relevant law, and will prepare a written decision containing full reasons.
8. The adjudicator’s decision will be sent to the parties as a preliminary decision. Both the customer and the company will have 5 working days to comment on the preliminary decision.
9. The comments on the preliminary decision will be sent to the adjudicator, who will have 3 working days to make any changes. The adjudicator will then produce the Final Decision.
10. If the customer accepts the Final Decision within 20 working days, it will be binding on the company. If the customer rejects the Final Decision or does not accept it within 20 working days, the company will not have to do what the adjudicator has said.
In order to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties to a dispute, WATRS adheres to the following principles:
WATRS is guided at all times by the following core principles:
It must be independent of water companies and any other stakeholder (e.g. a consumer advocate) with a conflict of interest.
It must be able to take a neutral, objective and balanced view, and deliver outcomes based on clear policy/rules.
It must undertake analysis and make decisions proportionate to the scale and nature of the problem.
It must ensure that decisions are clear and consistent from case to case.
It must ensure that decisions are public so that they are seen to be made without prejudice; highlight systemic failings in policy or practice; have a deterrent effect and drive service improvements. The process must, however, maintain the confidentiality of individual complainants.
It will meet its objectives and do so in a way that provides value-for-money through cost-effective, timely delivery.
It must be monitored and tested to ensure that it delivers efficient and effective outcomes for consumers, and that it is accountable to its users and the water industry.
It must be available to all eligible complainants and easily available to consumers with different needs through the most appropriate channel (for example telephone, e-mail, website and letter); and it must ensure that its role is made clear so that consumers understand the process and know who to contact.
Please note that all companies who are part of the WATRS scheme pay towards its cost as there is no cost to the consumer.
You can read our downloads to the left for help, or contact our team.
Consumer Council for Water (CCW)
Visit the CCW website for further information, help and advice about your water and sewerage service or supplier. Alternatively, you can email CCW at [email protected], call on 0300 034 2222 (England) / 00300 034 3333 (Wales) or write to it at Consumer Council for Water, First Floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4AJ.
The operation, independence and effectiveness of WATRS is overseen and assured by the WATRS Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel (the ADR Panel) which has been established to ensure the integrity of the Scheme. More details of the ADR Panel's work can be obtained on the Resolving Water Disputes website.
You may wish to contact the following organisations: