Seeing stars . . . of excellence

Heidi Mottram and David Teale

04.10.2012

A North East utility is the only water company in the UK to be awarded a top European accolade.

Northumbrian Water has been awarded the highest level of five stars by the British Quality Foundation (BQF) in the ‘Recognised for Excellence’ programme.

The scheme is Europe’s leading recognition programme for company performance and forms part of the EFQM Levels of Excellence.

Assessors have benchmarked the water and waste water services provider against top European companies including Capita, Siemens and TNT.

The EFQM Excellence Model used to rate Northumbrian Water covered:

o how well the water company’s vision, strategy and medium term goals are aligned with day-to-day activity;

o the level of employee engagement in and commitment to achieving the overall vision, strategy and goals;

o use of innovative technology;

o the level of engagement with external stakeholders;

o and customers’ perception of the water company.

David Teale, CEO of North of England Excellence, said: "It is a great achievement for Northumbrian Water to attain the five star accreditation on their first assessment. This reflects the company’s commitment to excellence and quality in all they do."

Northumbrian Water’s CEO, Heidi Mottram, said: "I am extremely proud of this achievement as it recognises that we are a great company that delivers a great service to our customers. It also clearly demonstrates our on-going commitment to being the national leader in our industry.

"This is the first time we have experienced such a comprehensive and holistic assessment process, covering every aspect of what we do. The feedback we have received will help us to identify and prioritise further opportunities to improve, as well as recognise what we do well."

Two assessors spent a week at Northumbrian Water’s head office, in Durham, interviewing nearly 200 employees from a number of different areas, and levels of seniority, within the business to gain a detailed insight into how the water company operates.

Assessors were particularly impressed with the amount of effort Northumbrian Water puts into understanding its customers. They also acknowledged the creativity the company shows, particularly through innovative technology.

Joe Goasdoue, Chief Executive at the BQF, said: "One of Northumbrian Water’s values is ‘we take personal responsibility for achieving excellent business results’ and attaining the five star rating demonstrates that they are delivering on this. A very impressive performance."

For further information contact Cara Charlton (Northumbrian Water) on 0191 301 6720, Joe Jennings (British Quality Foundation) on 0207 654 5003 or Pauline Rawsterne, North of England Excellence, on 0161 860 6063.

EFQM Levels of Excellence is Europe’s leading recognition programme for high levels of performance. It is suitable for all organisations, regardless of location, size or sector, and is based on the EFQM Excellence Model. With two levels of recognition – Committed to Excellence (C2E) and Recognised for Excellence (R4E), it can provide an organization with a proven route to attaining the highest levels of performance.

The EFQM Excellence Model is a management framework used by over 30,000 organisations globally. Developed by EFQM, it is practical and non-prescriptive, and can enable an organization to improve its performance and achieve sustainable success.

The British Quality Foundation was founded in 1993 by Government and leading UK businesses. It is an independent, not-for-profit, corporate membership organization. With over 600 members spanning the public, voluntary and private sectors, it is the community for every business seeking excellent insights tools and experiences to improve itself.

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