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The affluent and the effluent: How does the water industry respond to rebuild customer trust?

13th July 2023


6:00-8:30 PM



Thames Water, Clearwater Court, Vastern Road, Reading RG1 8DB
(right next to Reading train station with direct trains from London Paddington, Waterloo and the West Country) Pay & Display car park in easy walking distance.


We are delighted to be co-hosting this event with the Institute of Water!

Following on from the House of Lords report on the issues around storm overflows and water pollution, the Water industry needs to come together to re-build customer trust – as they look to build a water infrastructure for the future.
Join our panel of senior water industry leaders to discuss the steps needed to move the industry forward.

Chair: Hayley Monks, WUN Co Founder & Director.

Panelists: Sarah McMath, WUN Board member and CEO of MOSL
Chris Pollard, Director of Customer Services, Thames Water.
Karma Loveday, Editor of the Water Report
Dr Heather Smith Senior Lecturer in Water Governance Cranfield University.

Note: Thames Water is right next to Reading train station with direct trains from London Paddington, Waterloo and the West Country) & for those of you driving there is a pay & display car park only a few minutes walk away.

Please note this is a ticketed only event & for security reasons you must register in advance to attend.

Sarah McMath
Sarah joined MOSL as CEO in June 2019. She has a strong track record for driving improvement and has become well-respected as a force for innovation and collaboration to ensure the open market delivers on its commitments to customers and tackles some of the biggest challenges facing the water industry.

Sarah started her career at Thames Water in the innovation team, working as a research scientist, where she completed her doctorate in Environmental Engineering. In 2011, Sarah moved to the Strategy and Regulation team, leading the preparation and submission of Thames Water’s business plans for PR14 and held the responsibility of Programme Director for Competition 2017 ahead of the opening of the water retail market on 1 April. Sarah was previously Managing Director of Water at Thames, before becoming Managing Director of Strategic Planning and Investment in April 2018.

Sarah is also a trustee of the Don McMath Foundation, a charity which provides free schooling to children in the Gambia, and sits on the Board of the National Oceanography Centre and the Women’s Utilities Network. She is also Chair of the Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group and a member of the National Drought Group and is an advocate for water efficiency and building resilience in the water sector.

Chris Pollard, Director of Customer Services, Thames Water.

Chris is the Director of Customer Services at Thames Water and has over 20 years’ experience leading large and complex organisations in utilities, telecoms and government – in both engineering and contact centre roles. Chris joined Thames Water as Transformation Director in 2018 and has been in his current role as CS Director since 2021. He has led a number of operational improvements in customer service over the last two years including a 58% reduction in complaints, a 31% reduction in operating expenditure and a 43% reduction in telephone contacts.

Prior to Thames Water, Chris worked for BT Group and Openreach for 14 years – initially as a first line manager in BT Consumer, then progressing quickly into second and third line leadership roles. This was then followed by General Manager and Director positions in BT’s Technology team. BT Group Services, BT Wholesale and Openreach. Chris has a BSc. Geology from the University of Liverpool, which came immediately after a two year spell working as an Executive Officer at the Department for Work and Pensions. In addition to his Thames Water responsibilities, Chris holds a Non-Executive position on the Board of two pension schemes as a Company Nominated Trustee Director. Chris was born and bred in Lancashire and lives with his wife and three children in Somerset.

Karma Loveday is a specialist water sector journalist respected throughout the industry for her authoritative analysis and reporting.

She is chair of the Major Energy Users’ Council water competition group.

Dr Heather Smith Senior Lecturer in Water Governance

Heather started her career working as a researcher for a Canadian NGO, delivering projects and recommendations for improved water management policies at provincial and national levels. She then moved to the UK to complete her MSc and PhD, before joining Cranfield University in 2011. Heather’s research explores the societal dimensions of the water and wastewater services sector. Her research interests include customer engagement in sector governance, the role of legitimacy and trust, as well as public perceptions and behaviour towards new technologies and approaches, such as water recycling and smart metering. Through her track record of research projects, she has worked with water utilities and other stakeholders in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. She has a particular interest in the boundary between social science and engineering. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Higher Education Academy.

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