IoW conference hailed a success

Posted: Tuesday 17th June 2014

A record number of delegates flocked to the Institute of Water’s Annual Conference last week, which saw industry leaders and experts present their views on ‘delivering great service’.

The two day event, held on June 5 and 6 in At-Bristol Science Centre, Bristol, was attended by 230 people - the largest turnout for the conference in its 69 year history.

Delegates heard figures from both inside and outside the sector discuss topical issues and best practice around customer service, from the cultural challenge of incorporating good customer service practice into a business, to the impact of technology and climate change.

The introduction of retail competition to the water and wastewater sector in 2017 - which will drive an increased focus on customer service - was a major theme for many presenters.

High profile speakers included Dame Yve Buckland, chair of the Consumer Council for Water, Colin Skellett, chief executive of Wessex Water, Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, Cathryn Ross, chief executive of Ofwat, Mary Gober, founder of Mary Gober International and Bob Evans, senior vice president and chief communications officer of Oracle, who flew in from San Francisco especially to attend the event.

The conference, chaired by Heidi Mottram OBE, president of the Institute of Water and chief executive of Northumbrian Water Group, also featured a number of exhibitors, who promoted a wide range of products and services, ranging from data loggers to training packages.

Heidi Mottram OBE said: “The conference this year was a fantastic and extra special event covering the key theme for everyone in the water industry - delivering great service.

“We had a top class range of speakers from as far away as America who came from the water industry and other business worlds to showcase the best customer service and what we can expect it to look like in the future. It was very thought provoking and made us consider the challenges facing the sector and changes needed to address them.

“I’m sure all of our delegates made full use of the opportunity to network, learn and discuss the topics that matter throughout the two day event, including the social evenings which were brilliant and I also thank all our sponsors for their splendid on-going support.

“I’m very pleased that we had a record number of delegates this year and was particularly impressed with the number of younger people with budding careers in attendance. I am confident that our industry is, indeed, in capable hands for the future.”

Lynn Cooper, chief executive of the Institute of Water, added: “We would like to thank all of our delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors for making this year’s Annual Conference a huge success, and are already looking forward to next year’s event, which will be held in the Midlands.

“Promoting learning, networking and professional development is a key part of our work at the Institute of Water, and there is no better example of this activity in action than our Annual Conference.”

The conference was concluded by The Institute of Water’s President’s Dinner, on June 6, which included the presentation of the Institute’s National Innovation Awards, which recognise innovative companies in the water sector. Pulsar Process Measurement and the Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Innovation Team were awarded first place in the ceremony, while Organica Water was the runner up and Radio Data Networks claimed third place.

The President’s Dinner and the conference’s popular Saint Gobain Evening, which took place this year at Bristol Zoo, raised nearly £4000 for the WaterAid charity.

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