Southern Water to cut customer service jobs
Southern Water has confirmed that many customer service roles will be moving to outsourcing giant Capita.
The company said in a statement on its website that it is "two years into a challenging business transformation programme" after the BBC reported that around 200 customer service jobs could be cut at its Worthing and Falmer offices.
Capita was selected by Southern Water as its new customer services 'managed service provider' in July last year in a contract worth more than £30 million.
The deal was signed for an initial five-year term with an option to extend for a further three years. It followed a six-year relationship between the two companies for front-office operations.
Southern Water said it is making changes to ensure its customer service “remains fit for the future” while keeping “bills affordable”.
In a statement, the company said: “We are making good progress and have delivered our best ever customer service score in the water industry league table. We’ve created more than 100 jobs in our IT department by bringing the service in house.
“These positive improvements have been recognised by our regulators. However, there is more to do and the changes we are making will ensure our customer service remains fit for the future and meets our customers’ expectations, while keeping bills affordable and meeting the efficiency challenge set out by our regulator, Ofwat.
"To help us achieve the step change needed to reduce customer bills and operate more efficiently, we’re creating a joined-up service with existing partner Capita. This builds on a strong and successful relationship already established as Capita have supported our services like debt recovery. All customer voice contact will remain in the UK and be based with Capita in Rotherham.
"However, not all roles will be moving to Capita. We will be establishing a new in-house Southern Water retail team to lead and deliver our customer strategy, including monitoring the quality of service our customers receive and focusing on continuous improvement."
A Capita spokesperson added: “The significant expansion of Capita’s contract is testament to the confidence Southern Water has in our ability to deliver an outstanding customer service. By consolidating Southern Water’s complaints, collections, social media contact and some back-office services under one roof, we believe we will be able to further enhance customer experience.”
Unison regional organiser Caroline Fife told the BBC staff are "upset, shocked and angry" and that the transfer of roles to Yorkshire and India is due to begin on 1 August.
"Given the short timescale they want to know what is going to happen, when, and what money they will receive so they can plan their lives," Fife said.
- Southern Water announces large bathing water investment Southern Water has announced the seven beaches where it will be working alongside local authorities and others to improve... Read More >
- Southern Water fined £500K for Swalecliffe pollution Southern Water has been hit by a £500,000 fine after a failure at a pumping station near Swalecliffe in Kent resulted in a... Read More >
- Portsmouth flood defence scheme gets underway using Norway rock A Southern Water project team has imported thousands of tonnes of rock from Norway in order to build a sea defence scheme... Read More >
- The price of water As part of our Utility of the Future campaign, Robin Hackett looks at whether low water bills can be maintained long term Read More >
- A glass half-full? Bringing water costs down for utility customers Mark Bullock, Balfour Beatty chief executive officer for rail and utilities, says the water sector must change its... Read More >
- C-MeX: Keeping the customer satisfied Ofwat's new customer measure of experience (C-MeX) is now being road-tested and water companies will start to be judged... Read More >
- The C-MeX Factor As the industry gears up for the introduction of C-MeX, Kier customer services director Benjamin Bax tells Robin Hackett... Read More >