Scottish water - a public sector success story

Sarah Hendry (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    3 Citations (Scopus)
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    This article will explore the development of Scottish Water, a public corporation providing water and sewerage services to most homes and businesses in Scotland. It will trace the development of the sector from municipal provision prior to the 1990s, through regional boards, to a single corporation. It will analyse the role of Government in setting policy objectives and charging principles, within an overarching context of a novel ‘Hydro Nation’ strategy; and the activities of all of Scottish Water’s regulators – for prices, environmental protection, drinking water quality and consumer protection – but especially the independent economic regulator. It will assess the regulatory process,and the maturing regulatory relationship, as Scottish Water moved from amongst the lowest, to amongst the best, of its benchmarked comparators – evidencing private sector efficiency in the public sector. It will examine a recent initiative in negotiated settlements through the establishment of a Customer Forum; and draw conclusions reflecting on the need for a more nuanced debate (where some private sector participation can work along with public provision) but overall, the potential for a public service provider to contribute fully to public policy goals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)900-915
    Number of pages16
    JournalWater International
    Issue number6
    Early online date2 Aug 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Water services
    • economic regulation
    • governance
    • public sector
    • Scottish Water
    • Scotland


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