The workshop will consider the current experiences of and ways utilities relate to their customers, and assess the effectiveness of that relationship in meeting users’ and providers’ needs. Despite its reputation as a stable, conservative business, the water sector has witnessed significant and controversial changes in the relationship between provider and user in the last 25 years.  From privatisation and foreign ownership, to the “right to water” debate and resource-driven economic tensions, that relationship is set to remain a driver of operational, financial and political decisions. Yet while in other utility sectors fundamental shifts have occurred in the producer-provider nexus, water and wastewater customers continue to be regarded by their utility providers as a passive, undifferentiated and truculent mass.  In some respects they behave in this way, which in itself is at the root of many utility and regulator problems.  


Workshop aim: 

Growing concerns around water stress, affordability and network resilience are presenting new challenges to the traditional relationship between water utilities and their customers in the UK and elsewhere.  The workshop will look at this relationship and analyse its effectiveness in the context of lessons from outside the UK and outside the water sector. Participants will be invited to consider whether the models of “consumer” or “customer” can, or should, be revised to reflect the integral and dynamic role all water users have in the hydrosocial cycle, and whether such an approach could help utilities solve some of the problems they face.


About your workshop leader:

Michael Coffey
is Managing Director of Aquastrat Ltd. He spent the early part of his career in the coal, oil & gas industry in North and South America, Europe, The Gulf and Australia, before moving into the water sector as Strategy Director at RWE Thames Water.  He subsequently set up Aquastrat (www.Aquastrat.co.uk), an advisory firm in water and renewable energy, working with private and public sector clients in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He is a graduate of Oxford University and INSEAD. Michael is also the advisor to the Green Party of England and Wales on water policy, and has lectured on water and energy at London and Saïd Business Schools, INSEAD and HEC (Paris), ZEF (Bonn) and CUA (Washington).

Workshop programme

8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

9:10 Water privatisation and the rise of the customer – a global perspective

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat

9:50 UK water utility strategies , customer priorities and regulation

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat

10:30 Morning Coffee

11:00 The new stresses threatening the customer dynamic

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat

11:40 Possible futures in the UK water landscape

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat

12:20 (How) can water utilities stay ahead of the wave?

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat

13:00 Chairman’s Closing Remarks

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey, Managing Director, Aquastrat


Copthorne Tara Hotel

Scarsdale Place
London W8 5SR
United Kingdom

Copthorne Tara Hotel

The Copthorne Tara Hotel London Kensington is an elegant contemporary four-star hotel in prestigious Kensington, located just a two minutes walk from High Street Kensington underground station, making exploring easy. The hotel offers well-appointed and comfortable guest rooms combining Standard, Superior and Club accommodation. Club rooms offer iconic views over the city and include Club Lounge access for complimentary breakfast and refreshments. Guests can sample the authentic Singaporean, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine at Bugis Street, traditional pub fare at the Brasserie Restaurant & Bar or relax with a delicious drink at West8 Cocktail Lounge & Bar.

The Copthorne Tara Hotel boasts 745 square meters of flexible meeting space, consisting of the Shannon Suite and the Liffey Suite, ideal for hosting conferences, weddings and social events. Facilities include access to the business centre 24 hours a day, fully equipped fitness room, gift shop, theatre desk and Bureau de Change. With ample onsite parking outside the London congestion charge zone and excellent transport links via Heathrow Airport, the hotel is the perfect location for business or leisure stays. The hotel is within close proximity to the shops of High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge and Westfield London, Olympia Conference Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace and Hyde Park.




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CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SMI Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

CPD Certificates

We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@smi-online.co.uk

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