Utility Week

Utility Week 17th April 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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People & Opinion Utility Week community UTILITY WEEK | 17TH - 23RD APRIL 2015 | 7 Simon Harris will present at the Utility Week HR Forum in September, where he aims to highlight how changing market trends and pervasive social media can help "truly game-changing employee engagement come to life". "I believe this because the story and the objective will naturally morph as there will be many more channels for feedback, with people easily sharing genuine concerns and great ideas," he explains. "On the back of this, businesses and employees can get so much closer to a shared agenda even through tough employee relations issues around working arrangements." Speaker's corner Simon Harris, head of internal engagement, Severn Trent Talking to Utility Week ahead of his appearance at the HR Forum, Harris shares his perspective on the key challenges facing utili- ties businesses today. "One of the most challenging things is to make sure that we have a good balance between new and old blood in any working organisa- tion as trends change so quickly and a good mix helps keep a business in tune," he says. "I also think that making sure that, right from the top through to the front line, we have leaders in place who are operationally and commercially strong, but also really people savvy and engag- ing, is crucial in modern times." Personal notes What have been the best and worst moments of your professional life? Worst: in any career you get many ups and downs and when leading on internal comms they are pretty visible to all – in my world I feel you are only as good as your last job. I guess the worst times have always been linked to having a leader who I can't relate to or who doesn't match or work with my style. Best: the launch of a new Open- reach business within BT was a very big deal and I led on the internal comms for that across a 34,000-people business. We merged two big front line units and created a wholesale arm that went and sold telecoms services to a number of suppli- ers – BT, Sky and many more. Name five people you would invite to your ideal networking dinner and why. Ian Botham. He is a cricketing legend and was amazing dur- ing my late teens and early 20s and a true character – not to everyone's taste, but that was part of the attraction. Boris Johnson. Not only does he have a great brain but he is a fab communicator too. Michael Palin. He's funny and he shares two of my passions, travelling and football. Emily Eavis. It's fascinating how the Glastonbury festival comes together – I still go and think I'm cool! What Emily and her team pull off is one of the ultimates in event and stake- holder management. Jamie Oliver. He'd be a great cook and I like the fact that he started in the TV celebrity chef game so young and has developed so well. The main event The HR Forum is taking place in Birmingham on 9 September. For more infor- mation about the speakers and the agenda, visit: www.utilityweek.co.uk/event "More analysis needs to be done before we know just how much oil can be extracted from this site near Gatwick and how much of it is commercially viable. What's commercial will also depend on the oil price at the time" Professor David Elmes, Warwick Business School, on the discovery of oil on the Surrey/Sussex border near Gatwick Airport Shortlist announced The shortlist has been announced for the Utility Week Stars Awards 2015. The awards celebrate the talent and achievements of front line staff in the utilities sector, recognising their daily demonstrations of care, concern and willingness to go above and beyond what is required of them. The winners will be announced on 12 June at the Emirates Old Trafford Lancashire County Cricket Club. See the shortlist on p25. Outsourcing on the up The latest UK Outsourcing Index shows that 2014 was a buoyant year for energy and utilities contracts. The index, compiled by arvato, shows that the number of outsourc- ing contracts from utilities almost doubled last year compared with 2013. The sector signed contracts worth a total of £1.072 billion – 15 per cent of the total outsourcing deal value in the UK. Key points: • Average deal value increased 32 per cent year on year; • The sector spent £1.046 billion on IT outsourcing (ITO) in 2014 – more than any other industry; • 70 per cent of all energy and utilities contracts signed in 2014 were second-generation partnerships – extensions, renewals or the replacement of incumbents – up from 56 per cent in 2013. LIVE FROM UTILITY WEEK LIVE! Utility Week Live, incorporating IWEX, is a new pan-utility event taking place in Birmingham from 21-23 April. To keep delegates, and those unfortunate enough not to be able to attend, up to date on the latest debate and news on-site, Utility Week will publish a live blog which you can access at www.utilityweek. co.uk. Comments and contributions will be welcome.

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