Supporting success at the CMA

In the ramp up to AMP8, water companies are debating their final business plans with Ofwat via the CMA process. With experience supporting companies to build their plans and acting on both sides of the CMA process, Aqua Consultants has created this blog with some tips to help you ensure the process runs smoothly and you achieve the desired outcome.

Preparing for the CMA process

A CMA referral is unique in its intensity and pace but remember it is an extended sprint with tight deadlines.

A dedicated team is essential, led by senior management, with board engagement and approval, supported by internal experts and external advisors who have CMA experience.

Unity and clarity are essential. Companies must lead their case with robust evidence, while advisors provide strategic and procedural guidance.

Early decision making is essential as the process is so constrained, as is collecting supporting evidence and data before it is required – so it is at hand well in advance.

Lessons learnt

Develop and maintain risk and opportunities log

Have a robust process for capturing and summarising key risk and opportunities within the business plan.

Agree swords and shields

Understand that your plan is not AAA rated. Agree what you would lead with and what you would concede on.

Show me don’t tell me

Test your readiness as a business to operate in a fact-based legal process. Understand questions that will be asked and monitor the time and quality of response to those questions.

Appoint your team early

The internal and external team you rely on will be working around the clock. It is important to identify the key people supporting your statement of case and the behaviours required to deliver the process.

New information

Information is developing constantly, and a wide spectrum of information will be called upon. How have things changed since your original submission? Does this support your case? Update business cases if new information has come to light.

What you should do

1. Complete plan deep dive

Undertake an independent review of your plan utilising our tool kit.

2. Strengths and weaknesses

Complete a SWOT review for key programs and consider mitigation.

3. Outline business case

Have clarity on the three points of referral.

4. Appoint expert team

Align your team to your points of referral, likely multiple.

5. Statement of case draft

Engage with your board on your draft statement of case after testing.

6. Communication

Develop ‘what if’ and response statements to key milestones and feedback through the submission cycle.

How can Aqua Consultants help you?

Our advisors can provide strategic and procedural guidance while you lead your case with robust evidence. We can assist you in a number of ways through the CMA process, including:

  • Acting as CMA expert witness and producing expert witness reports
  • Challenging engineering and regulatory logic
  • Checking consistency of business cases
  • Benchmarking approaches, costs, and efficiency
  • Enhancing and developing data transparency
  • Improving technical information

We have a range of experience supporting business plan submissions on cost, efficiency, cost structuring and benchmarking in PR09 and PR24 and have acted as expert witness and generated reports in PR14 and PR19.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your unique CMA challenge.

Here to solve your biggest challenges and grow sustainable value

Our expert consultants are available to broaden your thinking, lead transformation, and help you achieve successful outcomes.

Contact our experts