Strategic advice

Solving complex challenges by creating bespoke, practical, and innovative solutions.

We help our clients solve complex challenges by designing, developing, and implementing bespoke, practical, and innovative solutions, that respond to real world challenges, setting you up for success and driving long-term value.

By viewing your problem through multiple lenses, we can solve your challenges much more efficiently.

We can do this because we have vast, cross-industry, multi-level experience, so we know how a solution is going to play out, we have learnt from past challenges in the real world, and we know how to shape and tailor your solution, so it lands more effectively at every level from operations to c-suite.

Our value

Our experience means we can:

  1. Spot the potential challenges and already know workable solutions. We can do this quicker and anticipate better.
  2. We have the capacity; this is our day job so we have the space to focus on it.
  3. We have more lenses to solve problems than anyone else. Where clients may look through a cost and operations lens, we look at it through strategy, delivery, resource, organisation, process, digitise, automation, macroeconomic, benefits, stakeholder, politics (PESTLE), and procurement.

This holistic approach means you achieve the best multi-criteria solution that manages risk and is the most robust.

How we can help

Business case development

Comprehensive, integrated end-to-end solution to ensure robust and effective delivery of price reviews.

Practical economics

We work across regulated utilities, the commercial and public sectors, providing unique solutions to complex problems to give you a strategic view of the future from a holistic perspective.

Change management

We help our clients implement organisational change to successfully deliver their strategic objectives. We do this by creating a change management approach plan, utilising a strategy and benefits realisation approach. This will identify when and how benefits will be realised when making a change. You will receive a stakeholder engagement plan to ensure your organisation is on board with the change, a resource plan on how it will be delivered, as well as individual elements required in the programme.

Organisational strategy and objectives

We can help you to create an objectives map against your strategy that clearly demonstrates line of sight from top level corporate objectives through to individual level objectives. From this we can draft your strategy including summary, engagement documents, and slide deck for both executives and the wider organisation. 

Operating models and organisational design

We help our clients to understand what they are trying to change, diagnose the problem and take advantage of the opportunity. This would be in the form of target operating model, building an organogram, or a full operating model review. We look at the problem through multiple lenses including function, outcome, product, organisation, procurement, facilities, location, and process. We then filter this through the operating model canvas to identify the partners, funding, and customers, to build the organisation and identify the flow needed through the organisation.

An Operating Model is an organisation’s blueprint of all business operations in a format that is easy to understand and implement. It is a framework that shows how the organisation works and how the organisation’s people work together.

The operating model includes identifying the capabilities the business will need in the future to deliver its outcomes, mapping the connections between these capabilities to efficiently deliver the customer and stakeholder objectives, and by aligning the organisational structure, skills, processes, data, and technology to support the required business of tomorrow.

Stakeholder engagement

We help our clients understand their stakeholders, map their needs and preferences, and build a strategy to ensure efficient engagement.  We have a 7-stage approach to stakeholder engagement, which drives a consistent approach and help ensure successful stakeholder engagement. In turn, stakeholders are more likely to feel involved and part of decision making for the future, building relationships and trust across communities, and contributing to the likelihood of project success.

Benefits realisation

We help our clients by developing clear management plans to identify, define and quantify benefits from a project, change and/or strategy. We then support to plan, track, and realise benefits from the outputs and outcomes.

Outcome and benefits management is the identification, quantification, analysis, planning and tracking to realise and optimise measurable improvements from projects. It seeks to optimise outcomes and benefits realisation; doing the best that can be achieved within constraints (usually cost and/or resources).

This process enables us to understand the value to our clients of both qualitative and quantitative outcomes and benefits, and their impacts on the organisation and its business.

The tracking and realisation of outcomes and benefits provides clear indications and early warnings of positive and/or negative results, and therefore the ability to alter the business trajectory to optimise the end results.

How we add value:

  • Clearly defined outcomes mean analysis of tangible, intangible and quantifiable benefits and values can be realised.
  • Increased productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction means programmes can deliver outcomes and benefits through sustained optimisation (risk, cost, resource, quality ,and time).
  • Improved ROI is achieved by ensuring that any changes define and manage the added value anticipated.

Process development

We help our clients identify the process required to achieve their goals and streamline it to make it efficient to satisfy the customer need by understanding the level of resource, systems, tools, and the flow required. We use multiple process mapping and development tools, including the SIPOC method and automate and digitise the process for additional efficiency.

Long term delivery strategy (LTDS)

Understand your core pathway to achieving a long-term vision, with a set of adaptive pathways that account for future uncertainties. We provide advice on the regulatory structure around LTDS planning, the interface with other strategic planning frameworks (e.g. DWMP), and how you can develop a robust plan. Our aim is to introduce an adaptive systems planning capability using a mix of consultancy and technology services.

Our solution uses top-down modelling technology to help us assess core and adaptive pathways over the long-term. This unlocks the ability to test many future scenarios against a range on uncertainties to determine which triggers drive a deviation in investment pathways.

The benefits include assurance of plans and strategies, positive engagement with regulators using adaptive pathways to demonstrate the strengths of a chosen plan and filling the pipeline with future investments.

Direct procurement for customers (DPC)

Direct procurement for customers (DPC) is a process allowing water companies to competitively tender for a third party (CAP) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure. Guidance states that DPC is the default delivery mechanism for all projects above ~£200m, with Ofwat reserving the right to explore the use of DPC for major projects below this threshold. Projects can also be grouped, with cumulative values triggering the need to default to DPC.

DPC is relatively new to the water industry, with limited experience across water companies which presents a real challenge. Latest Ofwat guidance (published September 2022), continues to develop the DPC model and consult the water industry.

We offer a comprehensive, integrated end-to-end solution to support water industry clients with DPC, harnessing our expertise in strategic advisory, engineering, commercial, and project services to add significant value, and ensure robust and effective delivery including:

  • Providing robust guidance on DPC to leadership teams, board, investors, and delivery teams.
  • Driving optimal efficiency through early identification and rigorous assessment of possible DPC projects.
  • Ensuring the clarity and suitability of scope for DPC projects are clear and fit for purpose.
  • Offering robust and effective challenge to the regulator to support DPC.
  • Leveraging our expertise to maximise project success through our role of Independent Technical Advisor (ITA).
  • Supporting the client by facilitating a comprehensive and effective selection process of the CAP.
  • Delivering a seamless end-to-end service for DPC leveraging our expertise in strategic advisory, asset management, engineering, commercial, and project services.
  • Providing invaluable industry intelligence based on extensive knowledge and experience of DPC.
  • Ensuring that the client’s capital delivery processes are highly effective, to successfully deliver DPC.
  • Facilitating the development of a robust DPC strategy.
  • Fostering and instilling confidence in DPC throughout the client’s organisation.
Aqua has provided a wide range of support to our transformation programme including expertise across target operating models, end to end processes, governance, cost intelligence and procurement strategy. Utilising Aqua’s industry best practice and expertise has enabled us to progress at pace and together we have developed a new model that we believe will deliver enhanced efficiency and value for the Trust.

Asset Improvement Director, Canal & River Trust

Strategic resource options (SRO)

The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID) was set up in 2019. It is a partnership made up of the three water regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).

The National Infrastructure Commission estimated that new water supplies would be needed by the mid 2030’s. Responding to that challenge, RAPID was formed to facilitate the development and funding of new large SRO’s by the water companies. With a ringfenced fund of £469m, RAPID helps to improve regulation and remove barriers, helping the sector respond to water resources challenges while promoting the best interests of water users, society, and the environment.

We are uniquely positioned to support the commercial elements of these schemes. We are industry leading when it comes to cost benchmarking, estimating and assurance. This ensures that enhancement costs are robust and deliverable for securing passage through each gate.

In combination with our other service lines, we can lead and collaborate on SRO development end-to-end, providing industry proven intelligence.

Flood risk management

Our flood risk service is a comprehensive and specialised offering designed to assist clients in understanding, managing, and mitigating the potential impact of flooding and climate change. Drawing on our expertise in hydrology, hydraulic modelling, and risk assessment, we provide a thorough evaluation of flood hazards. Our team employs state-of-the-art technology and modelling tools, allowing us to identify vulnerable areas and quantify the potential risks associated with flooding.

Our flood risk service goes beyond assessment, as we develop tailored and resilient solutions to minimise the impact of floods on infrastructure and communities. This involves preparing business cases using our class leading economics specialists, designing effective flood alleviation, implementing sustainable drainage systems and natural flood management techniques, and advising on land-use planning to ensure resilient development in flood-prone areas.

Additionally, we collaborate with regulatory authorities to navigate environmental permitting and help clients secure necessary approvals.

By offering a holistic flood risk service, we empower our clients to make informed decisions, enhance the resilience of their projects, and contribute to the overall safety and sustainability of the built environment in the UK.

Key contacts

Mark Pye

Director of Strategic Advice

Tom Hall

Chief Economist

Jack Mumford-Turner

Associate Director

Jo Dixon

Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager

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.

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