Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers

The Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers (the Forum) is an independent group of customer and stakeholder representatives. 

Yorkshire customers

Yorkshire Water mourns the loss of Andrea Cook OBE 

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Andrea Cook OBE, the Chair of the Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers. Andrea was a passionate advocate for customers and the environment, and a valued partner in the water sector. She played a vital role in shaping our business plans. Andrea started as Chair of our Forum back in 2012, challenging us to deliver more for our customers and communities through each price review since then.  

Andrea was a respected leader and a source of inspiration for many. She had a wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of regulation and governance, with a particular interest in the needs of people on a low income, other vulnerable people and in dealing with issues of affordability. She was awarded an OBE in 1990 for her services to consumers in energy sector. 

On behalf of everyone at Yorkshire Water, we would like to offer our deepest sympathies to Andrea's family, friends, and colleagues. Her charm, wit and character will be greatly missed by all who knew her and worked with her. We will honour her legacy by continuing to put our customers at the heart of everything we do. 

About the forum

Brought together by Yorkshire Water under the guidance of the Independent Chair to support the company to manage its business in the best interests of its customers.

If you would like to contact the Forum about Yorkshire Water's performance or about the Forum, please email -theforum@yorkshirewater.co.uk 

In preparation for the next price review, the Forum challenged Yorkshire Water on behalf of Ofwat to ensure its business plan fairly reflects customers’ views gained from quality customer engagement and that it is delivering on its performance commitments. For this Price Review, Ofwat has given the Forum a very clear role. This is to provide independent challenge to companies and independent assurance to Ofwat on:

- the quality of a company’s customer engagement; and

- the extent to which the results of this engagement are driving the company’s decision making and being reflected in the company’s business plan.

The Forum’s work to deliver its role is documented in its statement which has been submitted alongside the company’s business plan to Ofwat on 2 October 2023 and can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Customer PR24 Statement

Customer PR24 Statement Summary

The Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers have a central role in helping the industry regulator, Ofwat, scrutinise our business plans. The Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers are responsible for:

- challenging the quality of our processes for involving customers

- challenging how well our proposed outcomes and outcome delivery incentives reflect our customers’ views and priorities

- monitoring progress against our performance commitments, and

- providing an independent evaluation to Ofwat on how well we have reflected our customers’ priorities in our business plans.

If you'd like to see their full terms of reference, click here.

This section will provide details of the membership of the group, minutes of recent meetings and information on the challenges which the forum have provided during their ongoing customer consultation.

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement

The Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers have published an independent statement on our performance. You can view the Forums reflections on our current performance here:

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement 2019

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement 2020

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement 2021

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement 2022

Yorkshire Forum For Water Customers Statement 2023


The Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers is made up of a number of customer and stakeholder representative bodies. The Forum is independently chaired by Andrea Cook OBE. The full membership of the Forum is provided below:

Andrea Cook OBE

Independent Chair of the Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers

Andrea chairs the forum, making sure that we are properly challenged over the quality of our involvement with customers, the integrity of how we interpret customer views and if we properly include customer views in our business plan. The chair is responsible for issuing a report to Ofwat, on behalf of customers, on the development and acceptability of our business plan.

Andrea’s background is in representing customers and regulation in the energy, financial, legal and water services sectors, with a particular interest in the needs of people on a low income, other vulnerable people and in dealing with issues of affordability. She has extensive experience as a non-executive director in the public and private sectors and has also served on key government committees, including the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development and the Renewable Energy Advisory Committee. She has been a member of numerous international delegations on energy, the environment, poverty and employment, including the Climate Change negotiations in Kyoto in 1997. Andrea was awarded an OBE in 1990 for services to tackling fuel poverty which led to insulating four million homes. She is also currently an independent member of the Parole Board.

Tom Keatley

Senior Adviser Water and Land Use

Natural England

Natural England is the Government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. It is sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is responsible for making sure that England's natural environment, including its land, plants and animals, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils are protected and improved.

About Tom

Tom is Natural England’s Senior Adviser in Water and Land Use for the Yorkshire Area, with the lead responsibility for Ofwat’s 2019 price review.  He has a long-established overview of Natural England’s work with us, which dates back over 10 years.  He has helped champion the environmental benefits and public value of ecosystem services, to water companies, which aim to provide positive and affordable outcomes to society. Tom is a member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and a chartered environmentalist. He aims, through the Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers, to create and strengthen relationships between us and the forum members to see how best we can contribute to the natural environment, while meeting the needs of customers.

Chris Griffin

Independent Member

Chris has worked throughout the Third Sector in Yorkshire and the East Midlands as a Welfare Benefit Specialist and Operations Manager at Citizens Advice. Chris sits on the Yorkshire Water Customer Forum as an Independent Member, with a particular interest in affordability and vulnerability concerns. In the field for over a decade, Chris has extensive experience of Welfare Benefit policy, and continues his work in the Third Sector to address poverty and discrimination.

James Copeland

National Farmers Union

The NFU is the only organisation that champions all farmers and growers in England and Wales. They are here to give you a voice and protect your way of life now and in the future. The NFU’s purpose is to champion British agriculture and horticulture, to campaign for a stable and sustainable future for British farmers and to secure the best possible deal for their members. Their strength is in their numbers. With more than 55,000 members, they are heard when it counts – locally, nationally and internationally. Every single member matters and makes the NFU stronger. A stronger NFU can be more influential, achieve more and give a more powerful and unified voice. Today, the NFU is the most successful representation body for agriculture and horticulture, with members covering two-thirds of the agricultural land in England and Wales.

James is the Environment and Land Use Adviser for the NFU in the North East region (Yorkshire, County Durham and Northumberland). The role includes taking an overview on matters relating to managing land and the environment, including the availability of water, water quality, flood risk, land use, environmental schemes, planning, infrastructure, waste, climate change and adaptation. He works closely with all the Defra family (Natural England, Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation and the Forestry Commission), local authorities, commercial companies, parks, environment, non-government organisations and catchment partnerships (Working at the catchment level, this partnership is a group that works with key stakeholders to agree and deliver the strategic priorities for the catchment and to support the Environment Agency in developing an appropriate river-basin management plan, which is needed under the Water Framework Directive), to name but a few. He is passionate that agricultural businesses are given the opportunity to develop their business, and that the NFU lobbies for a landscape that allows this to happen, making sure that policy is rooted in the real world.

Kursh Siddique


BAME Voices

Kursh is CEO of BAME Voices and an independent member of the forum with an interest in marginalised public engagement, particularly in relations with affordability and vulnerability. He brings experience from the health and wellbeing sector where he sits on a number of different boards and forums in addition to this he is also a governor at the BTH NHS Foundation Trust. Kursh is working alongside national research organisations and universities to create public awareness and involvement in projects, with an aim to reduce health inequalities from within marginalised communities.

Dave Merrett

Independent Member

Dave acts as an independent member of the Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers, on which he previously represented local authorities in Yorkshire (2012 to 2015). Professionally, he is a chartered civil engineer and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He is currently employed part-time by Amey Consulting and Rail as a principal engineer, working on Network Rail’s 2014-2019 London North Eastern and East Midlands Bridge Assessment contract.

Dave’s civil-engineering background gives him the experience to help examine our significant capital-investment programme. He also has considerable knowledge of transport, planning, environment and sustainability, flooding, policing, health and children’s services and local-government issues generally. He had senior roles at York City Council, and its unitary successor authority (City of York Council), on which he served from 1982 to 2015. Dave also served at different times on the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Assembly, the Local Government Association (he was Deputy Chair of the Environment & Regeneration Board), Yorkshire Regional Flood & Coastal Committee, with obvious crossovers to water-industry issues. Finally, he also brings ongoing experience of knocking on people’s doors, listening to their concerns and problems – the pressures on their budgets, concerns about the risk of flooding, the environment – and has experience of working with disadvantaged communities and individuals.

Melissa Lockwood

The Environment Agency works to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable development.  They are one of the water companies’ environmental regulators and one of the statutory members of all water companies’ customer challenge groups (CCGs).

They use the opportunity of working with the Water Forum for Yorkshire Customers to review and challenge our next five-year plan so that we achieve the best possible outcomes for both customers and the environment.

Melissa has more than 30 years’ experience in the Environment Agency in a range of roles, and is also a member of the Northumbrian Water Forum.

Jamie Ashton

Projects and Service Director

Citizens Advice Rotherham

Jamie is an independent member of the forum with 7 years of senior/project management experience gained in the voluntary, community and private sectors. Jamie joined the Citizens Advice service in 2021, with a particular interest in affordability and vulnerability concerns. Jamie oversees overseas projects specialising in welfare rights, energy and debt services.