Citizens’ Jury members and Yarra Valley Water staff.

A water utility is among the recently announced finalists for the 2022 International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) Core Value Awards; recognising outstanding projects and organisations in community engagement.

Named alongside 19 finalists, Yarra Valley Water has been recognised for enlisting a Citizens’ Jury to ensure its latest Price Submission reflected the diversity of the community it serves.

The jury was made up of a diverse group of customers who collaborated to answer the question: How can water and the environment be respected and protected for and by present and future generations?

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said it was an honour to be recognised for excellence in customer engagement.

“We’re thrilled to be recognised for this award and would like to thank everyone in the community who contributed to the engagement program, including the jurors, local businesses, the Aboriginal Community Working Group, our staff and many more,” Mr McCafferty said.

“We believe it’s important to reflect the community’s expectations and values in our proposed services and investments as we try to achieve this – so that we meet their needs.”

Yarra Valley Water is one of 14 Victorian water businesses required to make a Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission every five years to outline proposed prices and key service outcomes for customers.

It’s the second time Yarra Valley Water has adopted a Citizens’ Jury to help determine water services and pricing. The utility made changes to the Citizens’ Jury the second time around, including asking the jury to create the remit.

“We think this approach is really beneficial because it helps us identify customer preferences and understand what people value most in terms of their water supply and sewerage services,” Mr McCafferty said.

In addition, Yarra Valley Water asked industry, small businesses, partners, environmental and community groups to help co-design the whole engagement process.

“We’ve really listened to what our customers and our communities have to say and as a result, we’re delivering better value to our customers,” Mr McCafferty said.

The company was also recently named as a finalist in the 2022 Australian Service Excellence Awards (ASEA) in the Customer Service Team of the Year (Large) category.

Winners will be announced at the IAP2 Australasia Conference on 27 October 2022, in Melbourne.

For the full list of finalists, visit the IAP2 website here.

Feature Image: Citizens’ Jury members and Yarra Valley Water staff. Photo: Yarra Valley Water.

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