Ensuring transparency and enabling access to information
As part of our commitment to be transparent, we publish information on our website about the work that we do.
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives the public a general right of access to the information we hold. Any person who makes a request to us for information is entitled to receive that information, subject to certain exemptions as outlined in the 2002 Act.
How WICS protects your data
We are committed to respecting your privacy when handling and using your personal information as part of our work.
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) regulates the way in which we process your personal information. This covers anything that we do with personal information, from collecting and creating data through to its destruction.
Transparency in our board and through our governance arrangements
We are an executive non-departmental public body. We were established under the Water Industry (Scotland) Act 2002, as amended by the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.
The role of the board is to provide leadership, direction, support and guidance. The board ensures that we deliver and are committed to delivering our functions effectively and efficiently and in accordance with the aims, policies and priorities of the Scottish Ministers.
We adhere to the code of practice for ministerial public appointments in Scotland. Our board usually consists of not fewer than three, nor more than five ordinary members appointed by the Scottish Ministers. This number includes the Chair and the Chief Executive.
Our board is chaired by Professor Donald MacRae. There are three non-executive members (Ann Allen, Jo Armstrong and Robin McGill). Alan Sutherland, our Chief Executive, is also a member of the Board.
WICS Audit and Risk Committee
Our Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) provides assurance to the Board on risk, finances and governance. It does so through a process of audit and constructive challenge.
The ARC is chaired by a Member of the Board and the Chairman of the ARC is appointed by our Board. The Chair of the ARC appoints the members of the Committee.
The ARC is responsible for advising on:
- the strategic processes for risk, control and governance;
- the planned activity and results of both internal and external audit;
- the adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity;
- the effectiveness of the internal control environment.
WICS statutory duties and corporate reporting
We have a corporate plan in place that is agreed by the Scottish Ministers. This plan reflects our strategic aims and objectives, indicative budgets and any priorities for us that the Scottish Ministers have set.
As part of our governance, and in line with our statutory duties, we submit an annual report to the Scottish Ministers. This explains the work we have done in the reporting period and how we have delivered against the commitments we make in our corporate plan.
We publish a number of additional reports on a regular basis that explain our progress in particular areas, such as mainstreaming equality and biodiversity. As part of our commitment to transparency, we set out to make sure that this information is both easy to access and to understand.
As part of our commitment to be an open and transparent organisation, we disclose the names and salary details of our senior leadership team (equivalent to senior civil service grade 2 and above).
WICS is a prescribed body under the Public Interest Disclosure Act for whistle blowing matters relating to the water and sewerage industry in Scotland.
We demonstrate transparency by ensuring we maintain clear and efficient policies and procedures which assist us in our corporate reporting duties.
We have an internal whistleblowing policy included in our staff handbook which is in place to encourage and enable employees to raise concerns on a confidential basis. In addition to this, we have an external whistleblowing policy which aims to assist contractors and the general public should they need to raise concerns about the water industry in Scotland.
On an annual basis, we report to the Scottish Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy. This reporting informs them of how many cases of whistleblowing have been brought to our attention each year.