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06 Apr 2017

Energy & Utility Skills has welcomed Scottish Water mandating the National Water Hygiene Scheme within its wider distribution and operations maintenance strategy


Energy & Utility Skills, a membership organisation that is working across the UK to help make excellence the standard in the energy and utility sector, has welcomed Scottish Water mandating the National Water Hygiene Scheme within its wider distribution and operations maintenance strategy. Scottish Water's approach will further increase the focus on safeguarding the quality of its customers' water.

This distribution and operations maintenance strategy will require appropriate registration for all persons working on water distribution activities within the Scottish Water region, including its operational personnel, contractors, consultants, delivery partners, framework suppliers and self-lay organisations.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water's Chief Operating Officer, said: "In Scottish Water we are committed to delivering the highest possible standards of drinking water quality for our customers. To support this commitment, we place a great deal of importance on the need to have a National Water Hygiene Scheme 'Blue Card' for any individuals who work on or near our drinking water assets.

"In addition to water hygiene, and with the support of Energy & Utility Skills, we also created our own Scottish Water registration scheme for our water distribution operations and maintenance (DOMS). DOMS allows us to bring a strong focus to all aspects of operations on our water networks and to monitor and manage access to our infrastructure. We believe this is a vitally important area and in addition to the requirements for people directly involved in water operations we have also created interactive online learning that we have made available to all of our employees regardless of their role to increase awareness and promote understanding about the vital role that we play in assuring quality standards."

"We applaud Mr Farrer and Scottish Water in taking this step," said Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of the Energy & Utility Skills Group,* the West Midlands-based expert voice on workforce issues in the sector across the UK, which has supported recognition of the National Water Hygiene Scheme by the Energy & Utility Skills Register (EUSR),** part of the Energy & Utility Skills Group.

Mr Ellins added: "The National Water Hygiene Training and Accreditation Scheme was introduced to the industry over a decade ago as a collaboration between the UK water industry, key public health bodies and EUSR to provide the workforce with the ability to operate to the highest hygiene and safety practices whilst working on the water network.

"It now forms an integral part of the Scottish Water Distribution Operations Maintenance Strategy and has become established as a vital element in making excellence the standard in public health. Scottish Water and the Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland have set out very clearly their expected standards of hygiene knowledge and behaviours for those in contact with the public water supply, promoting a safety-first culture right across Scotland."

The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland, Sue Petch, said: "It is imperative that all activities carried out on water supply systems are of the highest standard and are done so in a way that prevent any impact on drinking water quality and consumer confidence in the supply. The National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme makes sure that anyone working on water systems is able to demonstrate their competence and understanding of best practice."

Notes to editors:

* Energy & Utility Skills Group continues to raise awareness of the importance and value of the NWHS training to protecting public health, highlighting the ten year anniversary of the UK-wide scheme, providing a case study of the longest card holding engineer and then giving an example of the water companies now mandating the 'blue card' training right across their business.

** The Energy & Utility Skills Register is an independent skills platform which provides recognised standards for the utility sector. It is operated by Energy & Utility Skills, the sector skills body for the gas, power, waste management and water industries. EUSR is designed to support industry employers and add value to the sector.

The 'blue card' has been made a compulsory requirement by Severn Trent Water, for use by all individuals working on its water treatment sites, its non-operational staff, including its Chief Executive and senior management teams.

This forms part of the Energy & Utility Skills Group's work with government, regulators and key audiences - to become the provider of choice for guidance, employer solutions, setting, registering and assessing competency standards and bespoke consultancy. It helps employers attract new talent, develop their workforces and assure a high level of competence across their businesses. For more, visit

Water retail markets were set to open in Scotland and England on 1 April 2017. 'Open Water' will for the first time bring providers of water and wastewater services into competition to secure eligible business customers - those that use more than five megalitres of water per year. These changes will not affect businesses in Wales or Northern Ireland.

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