PROJECT: Establish processes to validate the data provided by operators
In addition to audit verification of collected data, regulators validate the data through comparative exercises.
Since this action puts additional burdens on the monitoring process, establishing protocols regarding their sequence within the process can spare time and financial resources.
In accordance, regulators usually conduct annual bench marking exercises in which they validate operators’ performance by comparing and analysing data collected through audits. This exercise could be structured around different categories of performance indicators, such as indicators aimed at protecting consumers interests, the sustainability of operators, and environmental sustainability.
- There is a reliable and transparent data validation process.
- Service operators’ internal structure is aligned with the data validation process.
- Consumers’ interests are adequately protected.
In Portugal, the Water and Wastewater Regulation Authority (ERSAR) has established a methodology in the service quality assessment process that involves a sequence of stages to create a clear, rational, and transparent system.
The procedures include a process in which information is first provided by the operators, then validated and audited to verify data reliability by a regulator. The extensive and complex procedure can be found in the link below.
Internal capacities needed and the role of partners
Abilities required to conduct this action include statistical, hydrological, and administrative skills. Validation exercises, being an internal regulatory process, would benefit from the experience of other regulators. To that end, technical regional exchanges could be valuable to aid improvement.
Options for other partners who could be involved include national statistical institutions, the private sector, and research institutions. Regulators’ staff must also be trained on how to benchmark and how to regulate service quality.