Bilateral Transactions Programme
Improvement programme summary
In each of its annual State of the Market reports since the opening of the non-household market, Ofwat has identified poor wholesaler – retailer interactions as one of the main market frictions and that difficulty in these interactions “results in a poorer customer experience and reduces customer confidence in the market”. The Bilateral Transactions Programme is a direct response to calls from the regulator, trading parties and customers to deliver “significant improvements to the way in which wholesalers and retailers interact with each other, via a range of solutions spanning technology, ways of working and standardisation of processes”.
Its aim is to work with trading parties to agree and implement a central, consistent approach to the market’s core processes to reduce market frictions and help improve customer outcomes.
Its delivery is phased across the first two years of the business plan and includes:
How trading parties and customers will benefit
The primary goal of the Bilateral Transactions Programme is to improve the reliability, speed and quality of service that wholesalers and retailers provide to customers. Current inefficiencies have increased trading parties’ costs to operate in the market and impacted the quality of service provided to customers.
These improvements will be generated by a programme that:
The programme will also significantly increase the visibility and measurability of individual processes at both an individual company and market level. This information can then be used to measure performance, identify issues and drive further efficiency in the market, all of which will deliver benefits to customers through improved customer service.
How the workstream builds on our current 2020/21 Business Plan
In our 2020/21 Business Plan we identified that the most significant market improvement that many members and the regulator want is a faster, simpler, more reliable way of managing bilateral interactions between wholesalers and retailers.
A significant focus for 2020/21 has been on creating the business case underpinning the programme while assembling the team and resources required for implementation.
The business case was approved by the MOSL Board in September 2020, marking the end of the planning phase and the start of the execution phase.
The programme has gained considerable momentum over the course of 2020/21. We are currently working closely with trading parties, including through the programme’s four advisory groups.
We are now underway with the first pilot process and have begun work on subsequent processes. This plan builds on the momentum achieved this year through which we will complete the design and user testing for additional processes and agree the code changes required to mandate the use of processes.
“Where possible we should look to make the routine “bread and butter” interactions within the market as easy as possible. The bilateral portal will help to improve consistency, reduce costs and support the speed and quality of service for customers.”
Paul Stelfox, Head of Business Market Services, United Utilities
Delivery for 2021/22 – milestones and outcomes
Three phases of the Bilateral Transactions Programme are due to be delivered in 2021/22.
With a total of 67 processes, the order in which bilateral transactions are addressed has been prioritised according to those with highest volume and/or the biggest potential impact on the customer experience.
The first eight processes, which account for approximately 80 per cent of the market’s most important processes, are due to be delivered by the end of November 2021.