Stakeholder Relations

Managing Relations Between the Government, Investors, Consumers, and Other Interest Groups

Core References

The Consumer Forum for the Scottish Water Sector
Regulatory Policy Institute, 2014.
Littlechild, Stephen

Designing Regulatory Institutions for Infrastructure – Lessons from Argentina
Note no. 114 in Public Policy for the Private Sector. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, May 1997.
Estache, Antonio

Explains that accountability requires transparency in the regulatory agency’s decision-making process, and clear, simple procedural rules. Processes to ensure that all concerned parties have the opportunity to express their views in public hearings and to appeal decisions are important.

Utility Regulators: The Independence Debate
Note no. 127 in Public Policy for the Private Sector. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Explains the mechanisms of independence, such as having a legal mandate distinct from the ministry, appointment criteria, checks and balances in appointments, fixed terms, protections from arbitrary removal, staggered terms, and earmarked funding.

Utility Regulators — Decisionmaking, Structures, Resources, and Start-up Strategy
Public Sector Note no. 129, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Examines practices for making decisions that are “well informed and accepted as fair and legitimate” by consumers, regulated firms and other stakeholders. Key regulatory processes and advisory bodies are explored.

Stakeholder Engagement: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets

International Finance Corporation, 2007.

Although focused on practices for companies in emerging markets, this document provides useful ideas for examining stakeholder interests, consulting stakeholders, and providing information to stakeholders.

Sectoral References

ELECTRICITY

Strengthening of the Institutional and Regulatory Structure of the Brazilian Power Sector
World Bank Report on the PPIAF Project for Brazil Power Sector, Task 4, Washington, D.C., December 2002.
Brown, Ashley C., and De Paula, Ericson

Describes potential conflicts of interest in having regulators involved in concessions and auctions. Also describes key considerations in deciding whether regulators should have roles in sector planning. Explains the importance and mechanisms of transparency.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

ICT Regulation Toolkit
Washington, D.C.: infoDev and the International Telecommunications Union, 2007, Modules 1 and 6.

Describes telecommunications regulators’ roles as implementers of policies set by the government.

TRANSPORTATION

Working together: assessing Public–Private Partnerships in Africa Potential of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Africa
South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa, 2005.
Farlam, Peter

Using eight case studies, examines the potential of Public Private Partnerships in Africa. Finds that those partnerships that have been most successful in Africa have been characterised by thorough planning, good communication, strong commitment from both parties and effective monitoring, regulation and enforcement by government. Recommendations for African governments and the private sector drawn from the case studies.

Key Words

Stakeholders, Transparency, Public, Government, Consumers

 

Role of Advisory Bodies

Core References

Background Note: Consumer Involvement in Utility Regulation
2001 (second meeting at Accra, Ghana).
African Forum for Utility Regulation

Addresses issues in establishing advisory bodies, including identifying existing groups and determining whether the group should be formal or informal, the types of members, the appointment process for members, meeting schedules, remuneration, geographic scope, and sector.

Checks and Balances in Utility Regulation – The U.K. Experience
Note no. 185 in Public Policy for the Private Sector. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, May 1999.
Green, R.

Explains that in the U.K., parliamentary select committees oversee the regulatory agencies. The committees usually aim for unanimous reports. There is a committee for each ministry. The committees invite written and oral evidence. Some committee members build up great expertise, but the committees also appoint expert advisers, often academics, to assist them.

Ofwat Annual Report 2003-2004
2004.
OFWAT

Describes use of advisors for technical issues, Ofwat’s service in advisory groups, the setting up of new advisory groups, and working with existing advisory groups.

Utility Regulators — Decisionmaking, Structures, Resources, and Start-up Strategy
Public Sector Note no. 129, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Describes best practices for advisory bodies.

Sectoral References

TRANSPORTATION

The Long and Winding path to Private Financing and Regulation of Toll Roads Policy
Research Working Paper, number 2387, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2000.
Estache, Antonio, Manuel Romero, and John Strong

Provides a broad overview of issues at stake from the viewpoint of both privatization teams and regulators responsible for supervising contractual commitments of private operators and the government, to each other and to users. Because most road projects require investments with long amortization periods and because many projects do not generate enough demand to become self-financing through some type of user fee or toll, the road sector remains in the hands of the public sector to a much greater extent than other transport activities. Nevertheless, there are many ways of getting the private sector involved in toll roads, thus reducing public sector financing requirements for the sector.

Key Words

Advisory bodies, Transparency, Stakeholders

 

Handling of Consumer Grievances and Relations With Consumer Representative Bodies

Core References

Background Note: Consumer Involvement in Utility Regulation
2001 (second meeting at Accra, Ghana).
African Forum for Utility Regulation

Provides an overview of alternative approaches for: (a) fostering consumer awareness of the regulatory system; (b) dealing with consumer complaints; (c) involving consumers in regulatory decisions, and (d) designing regulatory institutions. Holds that credibility with consumers will depend in part on how regulators deal with consumer complaints. Even complaints that may not be valid are opportunities for regulators. States that consumers should understand their rights and obligations, and the role of the regulatory agency. No single communication medium will be ideal for all consumers on all issues. Procedures for handling complaints can be structured in different ways.

State Commissions in Transition: The NARUC Consumer Issues Challenges
National Regulatory Research Institute Quarterly Bulletin 20(2): 1999, pp. 171-176.
Gillis, William

Ofwat Complaints Procedure
March 2003.
OFWAT

Informs customers how to contact Ofwat and make a complaint. Further describes Ofwat’s complaint handling procedures and standards.

Key Words

Complaints, Consumers

 

Institutional Strategies to Solicit Stakeholders’ Input

Core References

Customer Engagement on Prices for Monopoly Services
Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, Research-Discussion Paper, Sydney, Australia, February 2012.

Examines how customers’ views can be represented in price reviews. Analyzes who should engage with customers of regulated businesses, how regulators can best gauge the views of average households, and how customer engagement should feed into future price reviews. Provides preliminary conclusions that:(1) Customer engagement is useful for businesses in delivering services that customers want and are willing to pay for; (2) Customer engagement can be done at different levels and is most effective as part of ongoing strategic planning by regulated businesses; and (3) Regulated businesses should demonstrate that they communicate with customers about prices and service standards using plain language. Also examines why communications are important and methods that are effective.

Five-Year Strategic Management Plan: 2003 – 2007
2003.
Nigerian Communications Commission

Describes NCC’s processes of public hearings and other means of obtaining stakeholder input.

Utility Regulators: Roles and Responsibilities
Note no. 128 in Public Policy for the Private Sector. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Describes approaches for obtaining stakeholder input.

Sectoral References

WATER

Having Your Say: Ofwat’s code of practice on consultations
January 2002.
OFWAT

Describes Ofwat’s consultation processes, including notice, timetables, and documents.

Paying for Water Customer Research
Accent Research for WaterVoice and Ofwat September 2003.
OFWAT

Summarizes research on customers’ attitudes towards paying their bills, what encourages customers to pay bills, operator techniques for managing debt, and customer awareness of the water and sewage bill.

Other References

Democracy and Regulation – How the Public Can Govern Privatised Essential Services
London: Pluto Press, 2003.
Palast, Greg, Jerrold Oppenheim, and Theo MacGregor

Examines U.S. regulation in international context, considering how decisions are made by public debate in a public forum.

 

Public Communication Strategies

Core References

Goal-Oriented Communications Strategies
Intermedia Communications Training (undated).
Intermedia

Identifies keys for communications strategies, including building trust, knowing the media’s goals, meeting the public’s and government’s goals, and meeting the operator’s and other stakeholders’ goals.

Holding a Press Conference
Intermedia Communications Training (undated).
Intermedia

Identifies key steps and strategies for holding a press conference. Considers defining the message, timing, audience, and conference format.

Making Allies with the Media
Intermedia Communications Training (undated).
Intermedia

Identifies techniques for working with the media, including using word pictures, identifying what is new, understanding the angle, developing a lead, accuracy, deadlines, balance, trust, and supporting material. Also provides ground rules.

Five-Year Strategic Management Plan: 2003 – 2007
2003.
Nigerian Communications Commission

Describes NCC’s processes of public hearings and other means of obtaining stakeholder input.

Utility Regulators — Decisionmaking, Structures, Resources, and Start-up Strategy
Public Sector Note no. 129, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Explains importance of open regulatory processes. Discusses approaches in the U.S., U.K., Argentina, and Bolivia.

Key Words

Press, Journalists, Communication, Stakeholders, Transparency, Public

 

Public Hearings

Core References

Consultation and Participation: Overview
in Best Practices in Dealing with Social Impact of Hydrocarbon Operations, Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group.
World Bank Group

States that consultation is the process of receiving input from all stakeholders in a decision. Best practices are reviewed. Practical recommendations include placing consultations in the appropriate legal, cultural, and linguistic contexts; using facilitators; providing background; recognizing that there may be local factions; providing resources for public participation; ensuring that interpreters are present; and dealing with gender issues. Managing a consultation involves planning, testing proposals, involving subject matter experts, training personnel, maintaining overall responsibility, coordinating related activities, building trust, reaching out to normally underrepresented groups, managing expectations, involving appropriate levels of government and NGOs, and preparing an action plan.

Utility Regulators — Decisionmaking, Structures, Resources, and Start-up Strategy
Public Sector Note no. 129, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1997.
Smith, Warrick

Describes processes in U.S., U.K., Argentina, and Bolivia.

Key Words

Transparency, Hearings, Stakeholders

 

Negotiation Techniques and Strategies

Core References

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1981.
Fisher, Roger, and William Ury

Says to focus on and talk about the interests of the negotiators, not their positions. Identify interests by examining the parties’ situations and the effects of their choice options. Identify common interests and areas of mutual gain. Identify your BATNA (Best Available Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) and the BATNA of the other parties. Work to improve our BATNA and to decrease the other parties’ BATNAs.

Bargaining for Advantage
New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
Shell, G. Richard

Says an information-based bargaining approach should be used, focusing on planning and preparation, careful listening, and attending to the “signals” the other party sends through conduct. Six foundations of effective negotiation include your personal bargaining style, your goals and expectations, authoritative standards and norms, relationships, the other party’s interests, and the diverse ingredients that go into the most important of all bargaining assets: leverage. The four stages of the negotiating process itself are preparation, information exchange, proposing and concession making, and commitment.

The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2001.
Thompson, Leigh

Says the use of power and persuasion comes primarily from the negotiator’s BATNA, which must continually be improved. Other sources of power include information, social networks, physical appearance, and persuasion tactics. Creativity and problem solving can overcome fixed-pie perceptions. The key challenges in multiparty negotiations are the development and management of coalitions, the complexity of information management, voting rules, and communication breakdowns. Also explains importance of and techniques in assessing BATNAs and describes negotiation skills.

Key Words

Negotiation, Coalition, Stakeholders

 

Case Studies

Inside the Florida PSC 2003
2003.
Florida Public Service Commission

Consumer Representation in Public Utility – A Review by the National Consumer Council.
PD 02/E/96. London: NCC, 1996.
National Consumer Council

Five-Year Strategic Management Plan: 2003 – 2007
2003.
Nigerian Communications Commission

Annual Report & Financial Statements 2002/03
OUR, Kingston, Jamaica, September 2, 2004.
Office of Utility Regulation, Jamaica

Having Your Say: Ofwat’s code of practice on consultations
January 2002.
OFWAT

OFWAT Complaints Procedure
March 2003.
OFWAT

OFWAT Annual Report 2003-2004
2004.
OFWAT

Alternative Regulatory Practices and Alternative Dispute Resolution
in Legal Aspects of Regulation in South Asia, S. K. Sarkar and Vivek Sharma, eds., New Delhi, India: Tata Energy Research Institute, 2002, pp. 36-44.
Samarajiva, Rohan

Framework for Infrastructure Regulation
Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, India, 2000. Purchase.
Sundar, S. and S. K. Sarkar

Business Plan 2000-2002
2001.
Uganda Communications Commission

Public Communication Strategies

Core References Goal-Oriented Communications Strategies Intermedia Communications Training (undated). Intermedia Identifies keys for communications strategies, including building trust, knowing th. [ Read more ... ]