Customer engagement in UK water regulation: towards a collaborative regulatory state?
Little is known about how processes of ‘expert’ control interact with or move towards collaborative models of regulation. This paper focuses on a critical example of such an apparent shift: customer engagement in price-setting in water regulation in Scotland and England/Wales. By drawing on original interview and documentary analysis, the paper demonstrates a neglected rationale for and usage of ‘collaborative regulation’: regulators introduced customer engagement to incentivise regulated firms into further efficiencies. This points towards an increasing hybridisation of the contemporary regulatory state, in which collaborative regulatory processes are used to advance ‘econocratic’ objectives of expert regulators.
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