Relevant Person

Guidance on nominating a "Relevant Person"

The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (The 2017 Regulations) require local authorities to determine the relevant person(s) for each supply.

The Relevant person is someone who:

A. in relation to a supply of water in pipes to premises, a person who -

(a) owns any part of the private water supply system; or

(b) owns or occupies -

    (i)    the premises;

    (ii)   the land from which any part of the water is abstracted; or

    (iii)  land in, on or over which any part of the private water supply

           system is installed;

(c) exercises powers of management or control in relation to -

    (i)    the premises;

    (ii)   the land from which any part of the water is abstracted; or

    (iii)  land in, on or over which any part of the private water supply

           system is installed;

    (iv)  a body of water or other source from which any part of the water is

           abstracted;

    (vii)  the supply of water in pipes; or

    (viii)  the private water supply system; or

(d) is a water supplier

B. in relation to a supply of water from a tanker, a person who supplies the water from the tanker or exercises powers of management or control in relation to the supply of water from the tanker; and

C. in relation to a supply of water in bottles or containers, a person who puts the water into the bottles or containers or exercises powers of management or control in relation to the supply of water in bottles or containers.

The definition is intended to provide sufficient flexibility to take account of the wide variety of arrangements through which people access private water supplies, for example, from owners and users of a supply to a land owner where the source is situated. To be determined a relevant person you can be one, two or all three of the above.

When determining the relevant person, local authorities must consider any agreement, contract, or licence relating to the terms on which the water is supplied.

The local authority must inform all those determined by it as a relevant person in writing and it should be done as soon as the determination has been made.

Where a person has been determined a relevant person, and they disagree with it, that person has a right of appeal against the decision. The appeal must be lodged within 21 days from the date of notification of the determination. While the appeal is pending, any actions which may be required to be undertaken by the relevant person are not enforceable under the Water Scotland Act 1980.

Sometimes it is relatively easy to identify the relevant person(s), whilst for others it is far more complicated. However, on occasion it can be difficult for local authorities to determine the relevant person(s) because the source may not be on land owned by any of the premises supplied and there may be no legal agreements or records.  In these circumstances discussion and co-operation between all those concerned is essential, eg, the landowner, occupiers of the land, the local authority and the owners/occupiers of the premises.  In some circumstances, legal advice may have to be sought, ultimately the local authority has to make the decision.

Relevant Person - Owners and Users Guide

  • Why am I a relevant person?
  • I am not happy with the determination
  • What are my responsibilities?

    Why am I a relevant person?

    Local authorities are required to determine for their respective interests the persons who, individually or collectively, provide the supply of drinking water; occupy the land from, or on which, the supply is obtained or located; or exercise powers of management or control in relation to the supply. For example, you may own a property on a supply, own land which contains the source, pipes, storage tanks etc.

    I am not happy with the determination

    Discuss the determination with the Local Authority, if the issue isn’t resolved an individual determined as a relevant person can appeal. The appeal must be lodged within 21 days from the date of notification of the determination. The appeal is heard by the Sheriff and their decision is final.

    What are my responsibilities?

    Responsibilities of relevant persons will vary depending on why you are considered a relevant person. As a relevant person you may be responsible for one or more of the issues outlined below.

    Ensure the supply is wholesome

    By wholesome we mean that it does not contain any micro-organisms, parasites or substance at a concentration or value that would be considered a risk to health. The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 set out the concentrations or values that are considered safe. Any concentration or value above the parameters set in the regulations may present a risk to health and would be unwholesome. The best way of ensuring wholesomeness of the supply is to take advice from your local authority’s Environmental Health team. They can advise on source protection, treatment or plumbing issues, and can issue non-means tested grants of up to £800 per property to make improvements.

    Ensure users of the supply are made aware of any water quality issues

    Relevant persons have a responsibility to ensure every user on the supply is made aware of any water quality issues with the supply along with any interim measures that should be taken, for example, boiling the water before use, using bottled water only etc. Some local authorities do this on behalf of relevant person(s), this should be made clear in communications from your local authority.

    Maintenance of the supply

    It is critical to ensure that the private water supply is maintained. This could mean protecting the source by ensuring fences are maintained, or limiting the possibility of contamination, eg from pesticides or septic tank waste. It is also important that water treatment is operated and maintained appropriately; otherwise the supply may become unsafe and present a risk to health. This could be something as simple as ensuring the UV filter is cleaned and the bulb replaced. Also, if there are any storage tanks on the system, these may need to be checked to ensure dirty water doesn’t enter them, and they may need to be cleaned periodically. We would recommend that each supply has a maintenance plan. Your local Environmental Health team can further advise on this, there is also further information on the private water supplies website.

    Improve the supply if required

    The risk assessment carried out by the local authority may highlight areas of the supply that may need improvement, for example, source protection or treatment may be required. Your local authority’s Environmental Health team can offer advice where necessary.

    Legal requirement to carry out any actions stated in a 76G notice

    There is a duty on local authorities to serve a notice on the relevant person(s) under section 76G of the Water Scotland Act 1980 (as amended) to ensure required improvement works are made to the supply. This ensures consumers are protected whenever there is a potential danger to human health by requiring prohibition or restriction of use of the private water supply, such as boil notices, and by making sure the required improvements are made to the supply.

    Local authorities have discretionary powers to issue a notice in respect of smaller, exempt supplies. However, DWQR and health professionals would expect the local authority to use these discretionary powers if there is a risk to health, and local authorities are expected to have a policy on these discretionary powers.

    It is an offence of failing, without reasonable excuse, to take any step specified in a notice issued under section 76G of the 1980 Act.

    Further information regarding notices can be found on the private water supplies website and from your local authority.

    Pay for risk assessment/review of risk assessment

    If you have a Regulated supply, that is a supply which supplies 50 or more people, produces 10m3 a day or more of water or supplies a commercial or public activity, your local authority is required to carry out a risk assessment and then annual reviews of the assessment. The local authority can charge for carrying out the risk assessment, for any preparation work required and for a review of the risk assessment. Additionally, samples will be taken, which are based on the risk assessment, and you will be charged for this – the charge will depend on what samples are taken and may be shared with other relevant persons on the supply.

    If you have an Exempt supply, that is a small domestic supply, there is a legislative duty on local authorities to sample and risk assess exempt supplies when requested. The local authority can charge up to a maximum of £50 for carrying out the risk assessment and up to a maximum of £70 for any preparation work required. There is no legislative duty to annually review the risk assessment for exempt supplies, however, if the relevant person requested it they could be charged for this. Additionally, samples will be taken, which are based on the risk assessment, and you will be charged for this – the charge will depend on what samples are taken.

    Pay for sampling and analysis

    There is a legislative duty on local authorities to sample regulated  supplies at least once a year. The local authority can charge per visit to sample the supply and also charge for check monitoring analysis and for audit monitoring analysis. These charges may be shared with other relevant persons on the supply.

    If the local authority has reason to believe the supply may be a risk to public health or the supply is deemed high risk i.e. a hotel, they can carry out sampling and analysis as often as they deem necessary (this would be based on the risk assessment) and can charge the above on each visit.

    Exempt supplies are not subject to the legislative requirement to be sampled yearly. However, the local authority must sample and analyse the samples if requested. The local authority can charge up to a maximum of £70 per visit to sample the supply and up to a maximum of £48 per visit for the analysis.

    If the local authority has reason to believe the supply is a risk to human health, they can carry out additional sampling and analysis over and above a request from the relevant person and charge the appropriate costs per visit.

    Further information on sampling and analysis can be found on the private water supply website. Your local authority will be able to provide you with further information on their charging policy, as their charges may be less than the maximum provided in the regulations.

Related Documents