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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

This notice outlines how we, Explain Market Research (hereinafter “We” or “Us”) and United Utilities Water Limited use your personal data when you sign up to, and participate in the online United Utilities research community.

Who we are?

United Utilities Group PLC is a group of companies which includes United Utilities Water Limited (the Data Controller) who are the water and wastewater undertaker for the North West of England. 

United Utilities has commissioned to build and manage this research community on their behalf.

We only collect the minimum amount of personal information that is necessary to fulfill the purpose of your interaction with us. We do not sell it to third parties, and we only use it as this Privacy Notice describes.

When we do so, we are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).   We are responsible as a “processor” of that personal information for the purposes of those laws.

How do we collect your information?

If you register and create an account, we require some basic information at the time of account creation. You will create your own username and password, and we will ask you for a valid email address. We need this information to create your account, and to be able to identify you on the United Utilities research community. We will also ask for further profiling information such as gender, date of birth and profession, etc. The collection of such data is used for research purposes and to inform United Utilities about the demographics of their members.

Only your username, self-selected photo and information posted on to the community will be shared with other users; please do not use your email address as your username and we strongly recommend that you choose a username and photo which is not linked to your own name or identifies you, and that you do not include any personal information in your postings.

We will use your email address to communicate with you, in terms of updating you when there is new content on the community, with opportunities to take part in market research or other topics related to the United Utilities research community, such as if you are one of our prize draw winners.

In order to further enrich the results of the research activity, and only in limited circumstances, United Utilities may need an identifier, such as your e-mail address to carry out further analysis for market research purposes only.  Prior to any information being shared you will receive a notification from us to request your permission. 

In running and maintaining this community we may collect and process the following data which is collected by Explain Market Research and shared with United Utilities:

  • Information provided voluntarily by you. For example, when you complete your user profile or participate in community content
  • Information about your use of our site including details of your visits such as pages viewed and the resources that you access. Such information includes traffic data, location data and other communication data
  • Your email address and how you use your emails - for example whether you open them and which links you click on
  • Information that you provide when you communicate with us by any means

 Use of your information

Data can be viewed by authorized persons within Explain Market Research and United Utilities to:

-         Improve the site by monitoring how you use it

-         Gather feedback to improve United Utilities services

-         Respond to any feedback you send us, if you’ve asked us to

-         Send communication emails to users relating to the United Utilities research community, including but not exclusive to; new content, prize draw information, changes to Community terms and conditions and privacy notice, and user account queries.

United Utilities can view your interactions linked with your username and other profiling information, such as length of time as a United Utilities customer. Any contribution that you make to the community, such as commenting on posts or creating discussions can be seen with your username attached by other members of the community, including United Utilities staff members. You can use the ‘anonymous’ option to contribute to the community without your username attached, in which case other members of the community and United Utilities will not be able to view this linked to your username. Please see Help and frequently asked questions for how to comment and use the anonymous setting.

Please see Terms and Conditions for more information on how we will use the information.

What is the lawful basis for processing your personal data?

United Utilities have a legal obligation to supply water, maintain water quality, and promote water efficiency.  This also includes taking surveys to improve customer satisfaction. 

These activities are regulated by OFWAT and there are standards set that must be met to ensure high quality research e.g., Market Research Society Guidelines.  The research carried out is to be inclusive and representative of all United Utilities Customers. 

We need to collect and use personal data in order to carry out the market research on United Utilities behalf.  Collecting this personal data is with your informed consent.  The lawful basis is Article 6 (1) (a) of the UK General Data Protection Legislation (UK GDPR).

We may be required to ask questions which may indirectly require you to provide some sensitive information about yourself (such as a disability or health requirements).  These are called special category data and need special care in processing them.  The lawful basis for processing this type of data is your explicit consent to do so under Article 9 (2) (a) of the UK GDPR.  You can also choose not to answer these questions.

The research is also being carried out by United Utilities the purpose of a Public Task set by OFWAT (the Regulator) and is in compliance with the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.


You can unsubscribe from the United Utilities research community or delete your user account at any time by clicking here and selecting ‘leave the community’.

We will only hold your data for as long as you are a member of the United Utilities research community. When you unsubscribe your data will be deleted and any interactions (comments on the community) will be anonymised.

Where your data is stored

All data is stored securely at our head office within the UK (details of which are set out below). Our information security policy can be provided on request.

If you have any queries or complaints about the way your data is handled please contact Explain using the details below.

Explain Market Research

The Core

Newcastle Helix

Newcastle upon Tyne


You can also request a copy of the data held on you using these details. Explain tries to be as open as it can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a ‘subject access request’ under the General Data Protection Regulation. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.


To make a request to Explain for any personal information we may hold you need to put the request in writing addressing it to the address provided below. If you agree, we will try to deal with your request informally, for example by providing you with the specific information you need over the telephone.

If we do hold information about you, you can ask us to correct any mistakes or erase your data by, once again, contacting the address below.

Data Protection Lead

Explain Market Research

The Core

Newcastle Helix

Newcastle upon Tyne



Telephone: 0191 261 5261

Further information on the United Utilities privacy notice can be found here

Whilst we hope that we can address any questions or concerns you might have, should you need to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office you can do so using one of the following methods:

Post: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 745