As part of its renewed focus on improving customer service, the Canal & River Trust is today (24 June) announcing a series of changes in the way its teams are organised. The new structure, which has been developed over recent months by, and in consultation with, staff from across the charity, underpins the Trust’s ten-year strategy and aims to create much stronger connections between the charity and the millions of people who use and enjoy its waterways each year.
The Trust’s 11 waterway units will have greater focus on delivering excellent customer service to boaters and other visitors, growing the numbers and range of volunteering opportunities, improving day-to-day operation, and working with Waterways Partnerships to create ever closer relationships with local communities and stakeholders. The technical responsibility for looking after the condition of the thousands of bridges, locks, wildlife sites and other assets which the Trust cares for will be brought together into a national team – overseeing the planning and delivery of engineering works on behalf of the waterways.
To support the changes a new head of customer service will be recruited, reporting directly to the chief executive and taking on the responsibility for leisure boating, licensing and enforcement as well as leading wider customer service changes. The role, which will be externally advertised, will be covered on an interim basis by Dean Davies, currently waterway manager for the West Midlands. In addition the Trust’s head of planning, Heather Clarke, will take on a new broader role as head of strategy and planning, reporting to the chief executive, with a remit to continue to develop the Trust’s strategy to fulfil its vision of living waterways that transform places and enrich lives.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: “As we mark our second anniversary, we can look back on two years of progress – with many of the new aspects of becoming a charity well developed, and changing how the organisation functions. We have many achievements to be proud of – from the growth in volunteering to the new local partnerships we have formed. Now that the Trust is in charge of its own destiny, it needs to become a strategy and customer-led organisation. The changes I’ve announced are not being driven by cost reduction but by our need to become more customer and community focused, and to ensure we’re organised in the best way to achieve our goals.
“Our future success requires us to continue to change how we do things; to engage with all those who use or visit our waterways, or live alongside them, in a different way, to make customer service and community involvement central to how we operate. I have been really encouraged by the positive contribution I have heard from colleagues. It is heartening to see that people right across the organisation see the case for change and are looking forward to it. Whilst some more development work is required, including mapping people into revised roles, we look forward to implementing the new structure in the autumn.”
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