Trust the Trust?
Editor Peter Fellows worries about CRT governance
It may seem odd to focus on elections to NABO Council and CRT Council in this issue as neither will be taking place for another four to five months. But NABO Councillors are taking a well-earned break until September and that wouldn’t give members much time to put in their nominations to stand for election – so I’ve included the nomination form in this issue. Mike Rodd uses his Chairman’s column to air his views on NABO Council (doing a good job) and CRT Council (plenty of room for improvement). Ivor Caplin, one of the boaters’ representatives, gives his views on the first three years of the work of CRT Council, and Allan Richards has unearthed some very poor attendance figures at Council meetings by both members and trustees, which makes me wonder if we should trust the oversight of the Trust. Allan has also spent a lot of time digging into the workings of the Waterways Ombudsman Committee, which oversees the work of the Waterways’ Ombudsman – an aspect of waterway administration that is little-known to most boaters. His findings should give us all cause for concern. Overall, these articles point to the need for some radical rethinking on the governance of the Trust.
But it’s not all bad news for CRT: I’m pleased to include an article by Sean Williams, CRT’s Welfare Officer, on his first eight months in the job. He is making some good progress in building support networks that can help boaters in trouble. With a caseload of 70 boaters in this time, there is clearly a need for his work. He has already successfully helped 35 boaters, avoiding court action and so saving CRT the huge legal fees that otherwise might have been incurred – hopefully savings that can now go to waterway improvements. I’m also pleased to introduce a regular column featuring people who earn a living by trading on the canals and rivers; this time, it’s Helen and Andy Tidy on their ‘Jam Butty’.
Finally in this issue, Mark Tizard brings us up to date with CRT’s new terms and conditions and enforcement of the continuous cruising rules – and what the next steps might be. So, a packed issue to keep you busy over the summer. Please think about standing for election to NABO Council and give me a wave if you see me around the Midlands canals over the next few months.