Waterways Ombudsman Annual Reports for 2021/22.

The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee issue Annual Reports for 2021/22.

This is the third annual report of the current Ombudsman, Sarah Daniel.

During the year, the Ombudsman received 63 enquiries, 51 of which were directly about the Canal & River Trust, one was about the Avon Navigation Trust, the others about bodies not in jurisdiction. Twelve new investigations about the Canal & River Trust were opened, of which 11 were closed within the year.

  • Of the 11 complaints resolved, 7 were upheld in part and 4 were not upheld. The partially upheld complaints resulted in recommendations being made to the Trust, predominately about improving communications.
  • The complaints were split between boaters and non-boaters and covered a range of topics which are detailed in the complaint summaries.

The Report includes details of other work completed by Sarah this year and sets out details of future work plans for the Committee and the Ombudsman for the coming year. 

Commenting on her third year in office Sarah said,

‘Progressing a complaint to Ombudsman level takes time and effort from the complainant and a degree of determination which should not be underestimated. It can be time consuming and stressful, despite the best efforts of the complaint handling teams and myself to make it a straightforward process. Whatever the eventual outcome there are almost always learning opportunities for the Trust, with the chance to review processes and procedures and to see where improvements can be made. So, as well as thanking the Trust staff for their help and expertise in providing detailed information to assist in the investigation I also record my thanks to the individuals who have taken the time to raise these complaints and put their side of the story forward so the Trust are made aware of the problems encountered and can continue to look for areas to improve.’     

The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme continues to be approved by its Competent Authority, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, in line with the requirements set out in the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Regulations.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River Trust and the Avon Navigation Trust, which are referred to the Ombudsman after completion of the Trust’s own complaints process.

The Waterways Ombudsman Committee oversees the work of the scheme and remains satisfied with the operation and funding of the scheme.

The annual report of the Waterways Ombudsman Committee and the Waterways Ombudsman for 2021-22 is now available online at: woc-annual-report-2021-22.pdf (waterways-ombudsman.org)