Waterways Ombudsman issues Annual Report

The Waterways Ombudsman, Andrew Walker, and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee, have issued their combined Annual Reports for 2015/16.

The Ombudsman’s Report shows that the number of complaints entering the Canal & River Trust’s complaint process rose from 185 to 222, although this was still fewer than the 232 in 2013/14. During the year the Ombudsman received 47 enquiries about the Trust (down from 62 the previous year).

Fifteen new investigations were opened (down from 16) and 17 investigations were completed (up from 14).

  •        Of the 17 investigations completed, three were upheld and a further six were partly upheld.
  •        Only one of them was not about boating issues, and this was about the operation of a swing bridge over a canal.
  •        Once again, the complaints covered a very broad range of topics, with no clear theme.

Anonymised summaries of all investigations completed during the year are available on the website.

The Committee introduced a revised survey process for people whose complaints have been investigated. Complainants are asked to give their opinions before the Ombudsman issues his report, in order to gauge their view about the process rather than the outcome. Although only three responses have so far been received, the feedback has been very positive.

The year has seen significant changes in the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) landscape in the UK, with the implementation of a European Union Directive requiring all dispute resolution providers to be certified by a government-approved Competent Authority to operate within the sectors they serve. The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme was granted unconditional approval on 20 August 2015 by its Competent Authority, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River 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 2015-16 is now available online at:


For further information:

Andrew Walker, Waterways Ombudsman, PO Box 854, Altrincham, WA15 5JS

Tel: 0161 980 4858