Regional Advisory Boards replace Waterway Partnerships

January 2018 - At the start of the year The Floater's predicted: “Few Waterway Partnership members or chairs will survive the reduction in the number of Waterway Regions from 10 to 6. However, Waterway Partnerships will be retained, even though they have failed almost competely in meeting their original objectives.” As Allan Richards reports it looks like the name will be changed – but what else?

Canal & River Trust is to relaunch its ailing Waterways Partnerships as Regional Advisory Boards, and has advertised for a number Regional Advisory Board Chairs with a very early closing date of February 5.

The role is described as follows: 'The Regional Advisory Board Chair is a voluntary, non-executive role and it will bring knowledge and experience that will help us better reach and serve the local communities we operate in. Successful applicants will have strong relationships with local politicians and council officials, business and community leaders and other significant stakeholders.

'The Regional Advisory Board Chairs will form and chair local meetings of their Advisory Board, and will also be a member of the Trust’s national governing Council which meets biannually.

'This is an exciting opportunity to act as an ambassador for the Trust and to make a difference in people’s lives by conserving and improving the waterways. We are looking for people from diverse backgrounds with a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the waterways and a belief in the aims of the Trust. The position of Regional Advisory Board Chair is for an initial term of three years.'

Strangely, the advert appears in the Sunday Times and nowhere else. Perhaps we are to assume that all those with 'a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the waterways' read this publication? ​

All but one partnership chair was to retire this year

The advert says C&RT are looking for four rather than six chairs. This suggests that C&RT may have already offered positions to two candidates

C&RT give few details regarding the roles. In particular the advert fails to state -

- the geographical areas for the vacancies.

- if local boards will be expected to raise funds.

- the amount of time per month that needs to be given to perform the role of chair.

- the existence of Waterway Partnerships and any need for continuity in waterway partnership projects.

With regard to continuity, there is no evidence that C&RT wishes existing Waterway Partnerships to make a formal handover to Regional Advisory Boards. Indeed, the evidence points the other way.

The latest figures in the public domain (July 2017) suggests that 71 out of 98 Waterway Partnership members are due to retire within 12 months. This includes nine out of ten chairs. As reported previously, two chairs have already resigned and not been replaced.

No doubt C&RT will attempt to appoint Regional Advisory Board Chairs in time for its 14th Council meeting on 21 March 2018 with any remaining Waterway Partnership chairs having appointments terminated before that date.

Photos: (1st) The job advertisement - only in the Sunday Times, (2nd) All but one partnership chair was to retire this year.

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