Increase in performance failures 'satisfactory under the circumstances' claims C&RT

March 2018 - With C&RT's financial year ending, comes confirmation that the the charity will fail to achieve targets for at least six Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) . The first sign of failure was an admission, just four months into the new financial year, that the the Trust would be unable to meet its 2017/18 year end target of 28,500 'Friends'. Allan Richards takes a look at recently published figures that give the position as of January, some 10 months into C&RT's 2017/18 financial year.

First up, a look at the problematic issue of 'Friends'. C&RT's aspiration was to recruit and retain 100,000 'Friends' over its first ten years. To achieve this, at the end of year six it should have about 60,000 'Friends'.

The target it set itself was rather more modest - just 28,500. However just four months into its sixth financial year it admitted that even 28,500 could not be achieved by year end. By the end of January its acheivement of 23,500 was still 5,000 short of its 28,500 target and and a massive 36,500 short of where it needs to be to recruit 100,000 over ten years.

In financial terms, it means that, for the sixth year in a row, C&RT will make a loss on charitable giving. Hopefully, that loss will be slightly smaller than in past years. Taken together with C&RT's recent admission that none of its Waterways Partnerships had managed to obtain third party funding for their Three Year Plans, one is left wondering what the financial advantages of C&RT being a charity really are ...

C&RT operates a traffic light system for measuring its KPI's against interim and year end targets -

- Green indicates that the KPI is ahead of target
- Yellow indicates that the KPI is behind target (possibly recoverable by year end)
- Red indicates that the KPI target cannot be achieved (unrecoverable by year end)

'Friends' has been red since month 4. By month 10 another five KPI's had joined it -

'People aware of the Trust' is red with 36 per cent aware against a target of 40 per cent - together with the 'Friends KPI this is perhaps the reason for the much criticised rebranding, and certainly bad news if it wants to persuade government to part with more cash on the basis of the 'wellbeing' created in the general public by the waterways.

'Number of adoptions of C&RT's waterways (each adoption scheme roughly equates to 1 mile)' is also red - 205 against a target of 220. How many of these 205 adoptions are actually active?

'Diversity - percentage senior management female' is red - not only is the number less than target, it is also less than last year. The fall is disappointing bearing in mind the clean bill of health that C&RT gave itself on the gender pay gap (The C&RT bonus culture).

'£ million secured from restricted statutory and voluntary funding, philanthropic and individual giving and contributions in kind' is red. The January figure is £14.4m against a year end target of £21.9m and a previous year actual £25.9m.

Last but by no means least - 'Number of days of unplanned closures to navigation within our control (individual instances over 48 hours)' - C&RT give the month 10 figure as 458 days. This is already greater than the 2017/18 target (400 days). No doubt it will be well over 500 by year end, especially with the breach at Middlewich.

Six KPI's in the red. The question is will the year end total be more. For that we have to look at yellow KPI's -

'Diversity - % staff BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic)' - here the month 10 figure of 4.6 per cent is not only below target of 5.0per cent but also below the previous year actual of 4.8 per cent.

'Number of volunteer hours per annum' is given as 489,794 against a year end target of 600,000.

Finally, 'Number of individual visitors to our waterways in typical two-week period (over last 12 months)'. This KPI is 4.4m against a target of 4.5m. By way of comparison BW's intention was 7.2m (including Scotland) by 2012.

So the big picture is that C&RT has already conceded that it will fail against six of its 2017/18 KPI's with no possibility of recovery. A further three were yellow in January with the possibility that year end KPI targets might not be achieved. For comparison, C&RT failed to achieve just three KPI's the previous year (2016/17).

Minutes of the board meeting on January 25 record 'The Trust’s Performance against KPIs is largely satisfactory in the circumstances'. However, it is unclear if this is the opinion of the Board, its Chief Executive Richard Parry or both. It is unclear what these circumstances are.

Do they mean the self inflicted turmoil created by a reorganisation designed to cut costs by shedding senior staff and reversing the the centralisation policy of three years ago? ​

Photos: (1st) The report that suggests doubling the number of failed Key Performance Indicators is 'largely satisfactory in the circumstances', (2nd) January 2018 - six red KPI's, (3rd) 2017 - just three red KPIs, (4th) Richard Parry - largely satisfactory in the circumstances? (5th) Richard Parry - largely satisfactory in the circumstances?

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