What will become of the Waterways Managers?

February 2018 - In what can only be described as a surprise move, C&RT will replace its six remaining Waterways Managers with six Regional Directors, writes Allan Richards. Having advertised for Regional Advisory Board Chairs who will replace Waterway Partnership Chairs, the Trust now appears to have decided not to promote existing Waterways Managers to Regional Directors but to make new appointments, with all the additional costs of recruitment.

As before, there has been no announcement that the Trust is recruiting – or public discussion of the new structure - just a single advert in the Sunday Times that looks hurriedly put together. The advertisement is less than professional with a graph which does not say which of the two lines is the expenditure and a strange photo with no caption. The advert was placed on 23 January 2018 with a closing date of 19 February.

The stage appears to be set for the appointment of another group of top managers who need have no knowledge or understanding of waterways or boats, never mind boaters. Perhaps that is what we must now expect as Richard Parry focuses on the 'wellbeing' of every type of canal visitor.

The Trust is seeking six Regional Directors on an undisclosed salary. The advert states: ‘The appointed individuals will be given a large degree of autonomy to deliver the Trust’s plans and objectives whilst working within a broad team of waterway, property and other associated professionals. It would be desirable if candidates could demonstrate experience of community engagement, growing visitor numbers, and delivering operational performance, as well as commercial and financial acumen.’

The advertisment goes on to say: ‘The regional structure is made up of six large waterways across England & Wales. The six Regional Directors will lead on all aspects of volunteering, engagement, education, local fundraising, events, restoration, communications, licensing and attractions and will manage the contracts which are critical to ensure excellence in customer service. The new regions will strengthen the Trust’s ability to deliver customer service and build reach, awareness and support, and to provide the opportunity for the Trust to maximize the breadth of public good that it achieves.’

The only mention of navigation or boating is the reference to licensing but the question surely is whether licensing really something that is better run locally? Could it be that C&RT still pursuing zoning of licence fees which was so roundly rejected early on in the recent consultation?

However, at least we now know – almost be accident - the names and geographic extent of the six new Regions (even if exact boundaries are somewhat elusive). They are included in the advert!

- North West, including Liverpool city region, Lancashire, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Cheshire.
- Yorkshire and the North East, including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Sheffield City Region, North Lincolnshire, Humber and Stockton on Tees.
- The West Midlands including the combined authority and surrounding counties, i.e. Stafford, Worcestershire, Stoke on Trent, Coventry, Warwickshire and Shropshire.
- East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
- London & South East, Greater London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Berkshire, Reading, Slough, Oxfordshire.
- South West and Wales (Wales as a whole for external relations but operationally there will be nuances) Swindon & Wiltshire, Gloucester, Bath and Somerset.

Does that last bit mean that that the Llangollen canal is now operationally in the West Midlands?

On a more serious note, what will happen to the remaining six Waterways Managers? Will C&RT simply make them redundant to make way for the new Regional Directors or will they be found positions within the new structure? ​

Photos: (1st) C&RT's explanation of the new structure - as announced in a job advert, (2nd) The distinctly strange photograph that accompanies the advertisement without a caption or explanation, (3rd) The graph that doesn't tell you which line is which, (4th) The advert - only in the Sunday Times. Non readers need not apply?

User login