Question time for the boating team

January 2017 - Allan Richards recalls promises made

Do you have a question you would like to ask C&RT’s boating team? Would you like to take part in a live Q&A session?

Would you like to ask why the Trust has done nothing about the speeding cyclist problem? Perhaps you would like to ask why the trust is underperforming on the financial front and feels the need to hit boaters with an above inflation licence increase. Maybe you want to know why the Trust has not dealt with the wall protrusion of lock 40 at Bank Newton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal that caused Patafea Percosa to sink.

If so, here is some rather bad news. You can’t. The boating team would rather talk at you via its Boaters Update rather than to you via regular live Q&A sessions. Despite announcing that it would carry out its first such session in late 2015, the boating team quietly cancelled the event without reason or notice and no such sessions have taken place in the whole of 2016.

It was Damian Kemp. Boating Communications and Consultations Manager who announced in his boaters Update on 4 December 2015 that the trust would be holding a ‘question time for the boating team’. The communication (in the normal gushing Boaters Update style) read:

‘As if our December diaries aren’t hectic enough, we’re hoping you could make room for one more little happening. On the afternoon of the 18 December the boating team will be taking to the internet to answer any questions you may have. We may also try out something new – a live Q&A session. We know you’re interested in what our boating team gets up to and what’s in store for 2016 so we’re going to ask for your questions in advance and then live broadcast our answers. Fingers crossed! Keep an eye on the Facebook Boating page to find out how to take part.’

However, no details were provided on Facebook and the event was not held. When asked for an explanation, Mr Kemp stated that the event had been postponed due to technical difficulties. However, many will find this difficult to believe because similar events have taken place in the past hosted by Chief Executive, Richard Parry.

The next we hear of the Q&A sessions is from a board report by Customer Service and Operations Director Ian Rogers in January 2016. Trustees were told: ‘The first boating management team live web chat with customers is planned for early 2016 giving boaters a chance to ask questions ‘real time’. It is hoped this will become a regular feature for boaters in 2016.’ Mr Rodgers did not admit to the cancelled web chat just a few weeks previously. Suffice to say, the regular feature did not materialise. No reason has ever been given.

Perhaps someone on CaRT’s board might like to ask Mr Rogers at the January 2017 board meeting why he has failed to engage with boaters via web chats for more than a year.

Pictured: (top) Damian Kemp - Boating Communications and Consultations Manager for C&RT, and Customer Service and (below) Operations Director Ian Rogers.

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