Saturday, 27 September 2014

Change Managment

In my old place of work, long before the days of retirement spent cruising the canals. I worked in higher education. There are many ills plaguing higher education today. Compared to when I first started our educational system has moved on from a quality led system to 'bums on seats' and bums being in the posterior sense. For the first twenty years I would have done the job for nothing. Then there was a period of nonsensical, politically inspired change. For the last five years you could not pay me enough to do what I was doing. I was disenchanted, not by change itself but by the blind obedience to a change.

Much as I decry the more modern methods and still yearn for the 'old days.' We still did some wonderful things. We brought a lot of young people in through the doors to come and experience university life - either through 'bring your child to work days' or alternatively through various 'youth experience schemes.' But the youth experience schemes over time reached a crisis point. A point where it took so long to process the paperwork which came with increasing amounts of form filling, hoop jumping, health and safety awareness nonsense and fidelity checking. It was easier and less time consuming to just say no.

The canal and river trust is doing the reverse. As boaters offer to let members of CaRT's staff spend some time with them. Where they get some real insight the canals. The employee will get to see the warts as well as the flowers. The employee will also discover that rather than a whining, winging group. The boaters are actually an enthusiastic if somewhat doddery group at the top end of the age profile.

Now I can sit back and contrast my experiences in eduction with my experiences of the canal and river trust. Richard Parry has in a way been on the hustings gathering at first hand the politics of the electorate. No matter how you see the CEO's first year of tenure, it has been a breath of fresh air. I feel sure that he has found the trust is an unwieldy uncompromising object. One that opposes change with its only tangible but questionable success so far has been its change of name. There have been vague promises made to become more open and transparent. But the actual commitment to such an ethos is sadly lacking.

The world around us is changing, people at a grass roots level are becoming much more aware of what is happening around them. People now beginning to question what is happening around them. It all started with Westminster and the various scandals and it brought an upsurge of people getting involved. Parliament is under a level of scrutiny like it has never been before. The banking crisis brought home to people that incompetence and  avarice was at every level of our society. Ideas such as Cameron's Big Society charity, like  Thatchers Poll Tax and Major's Family Values has crashed and burnt. Now the Big Society is being scrutinised by the Charity Commission.

Now we learn that CaRT is also being scrutinised by the Charity Commission. Not only that but CaRT is also being scrutinised more and more by the people who are the real canal society. There was a time when the IWA was at the forefront when it came to scrutiny. Now, since the unholy alliance brought about by the Memorandum of Understanding. The metaphorical torch used for shining into dark corners has been handed on to others.

When the change should have been root and branch. I think that the trust is hardly fit for purpose in the third sector. The trust needs to embrace a complete change of ethos. 

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