Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways (6)

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways

Governments of all colours have from time to time come up with various bits of stupid legislation, that has eventually created the pit for their own downfall. 
  • For Thatcher is was the Poll Tax. 
  • For Major it was Family Values. 
  • For Cameron it was Big Society. 
  • For the Railways it was the wrong kind of Snow. 
  • For the Canal and River Trust its Waterways Partnerships.

There has been chapter and verse written over the last decade and longer, highlighting the distrust that many hold for the way that the waterways are being managed. What has become plain to see with the 20:20 vision provided by a decade or more of hindsight. Is that the quango charged to manage the waterways, was ill equipped with the right kind of personnel for the job. I'm not talking about the skill set of the general staff. The finger of responsibility has to be pointed much higher up the command structure.

Waterways Partnerships

Waterways Partnerships are another bone of contention with many boaters. What purpose do they actually serve and furthermore are they delivering any value for money. How is that value being quantified. Has anyone done a return on investment analysis.  Highlighting the use of appointments and not elections. Just a mutual, back slapping, self congratulating nodding shop.

From the trusts own accounts the waterways partnerships are funded directly by the trust. Only providing yet another expensive layer of bureaucracy. The nature of what is being done by partnerships should fall within the remit of the trusts management structure. Once again I don't recall other waterways such as the Environment Agency requiring such groups. This is a function provided by the EA management teams on the ground. 

The money used for funding the Waterways Partnerships could be better used for propping up the ever dwindling maintenance budget. But the trust can't lose face and will persist to the bitter end with this black hole for fund raising.

So where is the responsibility element?
Where was the oversight by the trustees?

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