Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Few Observations

In a perfect world
In a perfect inland waterway, all would be well, the rivers would run at green levels, the canals would have plenty of water, the silting up would be a thing of the past. Visitor moorings would be plentiful and lock gates would have no leaks. However, in the real world things on the inland waterways are not idyllic. Vince Moran wrote in "Condition of the waterways" on Narrowboat World about CaRT's view and methods of counting, assessing  the condition and prioritising maintenance issues. This provided an interesting insight to the inner workings. However after ten years, the reduction in the number of serious problems has not quite reached the halfway stage. I can see no better recommendation for more investment being needed.

Is it working
How well the trust is working is also a moot point. Ask the bankside staff and some of them have a totally different perspective to the one that is being portrayed. CaRT now has its business divisions in place and the staff have been compartmentalised physically and apparently mentally. The directorates appear to be working in isolation and are no longer a joined up entity. Each is seen to be pursuing its own business agenda and managing its own budget. Where at one time you could have asked any employee for assistance. Now it is more than their jobs worth to go outside of their directorates terms of reference. Often stating that whatever it is that you want just happens to be some other directorates responsibility. Transgressing a boundary seems to be more than their job is worth!

Direct Communications
I have long thought that it would be good to be able to ask the managers that work within the Canal and River Trust direct questions to which there should be an expectation of a honest and truthful reply. I am singling out office based managers because generally speaking - the real public facing part of CaRT - the bank staff are quite happy to provide their own version of a full picture. However, so far from my experience the two pictures are at odds with each other. I would have thought that the Trust would have embarked on a public relations exercise to that effect. Especially now that as the Trust claim, they are somewhat free of the manacles of government. I don't think the bankside staff quite see themselves as being free of manacles.

Lip Service
I suppose that in a half hearted way CaRT has embarked on such a PR exercise, by embracing Facebook and Twitter. However, the CaRT facebook page is far too sanitised for such a frank exchange to take place. It seems to be operated to filter out any difficult questions and certainly intended to stifle any form of critical debate positive or otherwise. It also ignores those who do not have ready access to the internet. So the ongoing debate takes place in any number of other forums and the result eventually cascades down to those without internet access by word of mouth - the good old towpath telegraph. 

Now that Robin Evans has departed we can only hope that his replacement will be able to pick up the pieces of what should have been a living, thriving inland waterway. But, with the old management in full retreat and a new style of management conducted by committee.  Made up of the great and the good each bringing with them their own agenda. The future is still not looking that bright.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.