Thursday, 30 July 2009
This is what presently constitutes British Waterways' process for allocating vacant moorings on its waterways. Their justifications for this (and the almost universal opposition from the main boating user groups) can be seen in full detail here.
Housing Associations have for many years been deemed to be third sector organisations. One of the implications of that is, because they are not full blown public bodies but 'independent', they are not subject to the same legal and public scrutiny processes as a Council Housing departments. For instance The Freedom of Information Act for instance does not apply to Housing Associations.
Well a tenant has managed to persuade the Courts that because her landlord receives public money and works so integrally with the public housing process they should be subject to a thing called Judicial Review - This is the legal process for challenging the lawfullness of a public body's actions. (See for instance 'Inside Housing's coverage)
The intertesting point to me in that story is that the landlord is considering issuing an appeal to try to avoid being subjected to judicial scrutiny.
The Housing world has split on this one. The landlord was most recently taking the view that they could not afford the expense and trouble of even the possibilty of allowing of their actions being scrutinised in this way and was last I heard, trying to persuade other landlords to join in an appeal.
The opposing view and one which I ascribe to, is one of deep disgust that they should fear being subject to this level of scrutiny when their decisions can have such an impact on people's lives. Housing people of a more radical view like me take the view, if your policies and procedures can't stand up to this sort of public scrutiny when the sector is in receipt of millions of pounds worth of public funding a week, and has a huge impact on the lives of so many people, then we (and you!) should be worried!
This illustrates one of the potential down-sides of letting BW go third sector. The already weak accountability processes in BW when it comes to policy decisions may be further weakened and that is in itself enough of a reason not to endorse BW going third sector?
(First published by me as a comment on Narrowboatworld, earlier today
Sunday, 26 July 2009
I have also had this from friends of friends who were due to be trading on the site and it is definitely off.
If you know anyone in transit or planning to go please let them know because it's expected the Police will be turning people away before you get there.
Having downloaded the PDF version into a PDF reader, I have done a word search. The results are quite interesting:-
Boats 11 counts,
Dredging 8 counts
Locks 17 counts
Maintenance 35 counts
Property 167 counts
Perhaps that's all you need to know?
BW's latest annual report is available from:
Here's thinking positive thoughts and wishing that whatever the problem is, it can be sorted out.
Friday, 17 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
That British Waterways needs to change and modernise is self evident. A £30M deficit, no prospect of Government bail-out, plus the emperor’s new clothes having fallen off BW’s planned reliance on the property market, all focus the mind, even in BW!
The immediate consequences for those most intimately connected to the waterways however are that we are paying the price.
- Boaters, the largest and most valuable group of individual fee paying customers, are seeing licence and mooring fee increases at the hand of BW of typically 7-10% per annum.
- Mooring vacancies are now only offered to the highest bidder.
- A thousand BW staff including their frontline patrol teams (but not the board and directors who led them into this mess!) is having to re-apply for nine hundred vacancies (i.e. rather than upset a hundred members of staff with redundancy notices, let’s upset a thousand!).
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
The best eggs I have eaten in a long time came from a former work colleague who keeps their own chickens and 'sold' their excess, giving the money raised to the organisation's charitable wing.
Monday, 13 July 2009
Q. Boats overstaying in large groups at the same site are effectively creating an estate without planning consent. If the facilities at Fieldes Weir are closed, where will the Elsan containers be emptied?
A. The facilities at Stanstead Abbots are not a long distance away, so boaters should go there instead.
Q. Will the water supply be turned off at Fieldes Weir?
A. Yes, all the facilities will be suspended. There are currently boats moored illegally which are permanently connected to the BW water supply, so turning it off will make them move.
I will happily defend my own words but in this environment I have to take a little care about what I let other post on my blog.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
I'm aware of lots of individuals and groups dotted around the country who never quite manage to hook up with each other. If all this blog does is a get a few more of us talking to each other then that's what I intend.
I hope some of the folk who don't feel able to engage with the mainstream user groups will if nothing else see this and know they are not alone.
I believe we need ultimately to network and stand together if we are not to be picked off one by one? I have seen this happen to many of my boating friends over the years and it is still going on.
In April 2009 they tabled a detailed paper for attendees laying out a huge range of proposed new policies towards moorings management generally.
What does it say? Well I saw this in my capacity as a NABO officer so I can't tell you! And don't bother looking again at the BW link above either because at the time of writing, nearly three months later, notes of the meeting are not yet posted.