Thursday, 13 October 2016

Canal and River Trust continue running pixx-up in brewery.

Same old shxte down the mooring; repairs by the complaints process.

How may complaints does it take for CRT to acknowledge that their contractors are defrauding them? And yes I don't mind using the word fraud when CRT have admitted in writing to me that that their contractors have been making claims for payment for work that never happened.

So thanks to my persistence in insisting that I am not mad, mistaken or paranoid and that in fact the contractors have not done the work they are supposed to for many months, finally CRT checked their own records properly. It took several attempt to get CRT to check thoroughly (and as is too often the case, its seems I am more familiar with their administrative procedures than recently joined staff are!)

Hence after many months we've proved to CRT that the pest control works they have been paying contractors to do all year have not been happening. The fact that they have been pulled up twice in the past by the Ombudsman for letting the service lapse adds to the injury. But I should not be surprised that CRT have forgotten.

I suspect they will find something similar if they decide to look back at the grounds maintenance contract as a whole. It 's amazing how the contractor suddenly turned up and did the work only after we complained!

CRT did get the main entrance gate repainted this summer - only three year late, which is quite good by their standards.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Phoney Peace?

Haven't been here for a while partly because of a bereavement of a very close friend and therefore having more important things to do.

The towpath tom toms I hear are a little distant and that's what I deteremined should happen a few years ago because one gets fed up with dealing with CRT directly. In any event during the summer months people are out boating and CRT managers are taking holidays. For many years I have observed that there is an annual cycle in CRT and BW politics and I predict various things will kick off again in the Autumn.

I do say phony peace because as far as I know bubbling under are various Court cases. Non-one is reporting very much  but I understand there are some hearings coming up in the autumn, in particular Leigh Raenscroft's case which from what I have seen of the papers has potential to be very significant. The particulars of claim I have seen suggest that the case is potentially going to put many aspects of the s8 process to the test if the Court allows that.

s8 course is of course the legislation which CRT rely on to require owners to remove their boats from CRT waters or face seizure and it seems Leigh's case if heard in detail is going to go to the heart of when and the extent that can be applied.

Let's just say for me at least it has echoes of what happened with Nigel Moore.

So hope everyone is enjoying the Summer and back here with more substance before long!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Rumours of common sense being applied to Canal and River Trust mooring policy may have been premature

I was clearly being far too optimistic when I suggested an outbreak of common sense at CRT when it came to visitor moorings policy. As usual, although the intentions were doubtless genuine, the execution was....

CRT attempted another consultation on restricting visitor mooring times in the South East region earlier this year, but a few days after they started, they admitted that they had provided incorrect data for one of the sites so they withdrew that part of the consultation. In their own words:

"...the current mooring stay time information for Batchworth provided in the visitor mooring report to the sub group in November, and subsequently transferred into the consultation was incorrect. This error was highlighted to me today, so I have taken action to withdrawal the Batchworth proposal from the consultation information on the web page replacing it with a correction and apology..."

After that false start Mark Tizzard of NABO pointed out a slightly more serious flaw in the methodology when it came to the data used to justify the consultation as a whole:

It would appear that the volunteers who did the boat logging were not asked to record whether there was any available mooring space so it is not clear whether over the suggested period there was a consistent shortage of available mooring space or not.

So basically the consultation was not based on any evidence of the lack of availability of space, because CRT did not get its  foot soldiers to check for that

(I suppose trying to introduce restrictions with the wrong evidence is a step forward from trying to do it with no evidence whatsoever?)

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

So it was 'charitisation'?

Hello everyone. Still here but not had much to say recently. Not sure if it means CRT are drawing their horns in or if they are just getting better at keeping what they are up to a bit quieter?

One thing has caught my eye and it goes to the bigger picture stuff: A few years back I wrote a piece saying that the transfer of British Waterways to Canal and River Trust was akin to a privatisation as many of us remember that term being applied in the 1980's and 1990's. This article in the Guardian recently informs me that the correct word now is "charitisation".

(I'm pleased to note that the spell check here does not recognise charitisation as being a real word!)

Monday, 29 February 2016

Shock news - It's official: Boaters are Customers!

Last week CRT announced the latest customer survey for boat owners. The press release I saw was headed, 'Revamped Boat Owners' views survey has customer focus'. 

I have only just stopped laughing. One has to wonder what the PR people in CRT do all day to let this one slip through? You mean the previous boaters' surveys weren't customer focused?

Couldn't make it up!

(PS - apparently, strawberry jam contains strawberries - you have been warned!)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

How CRT looks for volunteers

Happy New Year by the way.

It looked to me like CRT bolloxed up their Council elections before the voting even closed. It was only NBTA's vigilance that has prevented the complete disenfranchisement of several hundred boaters with restricted licences.

Simultaneously CRT were advertising for another set of volunteers - new Trustees.