The Committee was first established in early 2005 to oversee the operation of the Waterways Ombudsman scheme and the independence and accessibility of the Ombudsman. The Committee has five members, with the provision in the rules for a sixth. Of the five members, three (including the current chairman - Kevin Fitzgerald) are independent and two are appointed by the Canal & River Trust. Full details of the membership of the Committee are given in the latest Annual Report and full details of their role in the Rules of the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme.
The main roles of the Committee are:
- the appointment (or removal from office) of the Ombudsman;
- keeping the operation of the scheme under review, both to ensure that it meets its purposes and that it is adequately funded;
- to receive reports on the method and adequacy of publicising the scheme;
- to publish an annual report.
Issues relating to the investigation or determination of complaints are matters for the Ombudsman alone, and the Committee has no part to play in those.