News

12 July 2017

The Ombudsman Association re-validates the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme's membership of the Association

The Ombudsman Association is a professional association for ombudsmen and complaint handlers, their staff and others interested in the work of independent complaint resolution. It periodically reviews its member organisations, in a validation process, to ensure that they continue to fulfil the criteria for membership.

The Waterways Ombudsman and Committee are very pleased to announce that on 7 July 2017 the Ombudsman Association confirmed that at its meeting on 5 May 2017 the Association’s Executive Committee agreed the Validation Committee’s recommendation to re-validate the Waterway Ombudsman Scheme’s membership.

 

21 February 2017

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has again approved the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme

The Waterways Ombudsman is pleased to announce that on 9 February 2017 the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) confirmed that it was unconditionally approved by the as a Consumer ADR body under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme provides an impartial and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints about the Canal & River Trust which have already been considered under the Trust’s own complaints process.

Ombudsman Andrew Walker says: “I am very pleased to note the CTSI’s recognition of the work of the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme, and that it has recognised this in granting its unconditional approval for another year”.

If you have any questions about this announcement, or any other topics, please contact the Ombudsman. Please note that as he works part-time he may not be able to respond to telephone calls immediately, but will endeavour to do so as soon as he can.

 

11 August 2016

Waterways Ombudsman issues Annual Report

The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee have issued their Annual Reports for 2015/16.

The Ombudsman’s Report shows that the number of complaints entering the Canal & River Trust’s complaint process rose from 185 to 222, although this was still fewer than the 232 in 2013/14. During the year the Ombudsman received 47 enquiries about the Trust (down from 62 the previous year). Fifteen new investigations were opened (down from 16) and 17 investigations were completed (up from 14).

  • Of the 17 investigations completed, three were upheld and a further six were partly upheld.
  • Only one of them was not about boating issues, and this was about the operation of a swing bridge over a canal.
  • Once again, the complaints covered a very broad range of topics, with no clear theme.

Anonymised summaries of all investigations completed during the year are available on the website.

The Committee introduced a revised survey process for people whose complaints have been investigated. Complainants are asked to give their opinions before the Ombudsman issues his report, in order to gauge their view about the process rather than the outcome. Although only three responses have so far been received, the feedback has been very positive.

The year has seen significant changes in the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) landscape in the UK, with the implementation of a European Union Directive requiring all dispute resolution providers to be certified by a government-approved Competent Authority to operate within the sectors they serve. The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme was granted unconditional approval on 20 August 2015 by its Competent Authority, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River Trust which are referred to the Ombudsman after completion of the Trust’s own complaints process.

The Waterways Ombudsman Committee oversees the work of the scheme and remains satisfied with the operation and funding of the scheme.

 

6 November 2015

Waterways Ombudsman issues Annual Report

The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee have issued their Annual Report for 2014/15

The Report shows that, while the number of complaints entering the Trust’s complaint process fell from 232 to 185, the number coming to the Ombudsman remained broadly stable. During the year the Ombudsman received 62 enquiries about the Trust (up from 54 the previous year). 16 new investigations were opened (up from 14) and 14 investigations were completed (down from 15).

  • Of the 14 investigations completed, two were upheld and a further six partly upheld
  • Of the 14, two complaints were from businesses, nine were from boaters, one was related to a property tenancy, one to surface water drainage charges, and one to the integrity of canal infrastructure
  • A further five cases were resolved either by complainant or Trust action without the need for formal intervention from the Ombudsman
  • As in the previous two years, the complaints covered a very broad range of topics, with no clear theme

This year, for the first time, instead of including anonymised case summaries as part of the Annual Report, they are available on the Ombudsman’s website.  The Report includes a list of completed investigations, as well as referring to some of them in the text, and all references include a link to the summary on the website.

As well as placing the 2014-15 summaries on the website, summaries have been added for the previous two years, and anybody looking for examples of particular situations can more easily search or browse the summaries. In future, summaries will be added as investigations are completed, rather than waiting until the Annual Report is issued.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River Trust which are referred to the Ombudsman after completion of the Trust’s own complaints process.

The Waterways Ombudsman Committee oversees the work of the scheme and remains satisfied with the operation and funding of the scheme.

 

28 August 2015

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute approves the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme

The Waterways Ombudsman is pleased to announce that on 20 August 2015 the service was unconditionally approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute as a Consumer ADR body under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

The new legislation, which came into force on 9 July 2015, means that all dispute resolution providers must be certified by a government approved Competent Authority to operate within the sectors they serve.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme provides an impartial and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints about the Canal & River Trust which have already been considered under the Trust’s own complaints process.

Ombudsman Andrew Walker says: “The service has provided a dispute resolution service for complainants to the Canal & River Trust and its predecessor, British Waterways, since 1993. The approval by CTSI recognises the continuing commitment to the provision of that service.”

If you have any questions about this announcement, or any other topics, please contact the Ombudsman. Please note that as he works part-time he may not be able to respond to telephone calls immediately, but will endeavour to do so as soon as he can.