The Waterways Ombudsman has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) as a Consumer ADR body under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015. As part of the annual approval process the Waterways Ombudsman scheme is required to publish an annual activity report within one month of the date of the anniversary of the approval, relating to the activities within the year for which the approval relates. Initial approval was granted on 20 August 2015. In my annual activity report for 2016-17 I provided information for the period from 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2016.
The CTSI has decided that for ADR bodies first approved before 1 October 2015, approval would be treated as having being given on 1 October 2015, and I have decided to adopt this date.
As the review is an annual review, I have used a 12 month period for the information below, but it is for the period from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017. During this year (and also for the two months from 1 August to 30 September 2016) there have been no cross-border disputes (that is, disputes raised by a person in an EU country other than the UK).
|Number of domestic and cross-border disputes received in the past year (1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017). The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme is a small specialist scheme and deals only with small numbers of complaints/disputes, which are not categorised.
|Frequently occurring systematic or significant problems.
|Total number of disputes which the Waterways Ombudsman has refused to deal with.
|Percentage of complaints refused because the complainant had not completed the final stage of the Canal & River Trust internal complaints process.
|Percentage of complaints refused because the complainant did not bring the complaint to the Ombudsman within 12 months, and where there was no reasonable cause for the delay.
|Percentage of complaints discontinued for operational reasons.
|Average time taken to resolve disputes.
|Rate of compliance of the Canal & River Trust with any outcomes.
|Co-operation with ADR network to facilitate cross-border disputes.
NOTES: The average time to resolve complaints is based on the time to issuing the final report, starting with the date on which I receive what is known as the Complete Case File (CCF), i.e the information I need to start the investigation.
Investigations must be completed within 90 days unless they are complex. The average of 86 days above is for all cases. The cases investigated by the Waterways Ombudsman are generally quite complex. Of the 15 completed investigations, six were not complex, and all were completed within 90 days.
The average time to resolve disputes is based on completed cases. Of the complaints I received in the year to 30 September 2017, and accepted for investigation, there were three which had reached the CCF stage but where I had not yet reached a decision.