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Annual activity report 2018-19

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. The information below is for the 12 months from 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019. During this period 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 2018 to 30 September 2019). The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme is a small specialist scheme and deals only with small numbers of complaints/disputes, which are not categorised. 31
Frequently occurring systematic or significant problems. None
Total number of disputes which the Waterways Ombudsman has refused to deal with. 19
Percentage of complaints refused because the complainant had not completed the final stage of the Canal & River Trust internal complaints process. 100%
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. 0%
Percentage of complaints discontinued for operational reasons.


Average time taken to resolve disputes. 57.5 days
Rate of compliance of the Canal & River Trust with any outcomes. 100%
Co-operation with ADR network to facilitate cross-border disputes. N/A


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), that is, the information I need to start the investigation.

The ADR Regulations cover only consumer disputes. I received one complaint from a business which has not been included.

Investigations must be completed within 90 days unless they are complex. The average of 57.5 days above is for all consumer complaints. The cases investigated by the Waterways Ombudsman are generally quite complex, and in this period of the 14 completed investigations, five were complex. Of the five complex cases, one took more than 90 days, and the average of all but the longest case was 49 days.

The average time to resolve disputes is based on completed cases. Of the complaints I received in the year to 30 September 2019, and accepted for investigation, there were two which had reached the CCF stage but where I had not yet reached a decision.