15 April 2024

Ombudsman recruitment.

The Ombudsman, Sarah Daniel, is reaching the end of her five-year term and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee is recruiting her successor. To allow a training crossover period, we are aiming for a July 2024 start date. Advertisements have been placed in the national press and on LinkedIn and the Ombudsman Association website.

The role is part-time, home based and includes responsibility for all aspects of the ombudsman scheme. This includes handling complaints from initial enquiry through to resolution, as well as managing relationships with, the Committee, and the Canal & River Trust and other navigation authorities, waterway organisations and the media. The successful candidate will also be responsible for administrative elements of the scheme, such as managing the website and preparing the annual report. The job involves working flexibly around four to five days over a month for a day rate, which is paid through the independent Waterways Ombudsman Committee.

We’re looking for someone with a solid understanding of how public or private sector ombudsman schemes work or experience of working at a senior level within a legal environment, dispute resolution system or similar. Sound judgment and integrity are important, as are strong analytical, problem-solving and negotiating skills. The Job role and Description including essential characteristics can be found on these links. 

If you wish to apply please submit a CV and a letter of application outlining how you believe you meet the requirements of the role you are applying for via the sources mentioned above or directly to by 5 May 2024. Applications should be marked Waterways Ombudsman.

First and second stage virtual interviews will be held by the Waterways Ombudsman Committee from mid to late May with a view to final appointment soon after.


3 April 2024

At its meeting in March the Waterways Ombudsman Committee agreed changes to the Scheme Rules regarding Recommendations and Awards, Rule 37 and 38 and Appendix 2.  The change seeks to improve the transparency and clarity of how Awards are calculated by the Ombudsman when  compensating the complainant for distress and inconvenience. Awards are just one way the Ombudsman will use to resolve complaints. The commonly used Ombudsman principle of requiring the Member to take some appropriate action to put the complainant back in the position they were in before the problem happened is often the preferred option by both sides. The new Rules can be found here.   

30 January 2024

The Waterways Ombudsman Committee has appointed a new Chair, Lesley Horton. She was appointed following an advertisement and open competition for the post. You can read more about Lesley and the other committee members on the About Us tab. 

The Ombudsman and the Committee would like to thank Karen McArthur for her time as a member and Chair over the last six years. Karen has helped in the transition to a more virtual way of working making the scheme more cost effective in terms of finance and time commitment for members. 

11 January 2024

The Waterways Ombudsman Committee have approved some changes to the Scheme rules to tidy up some anomalies in the information regarding the Constitution and Membership of the Committee. The changes have no impact on the work of the Ombudsman. The new rules can be found on the Publication page, here  

20 September 2023

The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee have issued their Annual Reports for 2022/23. The Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River Trust and the Avon Navigation Trust, which are referred to the Ombudsman after completion of the Trusts’ own complaints process. 

This is the fourth annual report of the Ombudsman Sarah Daniel. 

During the year, the Ombudsman received 41 enquiries about the Canal & River Trust, none about the Avon Navigation Trust. The majority of contacts, 32, had not completed the internal complaints process and were referred back to the Trust. In addition, she received 13 enquiries about bodies outside jurisdiction and signposted them to the correct dispute resolution scheme.  Five new investigations were opened, eight investigations were closed.

Of the 8 investigated complaints, one was upheld, one was upheld in part, six were not upheld. 3 of the Ombudsman’s final decisions were accepted by the complainant and the Trust completed the required remedies.  

Unusually this year 7 of the 8 investigations were from householders living next to the canal and only one was from a boater. The report includes summaries of all completed investigations. 

Commenting on her fourth year in office Sarah said, 

“Although the number of formal investigations has reduced the impact of the Ombudsman role is not diminished. As a result of recommendations made in final decisions the Canal & River Trust commissioned bespoke training for its customer service advisors which stresses the importance of good quality, consistent and clear communications with customers. It has also reviewed some of its policies, demonstrating the impact that an external and independent Ombudsman can have.” 

The Waterways Ombudsman Scheme continues to be approved by its Competent Authority, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, in line with the requirements set out in the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Regulations. 

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

The annual report of the Waterways Ombudsman Committee and the Waterways Ombudsman for 2022-23 is now available online at: woc-annual-report-2022-23.pdf (

13 March 2023

The Waterways Scheme Committee welcomed two new Independent members at its meting today, Alison Jack and Warren Seddon. To read more about them and the work of the committee please take a look at the About Us page of the website, here, 

The Committee | The Waterways Ombudsman (