NABO Chairman, David Fletcher, says that it is vital that the right people are recruited to chair the new Waterways Partnerships being floated by the new waterways charity's transitional trustees.
"It looks like the Partnerships will be a crucial constituent part of the new waterways charity that is destined to act as guardian of the canals and rivers in England and Wales from April next year. They will be fundamental in shaping the future of the waterways in each of the partnership areas. As such the waterways could survive or fail based on the calibre of these recruits."
The role of each Partnership is to give local people a greater say and role in how their canals and rivers are run, working with local managers to develop strategies and plans and to build local involvement and participation in the waterways.
Each of the eleven administrative areas of the waterways network will have a Chair and Partnership Board recruited and up and running by April 2012. There will be two further Partnerships for the waterways museums and All-Wales issues.
Chairs are being recruited before Christmas for Manchester & Pennine, North Wales & Borders, South Wales & Severn, Kennet & Avon and the All Wales Partnerships. The Kennet and Avon Partnership is included in this first round to confirm the position of the Trial Partnership and bring this appointment into the recruitment process agreed by the Transition Appointments Committee. This round will also include a review of the Trial Partnerships in the West Midlands and North West with a view to releasing them from their “Trial” status, and arrangements will be made to set up the Museums Partnership as the successor to The Waterways Trust Museums Management Board.
Chairs for Local Partnerships in the North East, Central Shires, East Midlands, South East and London will be recruited in a second round starting in January.
The Transition Appointments Committee is recruiting the Chairs on behalf of the New Waterways Charity. The Committee comprises Roger Clarke and Dinah Nichols, who are members of the Defra Advisory Panel on First Appointments and Transition, and two transition trustees, Lynne Berry and Tom Franklin. They will be working with Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, and local waterway managers to recruit Chairs for the Local Partnerships.
Roger Hanbury comments: “The Waterways Partnerships are integral to the stewardship and development of the waterways within each Partnership area. They shape the strategies and plans for each waterway, guide decisions about spending, and help develop external funding and volunteering. They will champion the interests of the waterways at a political level, with business, and with the community and develop action plans for local engagement and participation.”
A written record of all meetings will be publically available on the web. All positions on the Partnerships will be un-remunerated, but agreed expenses will be reimbursed.