The Environment Agency has published a recent report on performance
against the Customer Charter on the non tidal Thames.
The report covers the period April May and June and can be read here.
Thames representative Louis Jankel comments:
Frankly, and they admit it, they failed badly to achieve the service levels we were promised and expected.
The policy of not filling vacancies, even though there is more than sufficient funding, has had a deleterious effect. A further extraordinary decision to decide that volunteers could replace the
need for employing lock summer assistants has badly backfired. We have yet to get the actual picture but the much belated employment of 25 summer assistants (45 employed last year) ensured the targets missed during the months April to June have had an even bigger impact
during July and August.
Currently we are attempting to persuade the EA to make some attempt at providing adequate winter cover with navigation staff. They only propose to engage four staff to fill the current eleven full time vacancies of which four posts are for resident lock keepers.
How this all smacks of the terrible mistakes that BW made some years back. The Thames is loosing experienced staff hand over fist.
Time will tell!
Comment: At least Thames have a report for this. NABO in conjuction with other users groups paid to have the Customer Charter in print and available to Thames users. Having a customer charter is particularly important in times of budget squeeze because expectations can be agreed and managed upfront. Keep at it Thames.