Waterways Ombudsman Annual Report 2022-23 Press Release

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 (waterways-ombudsman.org)