New waterways charity could have 15-year funding deal with government

24 November 2010

The Civil Society web magazine reports:

The new charity to be created to administer the UK’s waterways should have a completely new governance model “with localism at its core”, the waterways minister has announced.

At a conference organised by the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities (AINA) earlier this month which considered the proposed move of the waterways into the voluntary sector, waterways minister Richard Benyon said the government’s insistence that British Waterways should become a charity was a prime example of its Big Society approach, whereby formerly state-run institutions become part of civil society.

He envisaged that there would be a funding contract for the new charity of between ten and 15 years, and the property portfolio would be transferred in order to put the new charity on a stable financial footing.

Robin Evans, chief executive of British Waterways, added that the new governance model would involve the ministerial appointment of seven trustees to oversee the transitional arrangements to the new organisation.

Three trustees would be from the existing board to ensure continuity, but four would be completely new appointees with the relevant experience to support and guide the new charity during its formative stages. These four could come from stakeholder representative organisations. The new trustees were expected to be in place by April 2011 so as to be able to guide the new charity through the crucial stages leading up to its scheduled start-up in April 2012.

via New waterways charity could have 15-year funding deal with government – Civil Society – Governance – News – providing news and in-depth coverage of charities, voluntary organisations and not-for-profits.

2 comments to New waterways charity could have 15-year funding deal with government

  • DaveD

    Government appointed Trustees? A Quango by any other name?

    • The Government appointed Trustees will only be temporary. There are a few stages ahead:

      1. There will be a public and Parliamentary consultation period between now and April 2011, the target date for the creation of the shell charity. After that date BW will still exist as it is but the new charity will need Trustees to guide it forwards to the point where BW is transformed. During this period, as BW is still 'owned' by DEFRA, only DEFRA can appoint Trustees; however, it is anticipated that 4 of the 7 appointments will represent waterways stakeholders. Note that Clive Henderson, Chair of IWA and BWAF, is already an observer on the existing Board.

      2. The target date for BW as a whole to operate as a charity is April 2012. At that point, the Trustees will be replaced by candidates recommended by a new Nomination committee that will largely comprise members of the new 50 strong Members Council which will be made up of representatives of a wide range range of stakeholder interests – anglers, boaters, walkers, cyclists, water-sports, environmentalists, local authorities, etc.

      Importantly, at the community level, there will also be Local Boards attached to each of the 11 existing BW Regions – the membership of these Local groups will be made up of local stakeholders and the Chair of each will sit on the Members Council.

      3. Between April 2010 and April 2011, it is likely that a number of 'shadow' groups will be created. For example, there may be a shadow 'Member's Council' and a number of shadow 'Local Boards' – watch this space as this process begins to develop.

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