Sean Williams, the recently appointed CRT Welfare Officer, started work this week. We do not have any contact details for him yet, but assume his email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org and that he will be based in the CRT head office at First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 1BB.
The job description advertised for the Welfare Officer is as follows:
To provide resource and assistance in the development of policy to help the Canal & River Trust in supporting boaters in need. The Welfare Officer will act as a point of contact for any person within the Trust who has a concern about the welfare of boaters on the Trust’s waterways. They will also lead on establishing a network of external organisations who will provide some or all of the local support necessary to resolve particular cases.
Provide expert advice for staff, volunteers, and stakeholders on matters involving vulnerable boaters, suggesting appropriate courses of action.
Be the point of contact in enforcement cases where the boat owner is discovered to have welfare needs, or has entered the enforcement process as a result of disability, illness, mental health issues, old age or responsibility for children.
Review current enforcement cases where the boat is the owner’s home, and if so support the customer and Trust employees to establish the appropriate welfare assistance to the boater.
Develop a database of relevant organisations that can provide welfare assistance to boat dwellers who need such intervention and support. Support waterway and enforcement staff in developing and maintaining contact details for local support agencies.
Review the Trust’s enforcement process to identify and establish improvements that would: a) Prevent vulnerable boaters needlessly entering the enforcement process; and b) Reduce the unnecessary use of legal recourse to resolve the situation.
Implement the Trust’s welfare reporting and recording procedures.
Help establish, and subsequently lead on, the Trust’s policies on vulnerable boaters and assist in its compliance with relevant legislation, for example the Equality Act.
Ensure confidentiality is maintained throughout.
CRT decided to appoint a Welfare Officer following a great deal of adverse publicity about evictions of vulnerable, elderly, ill and disabled boat dwellers, including a petition signed by over 5,700 people on the campaigning web site 38 Degrees.
The petition is here