Canal & River Trust redundancies?

Published: Wednesday, 15 March 2023

THE Canal & River Trust (CaRT) has appointed yet another highly paid executive and is attempting to recruit a second.

Despite this, rumours abound that the trust will quietly introduce a major redundancy program. This follows pressure from Defra over the last year to reduce costs and increase income where possible.

Allan Richards takes a look at how staffing levels have grown and possible savings from reducing them.

The figures

It is difficult to compare British Waterways and CaRT staffing levels because the former do not give separate figures for Scotland. As such a comparison is made between CaRT’s first year of operation and latest available figures.

Taken from Annual Reports, the average number of persons employed during the period (on a full-time equivalent basis) was:

That is a rise of just over 10%. This despite increased outsourcing and reorganisations aimed at reducing numbers.

Over the same period employment costs have gone up from £53.7m to £70.3m. That is just over 30%.

Recruitment dropping

It was not long ago we were seeing CaRT advertise dozens of jobs, many with incomprehensible job titles. Now the number of jobs on offer has dropped with the trust seemingly concentrating on volunteer management and its role as a navigation authority.

Leaving aside wage increases over the last year, CaRT has potential to save about £7m per year if it reduces staff levels to around 1'500.

... but will it work? Based on CaRT's past performance, all that will happen is that staff numbers and costs will continue to increase.