David looks after the society's team of over 100 footpath inspectors, managing their recruitment, training and development. Each inspector has a designated area, and regularly walks the public rights of way in that area, to make sure that they are safe, unobstructed, and properly signed. He/she also investigates issues reported to the society by members of the public. If there is a problem the inspector reports it to the relevant highway authority and monitors progress towards a satisfactory solution.
Inspectors record their inspection reports on the Footpath Inspections Database (FID) which is available to view by all PNFS members on a password protected website.
Inspectors also investigate any proposed changes to the public rights of way network in their area and prepare reports for the Consultations & Orders team (see below).
Although the many metal signposts are the main focus of the team, they also keep an eye on several fingerposts, two view indicators and three plaques. See the page About Our Signposts for more information.
For new signposts the work involves handling enquiries from individuals and clubs who want a memorial/commemorative signpost, selecting sites, obtaining landowners' permission, design, ordering, painting, and erecting. For existing signposts there is regular inspection, cleaning, photographing and painting together with occasional repair and complete refurbishment or replacement. All are listed on a computer database, which is easier to update and to access, but lacks the charm of the older hand-written records with their careful, hand-drawn illustrations and black and white photographs.
The society engages a paid contractor - John Hodgson of Mellor, assisted by a volunteer - Ted Wolfe of Macclesfield, for the heavy jobs, such as erecting new signposts, which can be distant from roads. The efforts of the team are supplemented from time to time by other members of the society.
The society contributes towards the cost of new or replacement footbridges on public footpaths which have fallen into disrepair. Certain criteria have to be met before any donation is approved by the trustees. Our bridges team develops suggestions and negotiates with the relevant authority over the extent and cost of the work to be carried out. The work is organised and executed by contractors working for the authority. On completion, the bridges team is involved with the arrangements for a hand-over ceremony and for publicity in the local press.
See page Footbridges for more information.
The Consultations & Orders team (also known as the "assessors") receives details of proposed changes and orders from highway authorities. The proposals are evaluated in consultation with the inspector and area officer, and a carefully considered response is sent back to the highway authority.
The membership team deals with all aspects of membership: new membership applications, renewals, subscriptions, enquiries, etc. Information is held on a computer database, which is also used for distribution of newsletters, invitations to meetings, etc.
Members of the Courts & Inquiries team are responsible for progressing major faults such as serious obstructions, and represent the society at public inquiries and magistrates' courts.
The finance team members are responsible for all financial matters including all payments and expenses. They also draw up our monthly management accounts and work closely with our financial examiner to produce our annual statements in accordance with Charity Commission guidelines.
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