Measure for Leisure

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Following on from our Pit of Despair story we first bring you the good news that a contractor has been out measuring up to install much needed safety measures at Woodchurch Leisure Centre . Indeed a letter from Margaret Greenwood to a local resident says : 

Further to your email last month, we have been informed that Wirral Council has made the decision to fit a rail and gates along the wall next to the drop at the side of the small pool. New signage has also been ordered to highlight the drop. 

This action is as a result of yourself and others raising concerns with the HSE and Wirral Council. In taking these steps, you have made the pool safer for other residents. 

Result ! You might saying to yourself. Well , yes and no. Whilst we received a tremendous response to our blog post from pool users who not only commented upon the long term non-compliance they also highlighted further safety issues.
Apparently when swimming sessions come to an end and all swimmers, young and old, move to the changing area shutters are required to be pulled down to stop access back to the pool area to prevent accidents and particularly drowning. Woodchurch Leisure Centre have not got any such measures despite the fact that we understand that this is a legal requirement. Moreover we understand that staff are supposed to stay in the pool area until the building is empty just in case a child or vulnerable person goes back into the pool area. Staff shortages can often mean that this ‘backstop’ safety measure is not possible and so members of the public are left even more unprotected.
We are reliably informed that all other leisure centres have these shutters but because of cost implications it’s not happened at Woodchurch . Once again it is a matter has been raised for a number of years and yet has never been resolved. This must be particularly stressful situation for leisure centre staff.
One can only wonder what were considered to be priorities when there was a 4 week closure of the leisure centre for ‘maintenance work ‘ only last year  . A lick of paint, grout a few tiles and steam clean the bogs and hope nobody notices the deadly drop at the side of the pool and that there are no shutters ?  Maintenance work – Woodchurch Leisure Centre
As one of our many sources said : “Cost of protection a few grand. It’s fine for the people of West Kirby and Bebington. Woodchurch gets no protection. And the council treat the law with contempt” 
We’re further left wondering what knowledge and involvement members of  Wirral Council’s infamous ‘Golf Club’ have had in all of this especially Health, Safety & Resilience(!) Manager , Mark Camborne  and Head of Recreation Damian Walsh ?
What needs questioning even more is the involvement or non-involvement of local councillors Matthew Patrick aka Matty Patty , Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham and Tony ‘Don’t mention Ofsted’ Smith  .
You’d think they’d be up in arms to hear about local residents -and especially children – in their ward being put at risk.  But not a peep ! Shame on them that it was left to concerned citizens to raise (and part- resolve) the long-standing issue. Could it be that Wirral Cabinet members , Cllr Patrick and Cllr Whittingham in particular, are less concerned about the safety of the public and causing their own staff stress than promoting the Wirral Growth Company – which was launched yesterday with the usual stage-managed dreary fanfare of backslapping BS – in the hope that this Joint Venture will pick up the tab not just at Woodchurch but at all the other leisure centres at a later date ?
Whilst we’re at it we’d like to raise the complicity of the utterly useless unions in all of this . Seemingly pacified by a small pay-rise for their members whilst oblivious to the gathering shitstorm . With early retirement being denied for some whilst others are told they’re going on less favourable terms there’s a lot of disgruntled Wirral Council staff around at the moment. But as always it’s the lowest paid and least powerful who are in the firing line.
As ever with Wirral Council there’s a bigger story which is not just about shutters and covers – it’s a case of shut ups and cover ups with staff too afraid to open their mouths , managers too busy covering their backsides…….. and politicians turning a blind eye.
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How Not To Treat A Sick Employee Part 57 – The Wirral Way.

Nothing too sensational here, just what some could be interpret as a basic failure to provide a duty of care to a disabled employee by Wirral Council. The employee has shown us a large number of emails in which he repeatedly asked for some FOUR months to be referred to Occupational Health. Sadly his managers failed to act upon these requests, maybe because, hey it’s not gonna look good if all your employees are so stressed out that they are virtually BEGGING to be referred to Occupational Health is it ? Not when possibly your telling the Directors just how fabulously well the section is performing and that staff morale is as high as the proverbial elephants eye. 

No, no, no Paul isn’t crying because he’s stressed out due to an impossible work load, heavens no!  They are tears of undiluted joy because he’s hit another Performance Indicator target !  That’s how much this guy LOVES his work – I’m recommending him for a golden cone award

The employee was finally told over 3 months after asking for the referral, in November that the required paperwork had been duly filled in and he had been referred to Occupational Health. And so  he decided to chase up the matter with the OH department ( see email below)

… The ‘can barely be arsed,’ style response is quite staggering given that they are dealing with sick employees, many who could be at their wits end.  OH is ostensibly there for the benefit of employees surely ? With the aim of keeping them supported and in work wherever possible when suffering from ill health ?  I’m pretty sure that’s how the H&SE would view the OH role, one of proactive, supportive intervention.  I mean you wouldn’t use OH as a punitive tool now would you, to threaten staff ?

Said employee went off on-long term sick in the December just before an OH appointment was suddenly and rather miraculously arranged. Stable door anybody ?

NB – News of the Golden Cone Awards is travelling fast – See Here