Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 14, 2016

Councillor Appoints Himself Showers Inspector

In a remarkable decision OWL Adrian Owens owensatwork has appointed himself as an inspector of conditions at Park Pool Ormskirk. Readers will know that Serco Leisure Services Ltd have a long term contract to run WLBC Leisure Services for which the company receives circa £1,000,000 a year. So why, we ask ourselves, did local users of Park Pool have to complain to Cllr Owens? And if standards of cleanliness that affect the health of users are not met, does this amount to breach of the contract by Serco?

This matter also raises the issue of WLBC officer involvement in leisure contract standards. Cllr Owens mentions “Head of Leisure John Nelson” who works for “Director of Leisure David Tilleray” dave-tilleray who at the last count received a basic salary of around £58,000. Senior managers such as John Nelson receive salaries of £43,000 to £52,000 from SM1 to SM3 grades. But who are the “foot soldiers” who should inspect and report on services to ensure Serco does what it’s paid to do?

Cllr Owens writes “One of the concerns repeatedly raised with me on the doorsteps during the elections was the concern about the conditions at Park Pool. I heard comments about dirty showers, locker doors missing and the steam room out of action for weeks. On this latter point, amazingly when I made enquiries the steam room was up and running again within 72 hours.

“Given these maintenance concerns; the postponement of changing room refurbishment by the Labour council; and the report last year recommending possible pool closure, a cynic might think that running down the maintenance of the pool to help drive away business and justify a closure in the future could be a possible tactic. So, after the elections, I contacted Head of Leisure, John Nelson and I have arranged to make monthly visits to inspect facilities at the Park Pool Centre. John efficiently arranged these for me and I made the first visit last week.

“Mark Snaylam, the Operations Manager from Serco kindly accompanied me and a colleague and I was pleased to learn that there will be additional spend on the Steam Room after the recent difficulties, as well as refurbishment of the toilets. The Fitness Suite will have a major revamp in August as fitness equipment seems to go out of fashion faster than the latest outfit from Next.

“There were a couple of areas where the cleaning could have been better but Mark Snaylam accepted this and hopefully that will be better on July’s visit. My colleague and I spotted a couple of minor refurbishment issues however which were not on Serco’s list to repair this year, but it’s a credit to them that Mark Snaylam has now committed to address these during the year.

“Park Pool receives more than half a million visits every year – probably the most popular fully public facility in the town and hopefully my monthly visits will keep our leisure partner on their toes and ensure that they give the facility the TLC it requires”. sercoflag 

It’s very good of Cllr Owens to take up this role, which we know will be politically beneficial  to his party, but his councillor “salary” of £4,840 pales into insignificance by comparison with officers whose salaries we pay too. Financial penalties against Serco for breach of contract might soothe the concerns of council tax payers?

 


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