Category Archives: Uncategorized

Coronavirus Infections Increase In West Lancashire

Public Health England data released this evening shows that the total number of confirmed cases in the Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals since the start of the pandemic has now risen to 2,918, that’s an increase of 63, and 2,552.8 infections per 100,000 of the population.

No coronavirus deaths were reported from our West Lancashire hospitals today.

Skelmersdale Win 4-1 At Stafford Rangers

to book a place in the FA Cup first round for the first time since 1971, when they qualified automatically as winners of the FA Amateur Cup. This year, starting in the extra preliminary round, they had to win six matches to reach the same stage.

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Skem, as they’re affectionately known, from the ninth tier, will be the lowest ranked team in today’s draw, in with Sunderland, Portsmouth, Ipswich and other former FA Cup winners including nearby Wigan and Bolton.

And the euphoria at the final whistle, when players dragged Kev Panther, long-suffering supporter, committee member and club historian, from the terraces and into the celebrations and reduced him to tears.


“It’s so emotional” said Panther, having wiped away some of the tears and retrieved his flat cap. “I watched them in the Sixties and Seventies. I am that old. First game was Bishop Auckland at home in the FA Amateur Cup in 1967. The club returned to Skelmersdale from exile in December but have not played a home game in the NW Counties this season because lockdown regulations stop them using the changing rooms at the JMO Sports Park”.

Fantastic, and so lucky not to be under the management of Serco Leisure Operating Ltd!

NB They have been drawn away to Harrogate Town in the next round.

Businesses Can Find Out More About West Lancs Kickstart Scheme

In an initiative started by OWLs, WLBC is inviting businesses in the borough to register their interest in joining the West Lancs Kickstart scheme.

Back in July Borough Councillors voted unanimously to receive a report in October seeking to recruit more young people to council apprenticeships after Our West Lancashire raised the matter at the council meeting.

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OWL Chairman Cllr Adrian Owens said “Young people are 2.5 times more likely to work in the sectors such as hospitality most badly affected by the lockdown measures. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the job prospects of many, but young people’s job prospects have been hit especially hard with youth unemployment doubling in just three months”.

“The council has a good record on apprenticeships, although last year that worryingly dropped away. I’m delighted that councillors from across the political divide shared our concerns and resolved to ask officers to see what more the council could do in this area.”

So now, WLBC will be acting as a Gateway Organisation to help organisations and employers of any size join the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) funded ‘Kickstart’ scheme. The programme will help employers provide work placements for young people alongside a package of help and support to help them improve their future employability and employment prospects.

Placements will last for six months and are paid at minimum wage for 25 hours per week. Organisations can find out more and register their interest by visiting our website http://www.westlancs.gov.uk/kickstart.

Councillor Yvonne Gagen

portfolio holder for Leisure and Human Resources, said “Young people have been hit particularly hard in the job market due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are very proud about the number of apprenticeships we offer to young people to give them a good start in their careers and we see Kickstart as a further opportunity for local employers to get involved”.
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Members’ Fears Over Fate Of Their Golf Club?

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The predicted disaster, now become reality!

Wigan Today 26th July 2016. Promises promises? “Fed-up golfers say their course has gone ‘downhill’ since it changed ownership and want something to be done”. They are unhappy with changes made at Beacon Park golf course, which has been owned by West Lancashire Council and operated by West Lancashire Community Leisure Ltd, with Serco, since 2012.

Club captain Tom Jackson, 66, said “Serco took over in 2012 and since then it’s just been all downhill as far as we’re concerned. There was supposed to be about £500,000 spent on the course but it’s been a bit of a shambles. We’re losing members and we’ve just had enough now.

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“People were coming from outside the area, playing nine holes and then asking for their money back. Greens have got to be well maintained, fed and watered, and they’ve only just started doing that. There’s a lot of money involved in keeping greens.

“Serco was promising to build a nine-hole academy golf course where we used to have our practice area, but we’ve lost all our juniors because they took the golf shop away so there’s nowhere to buy balls or tees. Our junior organiser has gone and our golf pro has gone.

“They’ve also taken away our driving range and are going to use it for footgolf. We’ve also got a safety issue. You have got to put a big net all down Beacon Lane and Elmers Green Lane or people driving down that road are going to get a golf ball through the windscreen. The way they’ve built the course has got rid of a lot of trees there and golfers aren’t always going to hit balls straight”.


“A large delegation from the club, near Skelmersdale, attended a meeting of West Lancashire Leisure Trust, where Serco is involved, to air its grievances. Mr Jackson said he was hopeful that progress would now be made.

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“An un-named council spokesman, any one of the above shadows, said the golf course’s management had offered to work with golf club members. He said a junior academy nine-hole golf course was scheduled to open next summer and investment in the course over the last 12 months included £90,000 for a clubhouse refurbishment, £80,000 on greens maintenance equipment and £20,000 on the hire of additional greens equipment and repairs to equipment.

“The spokesman said “The driving range did close in late 2015, due to minimal usage, and is being re-profiled to facilitate a new footgolf facility which will open in 2018.


“The query about lack of safety nets along Elmers Green Road and Beacon Lane relates to the new nine-hole facility. This is not scheduled to open until 2017, and will be risk assessed appropriately by the golf course operator.

“The new nine-hole facility will have further work to the landscaping and finishes. The greens are in reasonable condition and a programme of annual course maintenance is carried out.

“Overall, membership at Beacon Park golf course has remained relatively static for the last three years. The “golf members club” is a separate entity, which was given full independence by West Lancashire Community Leisure when they took over the course in 2012”.

Did we say “The predicted reality?” or the “ever moving feast”?

Now, sadly, the “new footgolf facility which will open in 2018” is predicted to open as written by the “WLBC Head of Wellbeing & Leisure Services…[having stuck a finger in the air] “Therefore the final seeding and green shaping will occur in March 2021, this will delay the course opening until Autumn 2021”, that’s yet another three years.

But it seems that the patience of the “independent golf members, the seniors”, has been tested beyond the limit by such serial, repetitive, unrealistic claims.

They have written about the struggle for members over the last few years, the lack of maintenance on the course, the mass exodus of members to Berrington Hall GC, the number of regular playing members now below 15.

Is it any wonder that the Club Management Committee is considering the future of the club? WLBC, Serco, Skelmersdale elected members, hang your heads in shame for what you have done to these wonderful senior citizens and their loyalty. Equality, non-discrimination, compliance? Isn’t this what the new super WLBC compliance officer should be looking at on his first day in the office?



Looking After The Local Government Elite

Readers might think the Local Government/WLBC elite employees are extremely well cared for? Well, it seems their union thinks not!

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Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) was formed in April 2013 by the merger of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS) and Solicitors in Local Government (SLG). LLG’s primary purpose is to represent, promote and support the interests of its members.

Membership is open to local government legal or governance officers working within a local authority, including Monitoring Officers and their deputies, solicitors, barristers, legal executives, licenced conveyancers, and trainees. The elite!


But now, the Exit Payment Cap, by which reductions of the benefits paid to long serving local government officers in the event they’re made redundant, is upon them. And, wouldn’t you just know it, the LLG is claiming that “Given the increased likelihood of redundancy in the sector the timing of this seems particularly pernicious. However, the concerns about the regs are wider than their unfairness and extend to their lawfulness both in the procedural and substantive sense”

“Given the level of these concerns and LLG’s interest in good governance in public bodies we have sought the advice of Nigel Giffin QC whom many of you will know as one of the leading Public Law QC’s currently practising. Earlier this week I met with Nigel and he set out his initial views as to the lawfulness of the exit regulations and the draft pension regulations which have been issued by MHCLG. Nigel identified a number of procedural and substantive flaws which led him to conclude that there was a strong argument that they were unlawful.

“We have today issued a pre-action protocol letter to HM Treasury the content of which highlights the significant legal flaws in the proposed regulations and the process via which they have been brought thus far. I note that a number of other bodies including the BMA, GMB and Unison have issued pre-action letters and we are liaising with them in the interests of mutually beneficial collaboration.


“Naturally, our preference is to resolve this matter without resorting to formal legal action and such a step would not be taken without full and careful consideration by the LLG Board. I will update members via the blog as and when there are further developments, but in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact LLG if you have any questions.

But here is the killer! “The President said he also noted that a number of other bodies including the BMA, GMB and Unison had issued pre-action letters, adding that LLG was liaising with them “in the interests of mutually beneficial collaboration”.
Group pressure coming?

We suspect it’s rather more a case of mutually beneficial greed, to the mutually detrimental case of council tax payers? The Golden Triangle…seems appropriate for the class they represent?

A Stonking Salary Awaits You

WLBC

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Is still advertising for an “Information Governance Manager” Salary, £40,876 to £42,821 per annum. Full Time, Permanent, Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Tuesday 27 October 2020.

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“We have an exciting opportunity for an experienced information governance professional to perform a lead role in ensuring a robust approach to the way the Council manages its data and information.

“The successful candidate will be the organisation’s subject expert able to investigate, identify and implement improvements to services and processes to ensure compliance. Developing the necessary standards, training and tools to support staff they will work proactively and collaboratively across the whole organisation and with all levels of staff”.

West Lancashire Coronavirus Infections Decreasing?

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The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust Hospitals recorded 60 new coronavirus infections today, and the total is now 2,734, that’s 2,391.8 infections per 100,000 of the population. There is a slightly lower trend today.

There was no further information from Public Health England today.
Update; Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust 187 deaths, indicating one death since we last reported.

WorraLorraLorries!

As the permitted 23,375 lorry loads of royalty rich landfill, all 187,000m3 of inert materials to be transported to the site using HGVs carrying an average of 8m3 per delivery, came by unidentified hauliers onto the Beacon Park Golf Course for the benefit of everyone but the golfers and WLBC council tax payers, it might have been assumed some tax would be paid by someone, some company, in this example of private enterprise on a publicly owned leisure facility?

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Well no, Serco being Serco, outsourcers to the core, not a trick to be missed, and Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd, with a director background of VAT fraud, there has been no public benefit, just the loss, the destruction, of the amenities they started with. But the lorry owners were never identified.

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And now the senior golfers have left in droves. Gone to proper golf courses, no landfill, no heaps of mud and rubble. Just beautiful landscapes, as the Beacon Park Golf Course itself was.

And strangely enough, a statement of remorse once came from Rupert Soames, Serco Group chief executive “Those of us who now run the business are mortified, embarrassed and angry that, in a period between six and nine years ago, Serco understated the level of profitability of its Electronic Monitoring contract in its reports to the Ministry of Justice. Serco Geografix Ltd has taken responsibility under the terms of the proposed DPA for three offences of fraud and two of false accounting committed between 2010 and 2013″. 

Isn’t it peculiar that once the fraud and false accounting crimes are proven and guilt laid bare, Serco does a deal for a “voluntary fine” to exclude the courts but the crime of destruction of Beacon Park Golf Course, simply ignored, doesn’t even merit an admission or a rap on its knuckles by WLBC?

But the deals, the official WLBC and Serco hidden landfill contracts, that involved Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd were based on slick and sleazy claims that they were “UK Leaders in Golf Course Building and Development”. Look at the Beacon Park Golf Course today for the truth!