Wellington toilet staff replaced by coin machines
Attendants at a public convenience in Telford have been laid off and replaced by an automatic paid entry system and three-times-daily visits from cleaning contractors, town councillors have heard.
The Parade public toilets, near Wellington’s bus and railway stations, are owned by the town council.
Policy and resources committee chairman Stephen DeLauney told colleagues the staff redundancies were confirmed last week, and Healthmatic Ltd will handle cleaning and maintenance.
Councillor DeLauney added that the Wiltshire-based company would also take over duties at the town’s Bowring Park toilets later this month.
Committee member Phil Morris-Jones said Wellington Town Council should “give itself a pat on the back” for saving money and reopening the facility at a time when others are closing.
Councillor DeLauney said he and town council clerk Karen Roper met the toilet staff on July 31.
“We confirmed that our view was still that we were going to go ahead with the redundancy,” he said.
“The new basis of operation is that we are now using a company called Healthmatic for the first year,” Councillor DeLauney added.
“They send in operatives three times a day to clean the toilets and we have a paying system at the door. So you still have to pay, but instead of having staff there all the time we just have staff going in three times a day to ensure the toilets are clean and to make sure there are no problems.”
He asked Ms Roper to ensure notices appear on the town council’s website and social media accounts to inform the public that both toilets were open. She said she would do so.
Mayor Antony Lowe asked whether Healthmatic were also cleaning the Bowring Park toilets. Councillor DeLauney said that they will start in the middle of the month. For now, the operators of the park’s cafe are in charge there.
At a previous meeting of the committee, councillors heard that two members of staff from the Parade convenience had been furloughed.
An application to the treasury’s Job Retention Scheme, which would have allowed the town council to claim back 80 per cent of their wages, was prepared but withdrawn after some members pointed out that the government’s own guidance said the scheme was not intended for use by public sector organisations.
Minutes of that meeting say: “Following discussion, members were not happy with the proposal and agreed it should not go ahead.
“Any applications made would be withdrawn and contingency funds would be used to cover the shortfall, if necessary.”
Ahead of this month’s meeting, Ms Roper circulated a document reminding members of their confidentiality responsibilities. Councillor DeLauney explained why this had been done.
“At the last meeting of the full council, one of the councillors reported she had been told by a member of the public what was going on with the Parade toilets, all the details that were completely confidential,” he said.
“They had been discussed after we passed a motion to exempt [sic] the public because of matters of staff confidence or confidentiality around legal matters.
“What we’re attempting to do here is remind members that, when they sit at a council meeting and are given information in confidence, then they have a duty to maintain that.”