Public Kept Out of Pool Review?

A review into the island’s swimming pools is engaging with stakeholders, but not necessarily the people who pay for them.

The appointment of off-island consultants to conduct a review of swimming pools was queried this week in Tynwald.

Following a procurement process, UK based Knight, Kavanagh & Page was appointed to conduct a review into the island’s swimming pools, which came about after funding issues were identified at the southern community pool in Castletown.

During Tynwald this week, DESC Minister Julie Edge said that ‘stakeholders will be spoken to by the consultants’ ahead of it being finalised next month.

However, when Ms Edge was asked who these stakeholders are and whether it would include people who run swimming clubs, she said ‘it will be expected that they will look at the charges etc that have been getting utilised for the pools and for these clubs, to make sure that when they come forward with the outcome for the report that it is fully intensive and has the right understanding of what goes on in our pools, which could be slightly different to the UK’.

‘But certainly there are a number of clubs and private companies that use the pools and that will have to be taken into consideration.’

When Dr Michelle Haywood asked what mechanism exists for pool users as individuals, as families, as groups, or as organised groups to feed into the report, Ms Edge said that due to the short timescale, ‘I would not envisage a consultation to go down to individuals’.

She added: ‘I am sure that does not happen in any other review. However, if anybody does have any comments that they wish to put into the review, they can certainly contact the Department and make them known.’

Pushed by Tim Glover, who suggested that the only stakeholders will be the community pool boards, Ms Edge denied this but said it was up to the consultants to ‘dig deep into the current processes and come back with a report that covers every element of the swimming pools’.

However, when Speaker Juan Watterson asked for clarification about the public and members nothing identified as stakeholders, Ms Edge said this ‘certainly not the case’.

The Minister added: ‘I will make sure, as the minister, that the people who need to have input into this extensive review are part of it. Whether that is individual meetings with the consultation, I cannot confirm that here today, but I am happy to circulate the terms of reference for the review that were put out which, Hon. Members, I am happy for you to view.

‘Certainly there was a tight timescale and I want to make sure this is done appropriately and obviously under our procurement process as well. But the stakeholder for the Southern Pool mainly is the board. It is the boards that have come to us with concerns and I am hopeful that the boards will have a good measure of the users of their pool.’