Concerns have been recently raised about Sefton Council’s volunteers and the potential of them having to pay for their own insurance cover. This peculiar situation was highlighted especially on Lord Street, Southport.
The councils’ response was to seek to quell concern and reassure potential volunteers that they would be covered under most circumstances.
The Sefton claim was however not sufficient to ease understandable tensions with many Sefton volunteers still remaining unsure about where they stand when assisting in specific council tasks. Some sources have suggested that the council’s latest declarations from Council boss, Margaret Carney, have more in common with damage limitation than clarification.
Sefton Council and groups they fund have made serious errors before over volunteers’ insurance cover.
Sefton indirectly admitted to woodland volunteers working under the wings of the Woodvale and Ainsdale Community Association (WACA) that they had misled volunteers over appropriate insurance coverage.
The council are funders of this Ainsdale-based charity and therefore have a vested interest in backing its actions.
In October of 2013 a council officer consulting Woodvale Woodland Project volunteers about Councillor Ted Hartill’s (woodland project director) actions and stated that he.
”has his own insurance for the work taking place on WWP so you are all covered for basic gardening (not operating any machinery)”.
But volunteers had already been operating machinery under Hartill’s close inspection since the March before this October declaration and the council knew all about it.
The council also advised Woodvale volunteers that Councillor Hartill had been told by the council that.
“ all work using machinery has to stop until further notice.”
The council went on to tell the Woodvale workers
“Anyone using a chainsaw must have a valid chainsaw certificate of which they would have to obtain at their own expense. Also they would need to have all of the relevant PPE equipment and have the appropriate insurance.”
The council owns the land being worked on behind the Meadow Lane site so it does have certain responsibilities. All this monthly work with powered machinery (and lack of any suitable safely gear) is available to see online.
The WACA organisers had insisted that volunteers were covered by their own activity insurance scheme, yet as we can observe above, such a claim was inaccurate. This much was evident from the council’s own words.
In this instance concerned volunteers quite rightly brought the situation to the attention of council chief, Margaret Carney.
She however decided to ban the Woodvale team, rather than properly address the situation that council apathy had produced in the first place. This poses the question: Had volunteer whistle blowers become an undesirable liability to Mrs Carney and her inattentive Council?
We also understand that some volunteers had left the Woodvale team in disgust at ridiculous council and WACA conduct, before the situation got out of hand.
MORE POTENTIAL TROUBLE FOR SEFTON COUNCIL WAITING IN THE WINGS
Sefton may also be facing legal bills before too long for allowing a great deal of antisocial activity to continue when it comes to the controversial Orange Day Parade.
Southport residents get affected by all this and the council appear to be happy to do nothing about it! They are well aware of the trouble this religiously-based event creates for numerous local shops owners etc.
Residents in many Southport quarters are extremely unhappy about drunken revealers urinating in shop doorways and other types of objectionable activity.
Littering is also a big problem and of course has to be cleared up after the party’s over!
Political differences emerging over divisive Orangemen March
Councillor Sue McGuire, leader of Sefton’s Liberal Democrats, has expressed concerns in the local press. She stated that it was important that the council are able to recover the costs to clean up the town from the organisers.
However, Duke’s Ward Conservative Councillor, Pat Ball, apparently welcomes the Orange Lodge marches with open arms.
Perhaps Councillor Ball will dig into her own pocket and mount the clean up with help from her political colleagues?
Southport residents may hold very different feelings over this event.
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