A MAN who claimed a swimming pool attendant at Strabane Leisure Centre cheered when he tripped at the entrance to the men’s changing area took a complaint to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman, it’s emerged.
However, whilst the Ombudsman Tom Frawley said he had no reason to disbelieve the man, neither had he reason to disbelieve the pool attendant who strongly disputed the allegation.
According to the latest case digest for the Ombudsman, Strabane District Council, carried out an investigation but did not find that there had been cheering when he fell. Neither did Mr Frawley find any evidence of maladministration by the Council.
Mr Frawley states: “This complaint relates to an incident which occurred in the Strabane District Council Leisure Centre. The complainant alleged that one of the attendants cheered when he tripped at the entrance to the men’s changing area.
“The complainant believed that the Council failed in its duty to make the Leisure Centre a safe place for him to swim.
“From the evidence available to me, I noted that, although the Council accepted that the complainant slipped in the Leisure Centre, the internal investigation did not support his contention that the attendant cheered when the incident occurred.
“While I had no reason to disbelieve the complainant’s contention that the attendant cheered when he slipped, equally I had no reason to question the evidence provided by the attendant who strongly disputed this allegation.”
He explained that due to the conflicting evidence and the absence of independent witnesses he was unable to make a finding.
“I would, however, expect public sector officials to be courteous and professional at all times to members of the public,” he stated.
“In this regard, I noted that following the incident, the Council’s Leisure Services Manager spoke to the attendant about the matter and reiterated the standards of professionalism required of staff as part of the Council’s Customer Care.
“Given the complainant’s desire to return to the Leisure Centre, I wrote to the Acting Chief Executive requesting that he facilitate discussions with the complainant in an attempt to provide ‘a new beginning’.
“Overall, I found no evidence of maladministration by the Council concerning its handling of this complaint,” he concluded.