Health and Safety briefings aren't they just such an irritating feature of modern life, you know you go to a meeting, training session, whatever there's a fair chance someone will point out, how to leave the building in the event the fire alarms sounds, it's just possible it could be the most the important thing you ever listen to or indeed ignore at any public gathering.
I mention the above because last night it was clear to me that if Thanet Council, cannot even manage to open a door at the start of a public meeting what else are they capable of.
Well this evening I called Richard Samuel's office (he is the Chief Executive of Thanet Council) to enquire if he'd, had chance to read the email I sent earlier today concerning last nights fiasco where the main door to the councils offices were locked and abandoned.
Last night as far as I'm concerned was not the first time, the main door of the council officers had been deserted, previously as I mentioned in the comments section I was unable to leave the building for about five minutes because TDC cannot even sort out basic housekeeping, on that occasion a member of staff had opened the door with a swipe card.
Rather tiresome although not entirely unexpected Cllr Simon Moore has slipped in to,(in my opinion) what I can only describe a gung ho, boy scout mode, offering various explanations, this to start with "From what I understand the automatic doors at the front of the council building jammed. They were still apparently stuck and waiting for maintenance this morning at 08:30" me "utter nonsense" then tonight "Apparently their was an incident at the post office And the security guard attended, locking the door Of the council building behind him, which Of course prevented people attending Scrutiny until he returned.
I'll just challenge that last comment, the security guard told me that he had to go to another building to lock it after staff had left (no mention of an incident), presumably this building must have an "incident" every evening as staff leave.
Now I originally flagged up, that by locking doors to the council building, TDC prevented members of the public from taking part in democracy, which is serious but how much more serious would it be, if a fire was to occur and no one could get out of the building because the security guard had toddled off to an incident, locking up a vacant nearby building "because we cannot give out access codes to the staff", well leaving an occupied building with no exit would certainly be an incident in the event of a fire, in fact it would be a bloody disaster.
I'm not sure whether those attending the meeting were briefed on how to exit the building since I missed the start, although I was on time. Anyhow I just wonder whether someone at Kent Fire Brigade might view such arrangements as adequate.
Today I sent this email since, to Richard Samuel so that he can take proper corporate responsibility for such shortcomings, so often bosses get left out of the loop.
Tony Flaig <email@example.com>
date 9 September 2010 11:16
subjectRegarding access to the council offices
Dear Richard Samuel
I am writing to express concern that access was not readily available to the council offices last night despite the fact that a public meeting was in progress.
There are two areas of concern one is interrupting the democratic process and the other one is a health and safety issue.
Firstly after arriving at just before seven o'clock I found that the doors to the council offices were closed with nobody in attendance, effectively preventing members of the public from attending a public meeting for the first 15 minutes.
Secondly there is a health and safety issue to consider without someone in attendance at your entrance doors they remain blocked even when you try to exit the building which in the event of a fire would of course be disastrous.
I would appreciate it if you could write back to me at your earliest convenience to confirm that in future when you have members of the public or open meetings in the council offices that the doors are either left open or attended at all times.
Although I spoke to Brian White last night I believe it of sufficiently importance that you yourself deal with this matter urgently.
Regards Tony Flaig