2016/2017 Director’s Report

Annual General Meeting on 4th July 2017


2016-2017 has witnessed increasing cuts in services across the toileting industry. The continuing decline in provision from the public sector remains the most vexing issue that the BTA faces as it continues to fight for frontline services to hopefully be maintained and optimistically re-established. Austerity has put most local authorities in deep financial difficulty and certainly facing extremely difficult decisions when it comes to the delivery of discressionary services. The BTA is now seeing the first shoots of some return to normality as Councils are seeking to find solutions to many of the problems that total closure would cause. With the recent developments through the Welsh Assembly, the BTA is optimistic that we may see some engagement with other government departments and health authorities that could influence funding or even instigate legislative drivers to support public toilet provision. In due course this might open up alternate sources of revenue and allow the BTA to increase its visibility and reach to all sectors and users.

Every week, in addition to the daily press, consumer complaints and general toileting issues, the BTA office has to deal with an increasing number of questions and enquiries regarding BS standards, legislation and H&S queries around closed facilities or impending toilet closures.

Throughout the year we have been engaged with many organisations and individuals who represent a wide range of user groups with accessibility and medical issues. Ongoing discussions with Keep Britain Tidy, Mencap, Pamis, Ostomy Association, Crohn’s and Colitis, Disability Action and others have refocused our campaign themes, now falling under the following leaders:

Health and Well-Being – urgent access to a clean facility – anywhere in the UK – for everyone
Equality – particularly for users with accessibility issues  or suffering with a severe medical condition
Social Inclusion – revitalising/building communities – supporting local traders and economy
Public Privacy & Decency – driving against the increase in fouling of roads, streets and town centres

We will continue to explore understandings and working practices with a range of organisations such as; the IBS Network, Bladder & Bowel Foundation, Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the Dementia Association, Unite, Unison, NIPSA and Associations representing a range of transient workers.

We also continue to be engaged with the older person’s commissioner for Wales and the well-being team on her Ageing Well in Wales reports. We understand that this work will be feeding directly into the Bill and we know that we have the commissioner’s, and he teams full support for our mapping system.

We have been actively involved in the new Public Health (Wales) Bill which has now been passed by the Welsh Assembly and is awaiting Royal Assent before being passed into law in Wales.
Our previous meetings with Rebecca Evans, the Minister for Health and senior governmental officials helped to formulate this piece of legislation — that places a duty on every local authority in Wales to create a public toilet strategy for the provision of toilets in villages, towns, cities, historical sites and ideally along major arterial routes.

The BTA is committed to working with ALL interested parties and government departments to see the inception of this significant new piece of legislation is properly and professionally installed.

It is hoped that the Bill will primarily address some health, social and well-being issues for a wide range of user groups, older persons, families and children, delivery drivers, tourists and residents that could be expected to visit not only their local authority area but those visiting Wales generally.
Thereby, catering for the companies or individuals who bring significant commercial value and revenue generation and who might choose not to visit if there were insufficient facilities available to them. Officers will need to plan to provide sufficient toilets at strategic locations to cope with the perceived demand. At the committee review stage; two significant recommendations were inserted (1) to have all sites in Wales mapped with an easily identifiable Welsh Pin (2) to create a known database and allow/force authorities to continue to review the known provision for “gaps” Our major priority is to establish our mapping system as the chosen platform for future development.

Probably, the most significant outcome must undoubtedly be that this new piece of legislation, for the first time ever, gives toilets a legal standing within the Health agenda. Surely, they must now become officially part of the Department of Health’s portfolio! Secondly, if it is a legal requirement for local authorities in Wales – we must strive to make sure it becomes adopted and agreed to become a legal requirement in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will continue to make this a priority programme and hope to engage with senior officials in the various administrations.

The Bill achieved Royal Assent on Monday 3rd July 2017 and is now become the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017.

THE TM TOILET MAP – continuous working with Mencap
Reporting on our continuing partnership with Mencap and Pamis we are delighted to relate that the new mapping system is functioning extremely well and we are receiving a substantial number of complimentary comments and feedback from both carers and individual users.

Enhancement of this original pilot is now underway and we have engaged an independent marketing consultant to review and revise the strategic business plan for future development and funding.
With the inception of the Public Health Bill in Wales and the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) debate in the House of commons highlighting the need for a UK wide mapping system for Disabled facilities we are in a very strong position to support these two major initiatives.

Gavin Barwell, Minister of State, DCLG – House of Commons debate – January 2017
“I am grateful to you Minister for reminding the house that, through Mencap and the BTA, this work has already been commissioned by DCLG and is currently proving to be a valuable tool to everyone searching for a Changing Places toilet. Additionally I was encouraged to read that; “This simple technology has had a positive impact, and I would encourage further exploration as to how this might work for the wider network of standard accessible and public toilet provision.”

We are currently engaged with and receiving an increased interest from organisations like The Police and Emergency Services, Keep Britain Tidy (KBT),  a significant number of disability charities and a wide and diverse range of passenger and freight carrying organisations to support the creation of an enhanced BTA Accessible Map. New partners are being sought and these will enhance our coverage

Our vision then, is the inclusion of all publicly accessible units across the UK, including those from private and commercial providers. Some enhanced data sets have been purchased to allow the BTA to reach out to and engage with the needs of Town and Parish councils who are now assuming responsibility for an increasing number of publicly accessible toilets handed down from county level.
Considerable additional works will be necessary to keep this mapping maintained, hence the engagement of a consultant. If successfully delivered the new map would give the BTA substantially increased visibility and recognition. It is also envisaged that, as a result, the BTA should see a significant rise in membership numbers.

As always, we are extremely grateful to all those companies and individuals who have kept faith with us over these recent turbulent times. We greatly appreciate the strains and pressures that many have had to endure to keep their subscriptions flowing. THANK YOU.

Total membership is 102 compared with 103 at the AGM in April last year, with just the loss of the Bladder & Bowel Foundation which folded in July 2016. With the inception of the Toilet Map it is hoped that we could be afforded the opportunity to encourage more authorities to support the development – and we are positioning ourselves so that the BTA could perhaps offer a more attractive “all Inclusive ” package to interested parties. Commercial Membership currently stands at 14 but this is still extremely disappointing when you consider the number of cleaning companies operating across the UK. However many of these operators are individuals or very small operations that, like the councils, are reticent to spend hard earned cash on membership fees.

We continue to enjoy a superb working relationship with both of our Corporate Champion Members Healthmatic Limited based in Calne in Wiltshire and Danfo (UK) Ltd based in Isleworth in London. These two companies are highly regarded for delivering professional services to councils and community groups throughout the country and for their expertise in design and build solutions where toilets are most highly sought after. We always welcome applications from companies interested in becoming CCM’s and utilising the BTA to promote their products and/or services. Please note: the Management Committee oversees and approves all submissions for this category of membership. It is important for both parties that brand association, recognition and visibility is promoted at every opportunity and that CCM’s find continual perceived value in the status. Additional opportunities are always available to sponsor smaller initiatives throughout the year, such as newsletters, adverts and promotional material.

A 2015/2016 financial summary is available to members upon request. The 2016/2017 accounts have now been submitted to the accountant but have not yet been returned. In the main, these reflect a very similar picture to previous years with the organisation continuing to meet its financial obligations and liabilities.

With the loss of mainstream consultancy revenue it has been another extremely difficult period to try and balance the organisations financial commitments and running costs; whilst also trying to develop new programmes that might, if successfully implemented, bring increased revenue streams.

We continue to pursue opportunities for external funding or sponsorship to further enhance the scope of all our campaigns. In support of our mapping project, the Management Committee will be overseeing our new business case that will eventually be submitted to seek funding from a wide range of organisations.

Radio and TV interviews including BBC2 Daily Politics, Radio 2, 4 & 5 Live plus a substantial number of regional stations. The BTA continues to maintain an excellent media profile and TV, Radio and the press routinely contact us for comment and to provide general information on all toilet related matters.

The BTA has received and responded to over 12,500 emails and personal requests for information

The most recent major local authority consultations have been done for Derry City and Strabane District Council and Weymouth & Portland District Partnership. Weymouth have now commissioned us for a second report on the greater Portland area.

Within its existing management structure, membership and its corporate champions the BTA has a wealth of experience and expertise. Subsequently, it retains a substantial knowledge bank and the ability to respond independently to providers and suppliers. The BTA can offer site specific and impartial consultancy advice to providers & suppliers or those considering setting up and running a Community Toilet Scheme. This advice and support can include research, surveys, communication, planning, public relations, implementation and an independent monitoring service.

British Standards Institute (BSI)
The BTA is a member of the BSI Committee working on the revision of BS6465 and some elements are feeding into BS8300. Publication of these revised documents is expected this autumn.

The current economic climate, and most financial indicators for the foreseeable future, dictate that all expenditure on items or services that do not immediately add value or reduce cost are under intense scrutiny. Local authorities and many commercial companies still face extreme budget cuts. The UK’s public toilet numbers are under severe pressure despite any actions that BTA can take. Our aims and objectives will continue to direct, inform and advise members on how best to provide the highest quality ‘publicly accessible toilets’.

The new programmes under construction have been specifically devised to significantly increase the BTA’s visibility and strengthen our voice throughout the industry. It is clearly anticipated that by raising our profile we hope to substantially intensify the opportunities for funding and support.

As the industry and the demographic of providers continues to change, we will strive to attract both private and commercial companies as new Corporate Champion members, whilst pursuing new individual members. The Management Committee will also be reviewing the organisations structure and its working Constitution to make sure that the association is correctly positioned and structured going forward into future partnerships or funding agreements. Any changes or resolutions will be notified to members in advance of the next General meeting. At which time members will be allowed to vote for adoption or a rejection of any proposed amendments.

The management committee are continuing to work closely with the Director to review/revise the membership categories, pricing structure and delivery programme. Your comments, thoughts and ideas are always greatly appreciated, and we look forward to receiving any relevant letters and emails for the team to debate and discuss.

Raymond Martin

Managing Director

4th July 2017