Pools that make a difference

Pool people from organisations, local authorities, clubs, schools, hospitals have been asking us if they can become members. At first, we weren’t sure how to respond as we didn’t know what people wanted us to do.

You can already become an individual member of PWTAG if you meet the entry criteria. After talking to some of the people who had approached us, we got an idea of what they needed. In response, we have developed the pool operator membership category.

The intention is that these members can take part in PWTAG as operator experts working alongside our industry forum and council to develop better practice for the design, operation and training in swimming pools. The UK’s swimming pools represent the “real world” expertise of swimming pool operation.

The theory is fine, but to move forward, we need to know what happens in practice. What are the challenges that confront swimming pool operators? What works, what fails? What is the knowledge, skills and behaviour required by those who work on pool side to successfully undertake roles within our sector? It is this expertise, knowledge and experience PWTAG is seeking from pool operators.

It will be a two-way process. In return for membership, we will provide routes for feedback that operator members can channel back to us to help shape future practice. We will also provide a direct route to operator members with the latest information and guidance to help them manage their pools.

PWTAG is widely recognised for its expertise and practices. Our standards are the benchmark for swimming pools design and operation. Together with training and qualifications, these are the essential components that represent everything to do with improving standards for swimming pools in the UK.

The PWTAG Pool Operator Membership is your organisation’s chance to be a part of improving the design, engineering, safety, health and quality of swimming pool operation and creating a sustainable, professional and durable workforce. PWTAG champions the cause of healthy, safe, effective and practical standards for swimming pool water on behalf of its members, the industry and the swimming public. PWTAG intends to keep its operator members informed about this work. There are other benefits.

  • Recognition: Members may, where appropriate, use the PWTAG logo,
  • Certification: you receive an official partnership certificate to record membership, and a listing on the PWTAG directory

PWTAG “asks” of its pool operator members

PWTAG anticipates a membership drawn from a wide range of pool operators, statutory, voluntary and professional organisations. All will share a concern in pool water treatment and the best interests of pool users.

The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group is dedicated solely to raising standards in the pursuit of excellent, healthy bathing conditions in swimming, spa, hydrotherapy, and other pools. It’s a cause to which we have been dedicated for over 70 years, during which PWTAG has provided the industry’s definitive guidelines in print and online. In the absence of statutory guidance, PWTAG’s guidelines are recognised as best practice; they have been quoted in court where successful prosecutions under health and safety legislation have resulted following evidence that the guidelines have not been followed.

Given the unique influence that PWTAG has in the practice of swimming pool operation, it is important that PWTAG conducts itself in a way that maintains the integrity of its position. Openness, democracy and independence from financial influence are fundamental to sustaining our integrity.

PWTAG is an entirely voluntary, independent body able to pursue its work without any commercial or other influence. It is a focus for debate and improvement in operational and management standards in an area which comes under significant financial and political, as well as technical pressure. All our guidance is provided free of charge, we give it to swimming pools and those who operate them because we believe it is important that independent expertise sets the standards and underpins how swimming pools are designed and operated.

We seek no rewards for this work, 95 per cent of what we do is contributed by volunteers. Highly qualified, experienced professionals they may be but their contribution is pro bono, free, gratis.

We can only continue with this drive to improvement through the support of our members. The subscriptions they pay for membership and the support they show through purchase of our books and attending our seminars

A Pool Operator membership is a statement of support for PWTAG vision to create improvement

In the standards for pool operation and a professional workforce for the sector. PWTAG “ask” is for members to support this through:

  • The annual subscription – to show support to PWTAG and to help finance our continual voluntary and independent role in setting standards and research is £250 per annum (maximum 20 pool sites)
  • Following the PWTAG Code of Practice
  • Obtaining copies of our publications including Swimming Pool Water, our main technical publication and following our Technical Notes, guidance materials, books, posters etc
  • Sourcing training from PWTAG Approved Training Organisations
  • Ensuring that “PWTAG membership desirable” is included on all job descriptions/person specifications
  • Encouraging and providing progression routes for staff into membership
  • Providing feedback to PWTAG in surveys, research work, accidents and incidents

Ralph Riley 30 October 2018

(Ralph Riley is the Vice Chairman of PWTAG, former Chief Exec of ISRM and provider and operator of many public swimming pools. He heads up the UK BSI representation on European and World sports standards. This blog represents Ralph’s views and not necessarily those of PWTAG.)