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Stephanie Trotter • 4 years ago

This sounds wonderful. Prevention of death and injury is so
much better for everyone concerned.

The following is extremely encouraging:-
'Health and safety now has a pivotal role in Cook’s strategy. It is working
towards annual audits of core hotels from summer 2017, having doubled its
in-house headcount and ramped up activity with Geneva-based specialist SGS “to
a different level”.'

I don't personally know anything about SGS and will be looking into their expertise
in safety issues. For holidaymakers safety topics can be as diverse as gas and
carbon monoxide to sensible safety at sea.

The following doesn't sound quite as good:-
'An Academy of Excellence has been established to help hoteliers meet required standards from food and housekeeping to reception and even online reputation management.'

We all understand that companies guard their reputations and it is entirely
understandable for them do so. However, where is the independent help, advice
and support for victims such as the parents of the children who tragically died
in Corfu?

In 2006, on behalf of CO-Gas Safety, I contacted the parents and provided
the contact details for the independent gas expert Harry Rogers who undertook
the investigation and gave evidence at the inquest. This investigation and
evidence was crucial because without Harry's report, nobody would ever
have known just how bad the condition of that gas appliance was. We also
recommended Leslie Thomas, the barrister, later QC, for the family at the
inquest. In my opinion, without the parents' determination & courage and the
expertise of Harry and Leslie, the full facts would never have emerged.

Last summer at the families' request, Thomas Cook kindly donated £50,000 to
CO-Gas Safety. We are very grateful for that donation. The charity is run
almost entirely by volunteers with only a small amount of paid part time help
for our data of deaths and injuries. I do all the day to day work as a volunteer. £50,000 sounds a huge amount but our most recent published accounts (2015) show it cost £34,463 to run the charity in 2014-15. We cannot last forever.

Also, what are the other tour operators doing? Surely most people think going
with a tour operator means that as at an absolute minimum, the accommodation will
be reasonably safe and that someone expert with regard to basic safety such as gas, fire, balcony, pool and hygiene will have inspected the accommodation?

Surely the Federation of Tour Operators should be insisting that there be an
independent central body which undertakes safety checks for ALL accommodation
as a basic minimum?

If the tour operators got together, then this valuable work could be done more
cheaply.

In our opinion the FTO should also be setting up an independent body to provide victim support.

Stephanie Trotter, OBE CO-Gas Safety Email office@co-gassafety.co.uk