first_imgA disabled activist has won a three-year battle with his bank over its refusal to allow him to communicate by email and provide him with a direct telephone contact number as reasonable adjustments.The Financial Ombudsman ruled that the Co-operative Bank had failed in its duties under the Equality Act, and awarded Adam Lotun £800 compensation.He had repeatedly asked over more than three years for the bank to make reasonable adjustments to take account of his hearing impairment, autism and memory problems.As well as turning down Lotun’s request for a way to communicate with the bank by email, it failed to provide a direct telephone number for him and other disabled people to contact staff who were trained to deal with customers with access needs.On several occasions, Lotun (pictured) was stranded away from home without any money because his card had been blocked without his knowledge, as a result of the high level of PayPal transactions on his account.The ombudsman found that he had been unable to unblock the card because he could not stay on hold on the phone for long periods.On one occasion, Lotun had to wheel himself five miles from a retail park and didn’t arrive home until quarter to one in the morning after his card was rejected at a supermarket checkout and he was left without any money for a taxi.The ombudsman said that if he had had a direct contact to call, “all of these occasions would’ve been avoided” because he could have called to get his card unblocked “with ease”.The ombudsman also told Lotun that the bank had told him he could use its text relay system instead of an email, but that “if the time had been taken to understand your needs it would’ve become clear that this isn’t suitable”.The ombudsman concluded: “Overall, I don’t think the adjustments you’ve asked for are unreasonable – namely to be able to communicate with Co-op via e-mail [and] to have a direct telephone contact for emergency situations only.“The former has been rejected by Co-op on several occasions on the basis that they didn’t have a secure e-mail facility.“I don’t think that this was a good enough reason and an attempt should’ve been made to explore this more fully. And I can’t see that Co-op ever proposed suitable alternatives.”The bank has now agreed to set up a secure email address for him, and has provided a telephone number for a team set up to deal with “vulnerable” customers.The ombudsman concluded that Lotun had been caused “unnecessary distress and inconvenience by Co-op’s failure to put your reasonable adjustments into place sooner”, although this appeared to be the result of the bank’s “limited resources” rather than discrimination.The ombudsman said that “a period of three or four years of having to constantly ask for adjustments that weren’t actually that demanding is far too long a period of time.“I also think that if the reasonable adjustments had been put into place in good time you would’ve been spared a lot of distress and inconvenience on several occasions.”A spokesman for the bank said it accepted the ombudsman’s decision.He said: “Since 2013, we have made significant progress in rebuilding the bank, and part of this process has been to completely review how we deal with vulnerable customers, leading to the creation of a vulnerable customer team in late 2016.”He said the bank had introduced company-wide “customer vulnerability awareness training” for its staff, “front-line training in the identification and engagement of vulnerable customers”, and enhanced training for the new “specialist customer vulnerability support teams”, as well as an advice line for its staff.As a result of a new partnership with Citizens Advice Manchester, a full-time advisor from the charity has been appointed to the bank to support customers with “multiple issues” who need support with such areas as housing, benefits and access to social support.The spokesman said: “We also provide appropriate customers with a single point of contact within our central vulnerability teams via a freephone number, via mail or in some instances a secure/encrypted e-mail platform.“We have made significant progress in improving our support for vulnerable customers since this matter was first raised in 2014 and we apologise to Mr Lotun for any inconvenience caused from his ongoing dealings with the bank.”Lotun, who has been a Co-op customer for more than 20 years, said it had been a “long and hard-fought battle” to secure the reasonable adjustments he needed.He said: “The Co-op have now been forced to recognise that they have consistently treated disabled customers negatively and that they have also been forced to recognise their actions and to also create and implement a specialist team to provide the best services possible for disabled customers.“In my view, a bank that promotes itself as a ‘ethical bank’ should not have to be challenged for so long in this way for ‘ethical standards’ to be put into place.”last_img read more

first_imgARTHUR Thomas’ funeral will take place on Thursday April 11 at 2.15pm at Pennington Church in Leigh.The service is open to all who knew Arthur.It will be followed by a private service for family only at a local crematorium, and a celebration of Arthur’s life at the Banqueting Suite Leigh Sports Village which is open again to anyone who knew him.Saints will host a minute’s silence for Arthur before their fixture against Catalan on Friday.last_img

first_imgNATHAN Brown is comfortable with the progress Saints have made in pre-season and is looking forward to a good campaign.And he believes the experience of 2013 will make his side – especially the younger players – much stronger.“Pre-season has been good,” the Head Coach said. “We have made some subtle changes and there has been an increase of younger players at training – those that came in last year and those who are now part of the first team squad. That has been exciting and we have a squad that has a good chance of being successful.“We are comfortable with the recruits we have made. Like all sides, whether you run first, fifth or eighth, you want to improve your squad. If you stand still someone will go past you. We have made some signings that can help complement and improve our squad. They are also good people too and that is really important.”Saints handed debuts to 13 players last season and whilst some of those were enforced due to a significant injury list, Brown says a number warranted a spot because of their hard work in training.“We will certainly benefit from a year like last,” he continued. “This year we’d like to think that the likes of Adam Swift, Mark Percival, Greg Richards and Alex Walmsley for example should continue to improve.“All the young kids who debuted have gone really well in pre-season. They have all shown good signs of improvement. Physically, they are stronger and bigger and their fitness is better too. They have added parts to their game and now the next challenge is seeing that happen on the field.“The kids who played last year have a lot of talent and contributed well at the time… and sometimes struggled… but that is all part of being young. We would hope they improve a fair bit this year and the proof will be over the coming season but we are excited. They have given themselves a good chance by having a good pre-season and have done everything asked of them.”Optimism is high at Saints ahead of the Super League opener at Warrington on February 13 and Langtree Park’s ‘bow’ on February 21 against Hull FC.Not only has the club signed five players but there’s enough momentum from the back end of last season to carry forward.“The back third of last year was quite good I thought,” Brown added. “We won 10 from 12 only losing to Warrington when they were a little better in the first 15 minutes and then when we lost 11-10 to Leeds. That was a great game of football and we were unlucky not to get something from it.“People tend to think though if you bring in new signings you can automatically start playing well again. But these new players need to bed into the culture of the club. Last year that culture helped to hold the squad together and it’s important the young players coming up realise that.“The new players who have come in also need to understand the history of the club and the commitment the players of the past have made for its success. If we get that right then we can perform well.”He continued: “There’s always expectation around a club like this. I worked at the Dragons in the NRL and there is no more expectation than any club in the NRL than the Dragons. The fans are passionate and even when we weren’t going so well a lot of they supported us by coming to the games. Our away support was nothing short of brilliant.“With the history here the fans don’t expect success, they demand it. That helps the club be what it is. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else to be honest.”Saints will kick off their Super League campaign with a trip to Warrington on Thursday February 13 before hosting Hull FC eight days later in a blockbusting Langtree Park opener.Before then Nathan Brown’s men take on Batley (January 24) and Wigan (January 31) in pre-season friendlies.To buy tickets for these matches click here or pop into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park.last_img read more

first_imgPerfect to wear casually or for matchday, it has a predominantly navy body with red panel alongside an eye-catching sky trim on the upper chest and shoulders and a full red zip.There are red and sky blue stripes along the sleeves too and sky trim on the collar, cuffs and hem.It has the retro look of a traditional tracksuit top.The cuffs and hem are elasticated.Adult sizes Extra Small through to 5XL. Also available in Kids sizes 5/6 through to Age 13/14 yrs.You can order yours here.,You can order yours here.last_img read more