FAQ: The RADAR accessible toilet key

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What is a RADAR Key? [updated March 2018]

The RADAR key Company have manufactured the vast majority of keys many know as RADAR keys over the past 25 years. They are needed to open a large number (10,000 plus) of accessible toilets in the UK which are part of the National Key Scheme (NKS).

History of the key

RADAR is an organisation that no longer exists – it became part of a new company Disability Rights UK (DRUK). They started the National Key Scheme in the UK.

The RADAR Key Company no longer supply keys to DRUK but continue to make the keys for the National Key Scheme and improve on them.

What toilets do they open?

The keys open toilets fitted with the RADAR National Key Scheme (NKS) locks. Toilets fitted with these are for the use of disabled people and are found all over the country (e.g. pubs, restaurants, leisure venues, tourist places, shopping centres, stations, airports etc).

What types are there?

There are two types – one with a small head and one with a very large head for people with grip or dexterity difficulties. Both used to be silver with the word RADAR Key embossed on them fit into an NKS door lock or NKS padlock . The door locks often look like this:RADAR_lock

Keys now look like this:

A new solid brass key.

They are long handled to bypass vandal protection blocks built into doors.

Who can have one?

Any individual with an impairment / medical condition who needs access to these larger toilets or hygiene facilities or needs facilities to assist mobility or navigation (such as hand rails, lower basin, contrasting colours, different toilet height or seat arrangement, changing table, hoist for example).

One downside is that you do not need proof of need to purchase one so parents and non disabled people can abuse the scheme.

Where do I buy a genuine key from?

You can buy brass (improved) genuine (tested and guaranteed to work) keys from the makers of the original key :

Radarkey.org

price £2.50

Other sellers of ‘genuine’ keys include this one from Disability Rights UK (4.50). [personally I prefer the improved brass one as opposed to a love heart blue key that is rather stigmatising. Some may prefer it if they want it to stand out and know they have it in their bag].

I have seen them for sale elsewhere – do they work?

Fake RADAR Key Fake RADAR Key

There are hundreds of places claiming to sell ‘genuine’ keys including many prominent charities and mobility shops. Most have a red handle and are mass produced in China. I strongly advise against these keys.

One of the reasons for making a new brass key is to avoid people being ripped of by fakes that may be so rough cut and out of shape that they don’t easily open toilets, if at all. Keys may not be tested by a master locksmith or damage locks.

Tom Gordan from their sales team told me:

“Disabled people need genuine Radar keys because they are dependent on them to open what is often the sole toilet which they can use. 
Genuine keys genuinely work all the locks because they have extra machining processes and are more reliably cut and also more accurately cut.
Each one is tested on a radar toilet lock (not the padlocks which are a more basic mechanism) by a master locksmith to guarantee that a disabled person does not suffer.
Identification of genuine keys is easy – if it says “radar” and ‘NKS’ on it, it is a genuine radar key. If it doesn’t then it is an inferior copy.
Including postage, the majority of the dodgy keys are sold for more than genuine ones direct from us at the RADAR Key Company, so the confusion leads to those copies creating both awkward situations and extra cost.”

How do I find a toilet?

A free App is available for Changing Places toilets and coming soon will be one for other accessible toilets. This is available for Android and Apple phones and on the web.

A booklet for regional locations is available on the DRUK website costing £3.50. However, it will cost you £70 to purchase all regions!! I’d download a free App to find their locations made by the RADAR Key Company!

The majority of toilets use the scheme so it’s probably best to just follow signs to toilets/accessible toilets as anyone would do.

Why are accessible toilets often locked with these in the UK?

Many places choose to install NKS locks on their toilets to keep them clean and reduce the chance of them being abused by people who don’t need to use them, vandalised or used for drugs, sexual activity or a wide range of other things!

Toilet finding/rating Apps

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Toilet finding Apps /websites

The usefulness of toilet finding/rating Apps rely on many things such as:

  • Reliability – rating Apps rely on personal opinion and finding Apps need to be regularly updated.
  • Accessibility of the App or website for people with impairments can often be neglected.
  • Not all toilets are listed on all sites – so you may have to look through several to get a better picture.
  • There may be more than one toilet at a venue and it may not be clear exactly where the accessible ones are (or which one was reviewed if more than one).

Here are a few worth looking at – each had its own merits so tell us what you think (and let the website/App developers know so they can hopefully make them better suit your needs).

They are all free at the time of listing.

I thought this App had great potential and the developers responded positively to feedback. This is both a rating and finding App. You can rate virtually every toilet feature including access features and cleanliness. Changing Place toilets are included as a review type – and a photo can be submitted for elements you wish to highlight. Reviews are personal reflections which is something to consider but with enough contributors and a date the reviewer visited that facility, this could become a leading database to look at.


This App is by the RADAR Key Company and is free to download:

https://www.changingplacesmap.org

You do not have to enter your e-mail to go into the App. A web version also exists with enhanced features. This is a toilet finding App for Changing Places toilets which have a hoist and changing bench. The title is somewhat misleading as this is not the Changing Places Consortium map. Here are some screen shots. The inclusion of data such as whether you need to pay, need a NKS (RADAR) key or if locked is very helpful.

A quick test did not reveal all the sites registered on the CP Consortium map – but it did list toilets that didn’t meet the full CP criteria which was useful. You can let them know if a toilet is missing.

Tom Gordon from the company who is involved with the App tells us:

“Our updated Changing-Places-Toilet-Finder website and phone apps (Apple and Android) are free from http://www.loo.org

Ours was the very first one, has 200 more toilets than the British Toilet Association have on theirs, more accurately described and with a more intuitive design of programme.

A similar free website for accessible toilets will follow, so the 5 year old sheets from Disability Rights UK will then be able to be binned.


Next is map that is perhaps the most familiar to hoist and bench users.

The Changing Places Consortium have their own map of registered CP toilets viewable at:

http://www.changing-places.org/find_a_toilet.aspx

The one function I’d really like to see developed is to search by venue type eg to search for ‘zoo’ or ‘restaurant’ rather than just by location. I’d also like a map somewhere of hoist assisted toilets for people who don’t need a bench or perhaps more info on equipment eg if a toilet riser or bidet is provided.


Speaking of bidets, Closomat have a map where you will find their toilets – also useful if you want to try one out.

http://www.clos-o-mat.com/index.php/away-from-home/closomat-toilet-map.html


Lastly this website seems to have lost its place (and funding). You can enter toilet data in a basic format but to be honest, it’s pretty poor.

https://greatbritishpublictoiletmap.rca.ac.uk

As you can see it never found any toilets near me.


Other sites that list some details about toilets at venues include Euan’s Guide ( a review site where people can describe accessibility of venues including the toilets)

Our profile on Euan’s Guide

and Disabled Go (lots of information but not every toilet at a venue is described).

Pop up toilets with a hoist and changing bench – Part 1

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This month we invited companies to tell us about their alternative solutions for venues who want to provide accessible toilet solutions for people who need a changing bench and/or hoist.

This week features MigLoo … and here is what they told us.


MigLoo

Summary

  • Mobile, set up/take down system as and when required.
  • Three types (MigLoo Freedom, MigLoo Festival and Naked MigLoo)
  • A gantry hoist system with a changing bed and camping technology for sink/toilet supply.
  • Cost: £6000 to purchase.
  • Hiring options.
  • Website: www.migloo.co.uk
  • Contact: Leave a message or telephone us on 07789 147663.

Where did the idea come from?

Director John Robinson’s concern at the difficulty people experience in finding suitable facilities. He started out by inventing a mobile Changing Place for Andy Loo’s in 2006. He got one of the very first Changing Places Awards during the launch of the Changing Places campaign at the Tate Modern, in 2006. John then realized there was a huge need for facilities that people could take with them. This gave him the idea of inventing an inexpensive yet completely versatile and fully mobile solution to these needs. This led to the three products we have today.

John was inspired by people with profound disabilities’ character and their neglected situation, which still continues today. He still feels that ‘we can do better than this!’

Why do these facilities make such a difference and what do customers and users think of them? 

Operation with MigLoo’s mean that facilities can be put where people need them, rather than having to seek them out. They also are low cost making it easy for people to make those ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ required under the Equality Act.

Users of the facilities (which means carers as well as wheelchair occupants) are delighted by the MigLoo’s and often moved emotionally that they can stay for a full event or that someone has bothered to provide what they need. We’re deeply moved by this and extremely motivated to develop MigLoo’s and the many other inventions in the pipeline.

How long have you been running and where are you based?

We started off in 2005 when John Robinson gave up his job running Pershore Day Care Centre to develop his inventions. Co-director John Morgan joined him in 2009 and the parent company, Protorus Solutions Ltd, was formed in 2014. However, the current MigLoo operation commenced in late 2017. The entire MigLoo manufacturing, production and operation is based in Pinvin, in darkest Worcestershire.

How many types of arrangement do you have and what areas do you cover?

We cover the whole of the UK with sales. We prefer businesses and organisations to buy MigLoo’s because of their very low cost. However, we also make some MigLoo Festivals available for hire when we have the capacity to do so.

There are 3 MigLoos

Migloo Freedom

The MigLoo Freedom (above) is 2m x 3m and has a changing bed, gantry with hoist and tent to cover. This means it is small and light and can be erected on fairly level sites by 2 people virtually anywhere.Migloo Festival

The MigLoo Festival is 4.5m x 3m and is an accredited Changing Place. It has everything that other Changing Places have, including a sink, water from a tap and a loo. It is self-sufficient, being independent of mains water or electricity, using camping technologies, which make it incredibly flexible and cost effective.Naked MigLoo

The Naked MigLoo is simply the MigLoo Festival without the tent structure. What we are doing here is providing pop-up Changing Place facilities that can be put into an empty suitable room ANYWHERE!

From businesses through shopping malls, supermarkets, museums, local authorities, empty shops on High Streets – essentially opening up huge amounts of otherwise redundant spaces into accredited Changing Places for profoundly disabled people to use.

We’re seeing this as a temporary solution to the lack of facilities; they are low cost making them a very reasonable adjustment and helping to prove the need for permanent facilities to be installed.

We also realize that MigLoo’s can also enable organizations to find the optimum site for a Changing Place, thus avoiding the embarrassing situation that some businesses/authorities have made in putting them in locations that few will use! Because of their extremely low cost, Naked MigLoo’s are also perfect “standby” Changing Places for when the permanent Changing Place breaks down.

  • A Naked MigLoo takes only 30 minutes to be erected and become fully operational.

Can they be installed/hired for a few days or nights?

Yes. We will hire them out for anything from 1 night to many, although installing at a great distance simply isn’t feasible or cost effective as it would be too expensive for a relatively short period.

Does anyone stay with the set up to help learn how to use that particular hoist/gantry or empty commodes etc?

No, not really. The equipment is easy to use and we make sure hirers are trained, thus having someone who can advise on hand when folk use it. We sort the waste out.

Can any disabled person or carer use your facilities or are they only for hoist/bench users (and their carers/assistants)?

This is really for the event organizers. The Elsan loo we have has armrests and a backrest and is designed for those who need support, but there are not the grab rails you would find in an ordinary wheelchair loo. The organisers may well feel that users with profound disabilities should have priority and should not have to wait for someone in a wheelchair, who has an alternative loo.

For people who might use them, would they be allowed to leave their sling with you in a locker or do they need to carry it around the venue?

They would need to take the sling around with them, as we have no locker, but it is something we could consider. By the way, it is looped slings that fit our hoists. This is because most people use this type. We could cater for clipped systems, but this would need advance notice and be a little more expensive (as they are not used very much).

What types of venues have you been to and how do people know if you are attending?

Here’s a list of what we’ve done so far; Fun Days in a football club, Fetes, Disability Awareness Days, Children’s Play Schemes, College Events, Exhibitions, School Events, International Theatre, Conferences, 7 day Festivals….. We put the events on our website and social media and make sure the organisers advertise that a Changing Place will be available; after all; ‘If you billed it they will come’ – but not if they don’t know about it!

If I wanted one for a day at my event/venue, what space would I need and where is the best place to have one e.g. inside the event, in the car park etc.

The MigLoo Freedom is 2m x 3m, the MigLoo Festival 3m x 4.5m but some space is needed around the structure for guide ropes if it is windy. It is best to put the facility as near to where it is needed where people are, rather than making them have to go some distance away (it’s often hard work wheel chairing!).

Do I need a permit or special insurance to have one near/in my event?

No, though we would ask that you insure the facility, just to cover any damage. Our parent company, Protorus Solutions Ltd carries £10m in public liability insurance.

How can people find out the cost of hiring a Migloo arrangement and attendant?

Just go on our website www.migloo.co.uk and leave a message or telephone us on 07789 147663. We don’t provide an attendant as this will push the costs way up and normally the event puts someone in charge. Carer’s also know what they need to do when they see the very familiar set up inside the MigLoo. We could consider this, however, and supply an attendant if necessary.

What do you hope for the future of Migloo?

Simply to support as many people that need it as quickly as possible. There is a desperate need in the UK for these facilities as we have all seen in recent national TV and other media coverage. Our MigLoo family offer real “reasonable adjustment” and the Naked MigLoo is potentially a game changer, changing many many lives for the better, once it has become more recognized. We would also like the low cost MigLoo concept to be taken on by the “event loo” industry in the UK and make it available to other countries. As MigLoo grows, we will employ staff to run the operation.

Can people find you on social media?

Yes, on

Twitter @MigLoo4U #GotaRoom4CP

Facebook : MigLoo4u LinkedIn :      www.linkedin.com/company/migloo

Child Protection: Campaigning with dignity

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This article is about safeguarding and contains information that every parent campaigner should know. Warning, may involve triggers related to sexual abuse.


When it comes to campaigning for Changing Places or Space to change toilets, a large number of campaigners are parents of disabled adults and children. Children and adults vary in age range and mental capacity, some having severe learning difficulties.

In this article we refer to disabled children but equally this applies to disabled adults with reduced mental capacity regarding consent to the use of their image.

Important information can be found on:

NSPCC image use in child protection

Images in campaigning

Parents will generally want to share images of their disabled children (or send them to other parents or organisations ) so that they can be used on posters, in booklets, attached to Tweets, made public on Facebook or printed in letters / e-mails for example.

Many images involve a child laying on a toilet floor, others show a child in distress or semi clothed/wearing only incontinence pads from the waist down.

Losing control over images of disabled adults and children.

Every potential campaigner, organisation or business who provides or collects an image of a child/adult, needs to be aware of how to protect their dignity and privacy and safeguard them from abuse.

The potential for misuse of images can be reduced if organisations are aware of the potential risks and dangers and put appropriate measures in place. [NSPCC:2018]

This is particularly important when each campaigner is acting as an individual (there is no ‘single campaign’, rather a shared desire to raise awareness and encourage the provision of more accessible toilets).

We have a safeguarding policy for project participants and a code of conduct which you can view here.

What every parent needs to consider.

  • First and foremost the privacy and dignity of every child should come before any campaign gains.

Every disabled adult and child, as a human person, has a right to dignity and privacy.  Whilst it can be argued that laying on a toilet floor is undignified, this doesn’t mean the person should be open to further enduring indignity (and loss of privacy) through having their photograph made public on the Internet for example.

If your child is too old to be placed on a baby changing unit, they are probably to old to be shown in a photo wearing a nappy/pad/pull ups.

  • If your child had full awareness / understanding about the Internet and who would see their image (friends, teachers, families, random members of the public, paedophiles etc) would they agree to you posting that particular picture?

An image example that was shared across the world via social media involved a 14 year old girl with severe learning difficulties, laying on a public toilet floor in her incontinence pads. There are probably no 14 year olds without an impairment who would consent to such images going public – so consider age appropriateness when thinking about dignity, privacy and consent.

  • Question who is asking for this photo – how well do you know them?

Just because a person says ‘please share your image for the campaign’ doesn’t mean they are genuine. Anyone can create a Facebook or Twitter profile and appear to be an understanding parent in the same position.

  • Who is using the image of your child?

Remember, once you share a photo with any individual campaigner (privately or via social media), you have no control over what this person will do with it – or what the next recipient it is passed on to will do with it.

Did you know, we are often sent images of disabled children, not from their parents but from other campaigners and told to ‘use the images as we see fit’. You probably don’t know I have them nor what I intend to do with them. *Note we immediately delete these images.

  • Never share your child’s image with a business, charity or organisation unless you see a copy of their child protection and safeguarding policy.

Use of your child’s image in sexual ways or to locate them in person

You have no control over how the photo you provide to people will be used (it might even be used for a different disability campaign, in any country). You have no control over who will store the photo, if the image will be altered, in what format it will be kept, how secure it is, and how long it will stay there.

It could turn up in the hands of a paedophile or be shared amongst a secret Facebook group of people who will find them sexually stimulating. No parent wants their child’s image to be used in this way?

By posting your photo, where your child may have their face showing, and saying ‘please have a picture of [x]’ you have given your name and that of your child.

A sexual offender or ‘admirer’ [someone who has a sexual preference for a person with specific impairment or medical issue such as being a continence pad user] now knows enough to start following links to seek more information or imagery.

They can visit your profile and see anything you have made public, find out where you might live, perhaps match up your children’s image with anything from a local newspaper/charity/school or blog. Very soon they could pinpoint you to an actual school, know your routines, start befriending you, maybe meeting in person several months down the line as a ‘similar parent’.  They have your whole profile and possibly that of your family and friends (whom they can also contact and befriend).

Gradually they get ever closer to their prize – your child. Then one day you meet up, they offer to sit with your child whilst you pop to the loo. Very slowly your have, unknowingly, compromised the safety of your child … all because of a photo you shared a few years ago on the Internet.

Does this really happen – yes it does. A man contacted me and several other disabled men and women. First the conversation was about what type of mobility equipment/wheelchairs, medical equipment did they use – as if asking for peer advice. A few conversations later the topic turns to asking about the best incontinence pads to use … then asking for pictures of people in their wheelchairs, asking to be friends, liking photos and asking to meet in person. The person found that seeing a particular type of impaired person, in a wheelchair, knowing they were incontinent was sexually stimulating … and they quickly deleted their profile and resurfaced under another name when the disabled community felt that something wasn’t quite right. They wanted images and a visual viagra. They would start to bully and harass people if they did not get their fix. This happens. Be aware and be safe.

  • Once an image is ‘loose’ on the Internet, you will have no control over where it goes or who keeps it or for how long – and will not be able to ‘get it back or delete it permanently.
  • Schools, local authority staff, local authority foster carers, care workers have to work within strict policies about photographing children for posting on the Internet or elsewhere. Images of children have to be ‘appropriately clothed’ and pictures of children in a toilet would be a safeguarding concern and investigated.  As a parent, you will know that you have to consent in writing for every photo a school uses and be informed where it will be shared and how it will be stored. A school has to classify it as personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998.

If a school teacher, care worker, foster carer can’t share images of children who are not appropriately clothed (i.e. in knickers/pants/pads) then you might want to think twice about sharing and the implications this can have.

  • If you are invited to make a photo as ‘shocking as possible’, consider that ‘shocking’ is likely to impact the dignity and privacy of your child.

Be aware, be safe, protect your child’s image.

All change for changing places

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News from The Changing Places campaign:

We wanted to share the news that Muscular Dystrophy UK is taking over from Mencap to lead campaigning activity across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will co-chair the Consortium alongside PAMIS.

More about this news can be found at:

http://www.changing-places.org/news/changes_to_the_consortium.aspx

Aveso say:

Slings, hoists and money pits

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Another disability money making scheme?

Recently I had the annual inspection of my ceiling hoist. My hoist covers the area from my bed to my toilet and wheelchair. The inspection includes a visual check that my sling is safe to use. In fact, the law requires a sling inspection twice each year. It costs around £100 for a hoist and sling safety assessment.

My sling is as rugged as hell – in fact I can’t imagine how it would get torn or ripped without slashing it with a knife several times!! Basically it would probably last me 20 years.

However … and here is the rip-off, the sling can fail and be declared instantly unusable if the serial number can not be read.

Now, slings are made to be washed – and just like clothes, the little cloth tag can begin to show faded writing. So my £500-600 sling could be assigned to the bin after a years worth of washes! A perfectly maintained and safe sling, thrown away because of a faded number.

Will companies make a serial number that is permanent that can withstand several washes? Apparently, the word on the street is that key companies were asked to do just that but refused because it brings them greater profits by forcing everyone to repurchase new ones. Imagine schools and hospitals having to pay out thousands each year to get new slings that are otherwise safe to use.

Equally, a company can say they no longer ‘support’ a particular hoist model and the user also has to throw that out within six months as they are automatically deemed unsafe.

The overall result is that individuals, schools and hospitals, public swimming pools, social services and companies who have Changing Places hoist equipment are throwing away large amounts of equipment that may still be usable for a number of years.

Products that are purchased are now being chosen because they are cheap to replace and not because they are safe, dignified, comfy and the ‘right one’ for the user.

Calling all manufacturers…

I invite manufacturers of patient slings and hoists to comment on their policies and manufacturing processes where efforts are being made to ensure serial / product numbers can last the lifetime of any sling and that ‘discontinued’ products can still be supported for the life of existing equipment . These would also come under the companies policy to cut down on environmental waste.

Rare Breeds Farm trip – where toilets were even rarer.

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Last week I went to the Rare Breeds Centre near Ashford in Kent. It was a day out with my husband, my sister in law and nephew to enjoy all that Highland Farm had to offer.

I never thought that I'd have any trouble finding a toilet because the farm is run and owned by the Canterbury Oast Trust (COT). They support adults with learning difficulties (some of whom use a wheelchair) who are working and volunteering around the site.

[Source: Rare Breed Centre website, 2017]

I imagined it to be super accessible in the toilet facilities although I did know from their website that they had no hoist or bench.

First toilet attempt

The first thing we do when we go out is check the toilet facilities to see if we can manage. My husband would be lifting/dragging me from my chair to the toilet. I am female – with a male assistant which becomes very relevant when we find out there is no unisex toilet in the outside toilet block. There is only an accessible cubicle in the men's and women's toilets. I generally can't use cubicles as they are not big enough for my extra small power chair plus assistant.

This causes a temporary panic. What if we had to go home or drive several miles into Ashford to find a toilet? This was supposed to be a lovely once a year opportunity for a day out with our little little nephew.

Attempt number 2

We went inside the restaurant and I saw there was a sign to toilets and baby changing. Hurrah. I ask a member of staff where I could use the toilet and she escorted me through the doors I could see marked for more toilets. There was a ladies toilet with a large cubicle – so my husband would still have to loiter outside the cubicles.

How would you react if you were a women going to the loo and a man was hanging around inside?

This is embarrassing for my husband and can you imagine a parent's horror when their child reports a man was in the toilet. This is a farm for children and staff / volunteers with learning difficulties – which could lead my husband open to abuse allegations or scare the living daylights out of people.

Also, the toilet (below) had a none standard support rail meaning it offered no support when sitting on the toilet – ( it's located too far forward) so not usable at all for me. The hand dryer is not reachable in the corner and there is no emergency cord.

All in all at this point there were no usable toilets.

Attempt three

I had attended conferences and training events in the adjoining training centre, so I knew I had used the toilet inside. I asked if I could use these and staff went off to see what they could do. Thankfully they opened up the centre so I could use the toilet ….. we'll sort of. This was not a good experience.

I had forgotten that the accessible toilet room was built inside the Men's toilet facing the urinals.

Luckily as there were no events on, the toilets were only used by staff so limiting the chance of them being used whilst we were in there.

The problem here was that the accessible toilet room (inside a room!) was smaller than a standard unisex toilet. In fact, as I parked next to the toilet with my back wheels against the wall – the door wouldn't close!!

We had to take of foot plates etc and tuck my feet in to be able to close the door. My chair is a custom design for a small adult so a regular adult chair user would possible not fit.

There is meant to be clear space under the finger wash basin and a mirror you can see from a sitting position but as you can see these were not provided.

Being a men's toilet there was no bin for sanitary waste and incidentally no bin for continence pads in any toilet we saw.

The toilet has no emergency cord which might be a problem for some people.

If I was a women who could independently use the toilet then I would not be at all comfortable going into a men's toilet block.

If I had a female carer then we are back in that awkward lurking situation.

I will be doing a formal complaint to see if they can come up with a solution to some of these issues.