Agenda item

Leisure Service – Future Management Options (Key Decision)

Report of the Cabinet Member for Growth on enhancing leisure opportunities for everyone.

Decision:

 

Decision:

 

1.    The Cabinet approves an extension to the Council’s current leisure management contract arrangement for a term of 15 months, the extension to end on 3 April 2022 subject to the current level of service being maintained.

 

2.    The Cabinet agrees with the result of the long-term management option appraisal and approves the proposal to procure a new contract arrangement.

 

3.    The Cabinet agrees that a Procurement Strategy should be developed to determine the optimum length of contract and ideal route to market.

 

4.    The Cabinet approves a budget of £65,000 be set aside to develop the Procurement Strategy and support the Council in the procurement of a new contract.  This is to be funded from the £106,000 saving as detailed in the exempt report.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

1.    The Cabinet Member for Growth exempt report on enhancing leisure opportunities for everyone.

2.    Each of the four leisure centres are of varying age and condition and all require significant investment to ensure they are attractive, sustainable, energy efficient, able to meet modern customer expectations and provide value for money.

3.    Consultants appointed to undertake a feasibility study to provide proposals on a scheme of refurbishment and/or redevelopment.

4.    The results of soft market testing have been used to inform the likely interest in both a short and long-term contract and the likely benefit to the Council.  The results are set out as options within the report and have helped to inform the recommendations.

5.    Comments from the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Other options considered and rejected:

 

1.    Several detailed options were considered and rejected in respect of short and long-term management options as follows:

 

Short-term Leisure Management Options

Contract extension with current provider

Short term contract with new provider

 

Long-term Management Options

In-house Management of Leisure Service

Form a Leisure Trust

Extend Current Contract Arrangements

New Contract Arrangement

Joint Venture Arrangements with a Third Party Provider

Asset Disposal

 

2.    A full overview of the options considered are set out in the exempt report.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Growth presented a report on enhancing leisure opportunities for everyone in the district.  She explained that the Council was looking for the best value, reducing the revenue burden and the way forward in getting the long-term procurement right to ensure a cost-effective outcome.  This meant that a short-term option was needed to get to that point which was the reason for this report.  She advised the proposals had been to the Finance, Economic, Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee for review and thanked them for their contribution.  Some valid concerns had been raised about a potential for a reduced level of service.  She proposed the recommendations in the report with an addition at recommendation 1 that the current level of service be maintained.

 

There was some discussion at the level of detail in the report and a Cabinet Member felt he needed more information.  It was explained that this had been previously discussed and there had been opportunities for Cabinet Members to request further information from the Cabinet Member for Growth or the lead Officer prior to the Cabinet meeting. 

 

The Leader used his discretion to allow non-Cabinet Members to speak at the meeting and the following was noted:

 

·       The validity and assurance the proposal would provide in the long-term on getting the procurement right was commended

·       The one-off procurement cost would be offset by the savings

·       A financial return was expected for leisure provision in the long-term

·       The legality of contract modification at option 1 was queried and the Head of Legal agreed to review and report back – Action Point

·       If the existing provider continued, the collection of rent for the playing fields needed to be reviewed to ensure good value and it was understood that this was currently in hand by the Head of Leisure

 

The recommendations in the report were proposed, seconded and AGREED:

 

1.    The Cabinet approves an extension to the Council’s current leisure management contract arrangement for a term of 15 months, the extension to end on 3 April 2022 subject to the current level of service being maintained.

 

2.    The Cabinet agrees with the result of the long-term management option appraisal and approves the proposal to procure a new contract arrangement.

 

3.    The Cabinet agrees that a Procurement Strategy should be developed to determine the optimum length of contract and ideal route to market.

 

4.    The Cabinet approves a budget of £65,000 be set aside to develop the Procurement Strategy and support the Council in the procurement of a new contract.  This is to be funded from the £106,000 saving as detailed in the exempt report.

 

In response to a series of comments made during the meeting, the Leader explained that although he welcomed open questions and constructive criticism he didn’t condone personal attacks and felt this was inappropriate.  He said that a good working relationship amongst Members of the Council was essential and all Members needed to work as a team and have respect for each other regardless of party.  He wished everyone a Merry Christmas.