Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services
Comments from Members of the Public
To receive comments or views from members of the public at the Committee’s discretion.
Nikki Morphy made the following points in relation to agenda item 6, Arts, Culture and Events Service – Implementation of Review and Recommendations:
· She had lived in Stamford for over 30 years and had been very enthusiastic supporter of the arts centre for that time.
· She had concerns over members of staff leaving and the café running at a reduced capacity.
· Herself and her family had attended many shows and classes at the arts centre.
· She raised concern that box office staff were leaving, the box office operation hours were to be cut drastically and that only one staff member would be ‘manning’ the box office.
· She had submitted a letter to the Stamford Mercury; however an article was not published due to insufficient evidence on a sensitive issue.
· Several email exchanges had been sent to the Chief Executive where specific information and a copy of the Arts Review was requested, however no response had been given.
· Changes had been implemented, with one member of box office staff at the desk between 10am and 2:30pm. If there was a show on, the box office would open for 1 or 2 hours in the evening, however, this had not been publicised.
· Concern over the location change of the telephone service and the long length of waiting times to speak to customer services.
· She had stated that the Cellar Bar had not been open since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
· She highlighted that voluntary groups had not been made aware of the nature of the Arts Review. The only information given out regarding the results of the Arts Review, had been at meetings of the Council in August and September 2021.
· Further correspondence had been sent to the Chief Executive relating to the transparency of the way the Arts Review had been carried out and the changes implemented, where a response from the Chief Executive was sent.
Andy Pelling made the following points in relation to agenda item 7, Refurbishment of Deepings Leisure Centre – results of Community Consultation:
· That he was a resident of Market Deeping and his family had used Deepings Leisure Centre.
· He had been a Parish Councillor for 12 years and was currently part of the Neighbourhood Plan Group and Chairman of the Deeping Business Community and an organiser of the Deepings Directory.
· He highlighted that the shorter, community-led consultation had proved to be more valuable and had more respondents.
· That the community felt that the official consultation pre-determined their opinions by what had been appointed by the architect. This was why a community-led consultation was held.
· That both surveys show that the community strongly favours retaining the learner pool and the café.
· That the main sports hall could be able to be used for alternative purposes, events such as concerts, weddings, business expositions, large meetings, theatre productions etc. South Kesteven could possibly hold one of their Council meetings in the Deepings.
· That possible further changes could be made: Acoustic panels on the walls, simple suspended lighting rig, a ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Nikki Manterfield and Councillor Judy Smith.
Councillor Helen Crawford substituted for Councillor Judy Smith, for this meeting only.
Councillor Gloria Johnson substituted for Councillor Nikki Manterfield, for this meeting only.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
Councillor Phil Dilks declared that he lived in Deepings St James and that he and his family had been former members and occasional users of the Deepings Leisure Centre for over 40 years. It was highlighted that the Deepings Leisure Centre was also in the Ward that he represented as a Parish, District and County Councillor.
Councillor Ashley Baxter declared that he lived in Deepings St James Ward, represented the Deepings and would be a user of the Deepings Leisure Centre when it reopened. It was further noted that members of his family were members of Deepings Swimming Club.
It was proposed, seconded, and AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2022 be confirmed as a correct record.
To consider actions agreed at the meeting held on 1 February 2022.
The Chairman reported that for the action relating to ‘Merits of a Council-run Deeping Market’ there would be no further discussion at the moment, but this item would be re-visited in the future.
The Director for Growth and Culture highlighted that an update on the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ would be brought back to the Committee to outline how funding had been allocated.
A Councillor requested that a report be provided on the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ in relation to ‘Bourne in Lights’, including a breakdown of how the money was spent.
The Leader of the Council reminded the Committee that local Town and Parish Councils should be consulted and play a leading role in identifying ways in which the funding could be utilised.
He also clarified that the Council had been encouraging community groups, parishes and towns in recently published editions of SKToday’ and on social media to send details of their events to be collated and produced into a special version of the document.
To provide Members of the Committee with an update on progress to date in relation to the implementation of the arts review and future work to be undertaken.
The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy presented the report which outlined progress made in implementing the findings of the independent Arts Review carried out by the Council.
Further to recommendations made by the Committee on 8 September 2021 and at a subsequent meeting of Cabinet, a full restructure of the team had now been carried out, following a robust consultation process with individuals affected.
The consultation attracted a high level of engagement across the team, and some changes were made to the final structure which had enabled the service to operate more efficiently and provide a better service. The successful conclusion of the restructure had also allowed the service to recruit two key positions. It was reported that the telephone booking service had been enhanced by transferring it to the Council’s Customer Service Team and that a review of the opening hours had included the retention of a face-to-face booking service.
The report detailed the further ongoing work over the next 12 months, as detailed within the recommendations, and further reports would be presented to the Committee at the appropriate time.
The following queries were raised in relation to the report:
· Whether the staffing restructure had been concluded and if all staff were now in place.
· Clarification over Stamford Arts Centre working more efficiently and being a better service.
· Whether the telephone service was more enhanced, contrary to the comments raised earlier in the meeting by the public speaker.
· If the Council had lost more staff than they had expected to lose.
· The figures relating to the reduction of staff and the savings due to staff redundancies.
· Whether staff had been consulted on how the new structure was working for them.
· Whether any more public feedback had been received in terms of how the box office and telephone line were working.
· How the team were being compensated for the additional work and responsibilities due to the merging of jobs.
· Contingencies in place to cover staff taking holidays.
· What the Council were doing to ensure staff were feeling valued, supported, and having their views listened to.
The Assistant Director for Culture and Leisure confirmed that the staffing restructure had been concluded, however there were still vacancies in the process of being recruited to.
The Chairman noted that some of the questions asked had been answered within the report.
The Assistant Director for Culture and Leisure reported that, in relation to redundancies across the service, every staff member had been consulted, with alternative employment having been offered within the Arts Centres and wider Council services. Other administrative roles suitable for certain employees were also offered, however, they had personally chosen not to pursue them.
It was highlighted that the Council was working hard with the team to ensure they had a voice and that they were listened to. There had been a previous problem within the arts service relating to the lack of a formal structure however, one-to-ones, appraisals and regular team meetings were now in place.
It was confirmed ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
To consider the following documents in respect of the proposed refurbishment of the Deepings Leisure Centre and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the final scheme:
- Report and Appendices 1-6 setting out the results of the community consultation carried out on behalf of the Council by Athene Communications Ltd
- Report setting out the results of an additional community-led consultation
The Cabinet Member for Leisure presented the report which outlined the results of the Council’s community consultation facilitated by Athene Communications Ltd.
The Assistant Director for Culture and Leisure presented a summary of the results received to the consultation, which was carried out on behalf of the Council over a four-week period. The consultation had been promoted within a 20 minutes’ drive time of the existing centre via posters, newsletters, social media, the Council’s website, and media adverts.
A good response rate to the survey had been achieved with 737 respondents, 636 responding online and 101 returning paper forms. The Council also complemented the survey with a webinar, where 50 people were in attendance to ask questions to a panel.
A summary of the responses was set out in the report, with full responses outlined in the appendices.
During the period of community consultation, to ensure that all options had been thoroughly investigated, the Council commissioned Paul Weston, Caston Cost Consultants and SLC to assess the impact of the retention of the learner pool. This was referred to in the report as Option D.
Councillor Ashley Baxter presented results from an additional community-led consultation which had been carried out by residents of the Deepings.
The additional community-led consultation consisted of a ‘survey monkey’ questionnaire where questions had been asked in more depth and about all of the facilities people may wish to use at the centre. Councillor Baxter provided a summary of the responses to each question, highlighting that the community-led consultation received a higher turnout of 831 respondents.
Queries were raised as to why maintenance costs had been omitted from the report, why the staffing costs were so high and why there had been no reference to potential income from an earlier reopening.
The following questions were asked, or comments were made during discussion:
· Why had only three questions been asked as part of the Council’s consultation?
· Why had a question regarding the learner pool not been asked within the consultation?
· Within the alternative community-led consultation, out of 831 responses, 700 respondents (86.2%) wanted to keep the learner pool.
· Why had there been an increase in operating costs and staffing costs?
· Why had the progress been slow on the developments relating to the lease?
One Member highlighted that the community-led survey had received more responses and was cheaper.
It was suggested that the Council should explore all possible carbon neutral and energy efficient actions as a result of the declared climate emergency in respect of the proposed refurbishments.
A query was raised on the legal position and the Service Level Agreement between the Council and the School.
It was noted that an 80-station gym would not be necessary.
It was confirmed that the Service Level Agreement required was between the Anthem Trust (the school), the Department of Education and the Council. Progress could not be made until the Service Level Agreement had been completed.
The Cabinet Member for Leisure concluded the report by thanking the Assistant Director of Culture ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for 2021 – 2022.
Members requested that the following item be added to the Work Programme for the next meeting in June 2022:
· Progress update on Grantham Museum
· Arts review and national portfolio funding update
· Update on Welcome Back Fund
Any other business which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances decides is urgent
The Chairman highlighted that the Deepings Literacy Festival would be taking place at the end of April and tickets were still available.
In conjunction with this, the Arts pop-up of Stamford was due to take place on the 23 and 24 April.
Close of meeting
The Chairman closed the meeting at 12:08.