Agenda item

Financial Support for Leisure Services Contract

To consider the financial support for Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) for the 20/21 Financial Year from April 2020 to November 2020.

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder presented a report on the financial support for the Leisure Services Contract. The Portfolio Holder highlighted the importance of both physical and mental health of residents and the facilities on offer at the provided by the Council’s leisure delivery partner. He emphasised how close this project was to the Council’s heart and how crucial it was to have ongoing sport and leisure facilities available for residents.

 

Members welcomed the proposals and echoed the importance of having leisure facilities available for residents as they were an essential part of the local area. Members acknowledged the challenges faced by GLL and other leisure facilities providers and raised concerns over the government’s treatment of Council’s who outsourced leisure facilities. Members felt that this was a crucial project and that the Council was able to react in this manner due to the prudent financial management of the Council.

 

The Monitoring officer provided Legal advice on the contractual position and updated members.

 

A note was taken that some Members present were users of the facilities at the leisure centre. It was not considered to prevent them from taking part in the decision.

 

The Leader asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That:-

 

(1)   the financial support for GLL from April 2020 to the end of November 2020 up to a maximum £246,274 (in addition to the Management Fee) as shown in the open book accounting report in Appendix 1; such approval and payment to be made on a without prejudice basis and being conditional upon GLL agreeing to implement this by way of the change control procedure under thecontract, be approved;

 

(2)   authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services in conjunction with the Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Committee Services, Lead Specialist for Finance and the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services to undertake and agree the change control procedures as set out in the contract in order to make the necessarypayments.

 

(3)   theCouncil be approved to receive moniesfrom the National LeisureRecovery Fund toa value£174,237 andto makepayment ofthis moneyto GLLfor support from1 Decemberto 31 March 2021,as noted inthe reportbelow.

 

(4)   authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services in conjunction with the Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Committee Services, Lead Specialist for Finance and the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services to agree the necessary funding agreements and make the necessary payments toGLL.

 

(5)   Council be requested to approve a virement of £174,237 to increase the Leisure Services grants receivable budget and to increase the Paymentto Leisure services partner budget.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The financial support for leisure services links to the Council priorities for For health and the environment, improve wellbeing by:

·       supporting young people to have a greatervoice;

·       using our distinctive environment to create opportunities forall;

·       working with communities to reduce isolation andloneliness;

·       improving access to citizen driventechnology;

·       helping people to beindependent; and

·       developing town center’s which are attractive and accessible for living, working, culture andleisure

 

Alternative Options

 

The Council to not support GLL financially for losses in the 20/21 Financial Year. This will certainly lead to reduction in service and will impact on public perception. This is not a recommended route.

 

The Council could terminate GLL’s contract and bring the service back in house. However, it could potentially face legal action and a claim for lost surplus income and it is likely that running an in-house service will be more costly for the Council. This is not a recommended route.

 

The Council could create a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC). This will come with a cost and may be viewed by members as being similar to in-house, resultingin increased pensioncosts. Theleisure contractingmarket isin the process of getting back on its feet. Its main focus is assisting local authorities where previous relationshipshave failed (e.g. where trusts have failed). Where procurement process are progressing, these are based on an open book approach for the next 18 to 24 months, where Councils are underwriting the additional cost of the service. The Council has limited expertise to manage the leisure facilities in- house or within a LATC and would need to recruit into these positions. This option does not provide sufficient benefit and is not a recommended route.