Sport and leisure centre management in Powys has entered a new era with not-for-profit leisure operator, Freedom Leisure, assuming responsibility for the county’s facilities.
The key challenges to be addressed to transform and ultimately sustain a leisure service are to:
The need to explore alternative management arrangements for these facilities is in response to the significant financial pressure we face over the coming years.
Our leisure facilities play an important role in delivering participation in sport and physical activity for the health and wellbeing of our residents and communities.
By outsourcing leisure services it will enable a more flexible, commercial approach to service delivery via an independent organisation rather than as part of a larger Local Authority service. The new organisation will still be required to meet various corporate objectives and make financial savings, however the method by which it achieves this will be through creativity and transformation.
Implementation Design & Preparation
The first phase commenced in December 2013 which involved detailed planning of the implementation of the project. The consideration of all elements that will need to be covered in a practical order is essential to the successful creation and implementation of the new organisation. Elements within this phase include:
· A stakeholder strategy & communication plan
· TUPE notification to staff
· Actuary Reports (pensions)
· Project governance
· Agreement of resources (people/funding)
· Appointing key roles (Independent Chair, Chief Executive)
· Define structure & name
· Conclude acquisition/procurement route
** Although the decision has been taken to now follow a procurement route, much of the design and preparation is still valid.
17 June 2014 – Report to Cabinet
It was agreed that a procurement process would be followed to find a suitable leisure operator to manage and deliver Powys leisure services.
July 2014 – Soft Market Testing
An exercise will be carried out to determine the level of interest from leisure operators to manage the Powys Leisure Service.
Procurement & Contract Development
This phase began in March 2014 to start preparing the necessary documents for the contract development. Leases, schedules, a service specification and Service Level Agreements as well as agreeing responsibilities for repairs and maintenance, compiling an asset registry and inventory and completing conveyancing tasks will need to be undertaken.
All documents will be finalised, agreed and signed off prior to the procurement process which will start in November 2014. Potential leisure operators will be asked to complete a ‘Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire’ to assess their suitability to manage and deliver Powys leisure services. By answering qualifying questions it is likely that between three and five suppliers will continue through the procurement process. A considerable amount of discussion will take place between the potential suppliers and the Council to finalise an agreeable contract.
The contract will be awarded in April 2015 and the transfer of leisure services will happen shortly afterwards.
Mobilisation, Transition & Operation
Mobilisation will commence in Spring 2015 and will follow on from the contract award to the successful leisure operator. This will be dependent on all phases meeting set timescales, and necessary work being completed as per the project plan.
This will include business systems development and agreement, re-branding, staff training, facilities, services and staff transferred, third party funding passed through and initial savings realised.
Other dependent elements will run in parallel within the project and include a decision on any building rationalisation, schools commissioning and funding agreed.