CDC awards contract for leisure and cultural services

"From the customers' point of view there will be very little change at the outset and I am sure they will be reassured when they see the usual faces greeting them when they visit the facilities.”
David Bibby, Managing Director of SLM

Cotswold District Council’s Cabinet has agreed to award a contract to Sports Leisure Management (SLM) to take over the running of leisure and cultural services by the anticipated time of July 2013.

Under the terms of a 10-year agreement, SLM will be responsible for delivering and managing services in the Cotswold leisure centres at Cirencester, Chipping Campden and Bourton on the Water, and cultural services at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester and a resource centre in Northleach. However, responsibility for the ‘dual use’ Cotswold leisure facilities which are based at Farmors School, Fairford and Sir William Romney’s School, Tetbury will be transferred to the schools later this summer.

Staff currently employed by the Council would transfer to SLM or to Farmor's and Sir William Romney schools under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. This change should appear quite seamless to the public as they will continue to see the same people when they walk through the doors.

The Cabinet noted that, even though the leisure and cultural services in the district are extremely well run, they are currently losing a combined total of almost £612,080 each year.

By bringing in an external provider, to manage and deliver these services, and handing the facilities at Fairford and Tetbury to the schools, the Council will be able to make savings of £282,000 per year.

The Council has already assured the public that there will be no price increases for both these services over the next three years and a contract with SLM will also guard against any future significant price increases or reduction in opening hours.

Commenting on the decision to name SLM as the preferred bidder, Cllr Barry Gibbs, the Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said:
“We would like to thank the staff involved for their patience while we conducted the bid process and evaluated whether to transfer these functions. It is to their credit that they have continued to deliver a first class service during this period of uncertainty, and this demonstrates their professionalism and admirable work ethic.

“We have been most impressed by SLM's ability and track record at other centres which they manage, and believe that they will continue to provide the public with the quality, affordable leisure and museum services that they enjoy at present. Awarding a contract to an external provider is becoming common practice across many local authorities and we have gained assurances that it will reduce the cost of these services without detriment to their current high standards. While we are confident that SLM will do a good job, the public can rest assured that the Council will retain ownership of the buildings and will manage the contract with SLM closely.

"The bids we have received from both schools show the commitment to their respective communities which, we believe, will benefit from this local approach to providing sport and leisure facilities. "

David Bibby, Managing Director of SLM added:
“We were very pleased when CDC chose our company as the preferred bidder for these excellent services. As one of the leading UK providers of sports and leisure facilities we are well placed to make the most of this opportunity and will actually enhance rather than just maintain the customer experience. We already have contracts with 29 Local authorities and run 80 facilities, including those at nearby Stroud and Stratford-upon-Avon, so we are very well versed in this type of arrangement. From the customers’ point of view there will be very little change at the outset and I am sure they will be reassured when they see the usual faces greeting them when they visit the facilities.”

Posted: 11/05/2013 13:07:31

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