Councillor J M Palmer, Executive Councillor for Partnership and Well-Being to present on One Leisure.
(Presentation: 10 Minutes
Questions: 10 Minutes).
Councillor J Palmer, Executive Councillor for Partnership and Well-Being, addressed the Council on Active Lifestyles and One Leisure. A copy of Councillor Palmer’s PowerPoint presentation is appended in the Minute Book.
Members noted that despite the provision of Leisure Services not being a statutory function, in conjunction with the Council’s Corporate Plan of aiming to support people to improve their health and well-being and the Annual Governance Statement, Leisure and Health had contributed to supporting these areas through the Active Lifestyles Team and five Leisure Centres.
Members were apprised with attendance at activities delivered by Active Lifestyles, forecasting to increase to over 55k in 2018/19 against a budget of £192k and reduction in cost of delivering the service by £82k that was expected to reduce further in 2019/20. This was largely attributable to the successes of £1.5m of grant funding to support the service over the past four years. Looking ahead, Councillor Palmer reported upon various proposals to introduce a concessionary pricing scheme for residents on particular benefits or certain degenerative health conditions, expanding the number of classes to increase average attendance and extension to the Exercise Referral Scheme.
In reporting upon One Leisure, it was noted that it delivered nearly 2.25m attendances across the various activities and key to ensuring its continued success is developing a change in approach, through a staffing structure review, reviewing processes and performance management, as well as maximising opportunities for business development to maintain the memberships and compete with the ever increasing private sector provision.
Arising from a question from Councillor Dr N Johnson on the exercise referral scheme and opportunities to work with the Team focussing on the younger age bracket, Councillor Palmer encouraged Councillor Johnson to provide further detail for investigation after the meeting.
Following a question from Councillor T D Sanderson and Councillor D A Giles on the consultant’s report on One Leisure and confidence in achieving the predicted income as identified in the budget, Councillor Palmer explained that the recommendations would be implemented through the implementation of an improvement plan, change in culture and a performance management process to ensure that these targets were achieved.
Councillor Ms S Smith raised a question in relation to a predicted drop in attendances of disabled people from the previous year of over 400, whereby Councillor Palmer undertook to provide a full response after the meeting.
Following praise for Councillor Palmer, Councillor J P Morris questioned how many Members of the Council were One Leisure members, whereby it was reported that 12 out of 52 held memberships and it was explained that the development of One Leisure Champions were starting to report on customer experiences and identify any issues to maintain the levels of memberships at One Leisure.
In relation to a question from Councillor Ms A Diaz on the development of activities to encourage younger people to participate, Councillor Palmer referred back to his summary of provision provided by Active Lifestyles but welcomed opportunities to develop this area further.
Councillor T D Alban commended Councillor Palmer and the Team for their proactive and innovative approach to One Leisure and open space provision, such as their extension of charging for courts from 16 to 18 years old.
Following a question from Councillor Dr Johnson on pressures from the private sector in direct competition, Councillor Palmer explained that the provision of fitness instructors and ability to retain them was being addressed through a change in approach in the gyms to improve the customer experience.
Councillor Palmer undertook to investigate the availability of public swimming versus private bookings following concerns raised by Councillor D J Wells in relation to availability and restrictions on usage.