Derbyshire Dales councillors have unanimously approved the specification for the service provider that will manage as a package the district’s four leisure centres in a year’s time.
A meeting last Thursday (22 June) heard that many elements of the current leisure centres operation will be protected in an outsourcing contract recommended to run for 10 years with a five year extension option.
- The debate can be viewed on our YouTube channel (see below)
A procurement process will begin soon and the specification will seek to protect areas such as current concessionary and discount schemes, opening hours, school swimming lessons, pitch bookings at Wirksworth and the use of the leisure centres for elections, Ashbourne Shrovetide and civil emergencies.
The specification document also sets out recommended pricing policies and the position of existing club and user group bookings in the contract, which is targeted to start on 1 June next year.
Last week’s council decision follows several months of consultation with leisure centre users, including user group meetings and an online survey, plus staff feedback and Member workshops.
Ashbourne Leisure Centre, Bakewell Swimming Pool, Arc Leisure Matlock and Wirksworth Leisure Centre currently are subsidised by local Council Tax payers to the tune of around £1.3-million a year.
Although efficiency savings of more than £110,000 had already been achieved as part of a review process, councillors agreed at the end of last year that the best way of safeguarding the future of this discretionary service was to outsource the running of the four centres. The District Council will retain ownership of the leisure centre buildings after the new service provider takes over.
The report [PDF 1MB] to last week’s meeting stressed that outsourcing the management of the four centres is designed to further improve the leisure and wellbeing offering in the Derbyshire Dales, as well as helping to reduce financial pressures.
View the debate below: