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Added Value in Leisure Outsourcing
Trowers Public Insight

Added Value in Leisure Outsourcing

Changes to the procurement regime brought in by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 are having a big impact on the delivery of leisure facilities by local authorities.

Whereas previously, leisure contracts benefited from the "Part B" exemption from the regime, Councils are now required to undertake full procurements. Increasing numbers of Councils are using Competitive Dialogue to secure operators for their leisure facilities, using the competitive tension in the procurement process to extract additional value from the prospective providers.

In recent projects, we have seen the following being requested by Councils in their specifications and/or offered by bidders in their method statements to add value to existing leisure provision:

  • Employment / Apprenticeship Programmes – A well-developed programme for training young people, work experience and/or supporting NEETs can help Councils in meeting policy objectives beyond its leisure portfolio. Focusing on local employment will also assist Councils in reducing council tax benefits.
  • Public Health – Offering programmes to target public health issues (e.g. obesity, smoking) as well as working with other health campaigns (e.g. providing space for pop-up sexual health clinics or blood donation sessions) may assist Councils in maintaining services that are being cut elsewhere.
  • Local supply chain – Committing to local suppliers for goods (e.g. food and drink) and services (e.g. cleaners) will enhance local Business Rates and support the local economy.
  • Children's Activities – Offering programmes to parents with young children may assist Councils to offset cuts to Children's Centres.
  • Education through sport – Offering education programmes (e.g. Maths Through Sport) can assist schools and Councils in improving attainment in children. It can also provide a source of revenue if sold to academies and independent schools.
  • Provision for the elderly – Providing programmes for retired individuals can assist Councils that are having to make cuts to adult social care budgets.
  • Community cohesion – Delivering increases in participation by target groups can help Councils achieve their targets for social integration between communities and age groups.
  • Partners and stakeholders – Added value can be demonstrated through engagement with clubs, charities and educational institutions in the local area.
  • Sports Development – Adopting and enhancing a Council's sports development team can allow a joined up approach to sports development that is aligned with centre management.
  • Capital investment – All recent bids have included a measure of capital investment, usually to develop facilities to increase revenue generation and/or footfall (the installation of modern fitness suites in particular).
  • Marketing – Bidder's marketing plans are central to generating the additional footfall that is necessary for the sustainability of the facilities. A well-planned marketing strategy complete with social media presence will extract added value from participating bidders.
  • Public Realm – Leisure facilities constitute significant public spaces. Plans to enhance these and make them welcoming to the wider community and not just to people doing sporting activities (e.g. with Wi-Fi access and community events) will add value to the leisure offering.

For further information contact Amardeep Gill or Louis Sebastian.

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