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Top 10 issues in leisure contracts
Trowers Public Insight

Top 10 issues in leisure contracts

Leisure provision is a high profile area of public sector service delivery and so negotiating an appropriate contract with the right partner is essential.

The following are ten key considerations when embarking on a leisure procurement:

  1. Scope - What facilities and services are to be included in the contract? Will it extend beyond leisure to include other opportunities (e.g. libraries or cultural assets)?
  2. EU Procurement – under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (now in force), leisure services are no longer exempt from the full procurement regime and strict procedures apply.
  3. Timing – Careful and long term planning of any leisure procurement is key to successfully achieving your objectives. Start with where you want to be (and when) and work backwards.
  4. Income – if the facilities are expected to generate profits, how can these be apportioned so that the public sector/local community benefits while maintain commercial appeal?
  5. Funding improvements – explore all possible funding options including direct capital funding, prudential borrowing ("invest to save") and investment from private sector partners.
  6. Staff – consider what staff will transfer to a new provider under TUPE and how pensions, restructuring and redundancy costs will be apportioned. Plan for TUPE consultations.
  7. Surveys - understand the status of your leisure estate by undertaking surveys.  This will assist in agreeing a position on latent defects.
  8. Pricing – How much control is required over prices charged to the public? Are particular groups to receive concessions? How will such control affect commercial viability?
  9. Utilities – with control of facilities passing to a service provider, how should the consumption and price risks be apportioned?
  10. Specification – developing a sustainable specification to enhance local leisure provision without gold-plating the requirements will be key to the success of the arrangement.

For more information on leisure procurement contact Amardeep Gill.

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