Agenda item

Swimming Pool and Leisure Facilities Task Group update

To provide members with an update on the Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre (report of the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).


Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which provided members with an update on the Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre.


Following the approval of the recommendations of the Swimming Pool and Leisure Facilities Contract Task Group, by the Cabinet in November 2016, six monthly progress updates had been provided to the Panel, with the last update on 11 September 2019 which covered the first six months of the new contract with Parkwood Leisure.


As a result of Government instruction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the facilities closed to the public on 20 March 2020 and remained closed until approval to re-open was granted from 25 July 2020.  Some activities were, and remained, restricted but a phased approach to re-opening had been carried out in the three months since, and details of this were included within the report, along with how the facilities had adapted to comply with Covid requirements.


The report provided information on participation at the facilities pre-Covid, which showed increased participation levels and a continued increase in total membership.  It also laid out how the effects of the pandemic had been addressed, both during lockdown and post lockdown.


Members were advised that the report had been submitted prior to the second lockdown, and the facilities were once again closed from 5 November 2020 as a result of this.


The Panel considered the report, and the following issues were raised:


·         Members commented that it was very encouraging to receive a report which showed much improved results prior to the lockdown caused by the pandemic, and that since re-opening, there was renewed interest in attendance again.  Over the years there had been many difficult reports, but the new contractor appeared to have turned the situation around and this could be seen through the improved results within the report.


·         At 1.7.4 of the report, it was stated that following the resumption of Indoor Bowls on 7 September 2020, the Indoor Bowls National Governing Body guidance had stated that league matches would not recommence until January 2021.  However, it was clarified that the league had actually re-started on 5 October 2020, although this had now paused due to the second lockdown.


·         Members commented that the café had not operated since the start of the second lockdown.

  • Officers advised that there had been no formal notification of this, and that the Council were working with Parkwood and the contractor of the café. 


·         In line with the terms of the contract, the Council had had to pay out a substantial amount of money to keep the leisure facilities running during the period of lockdown.  Members commented that whilst it was good to see the positive results, there would need to be close scrutiny going forward. 


·         The report stated that on average, 3-5 actions came out of the inspections that were usually minor points around housekeeping, or maintenance issues.  Members asked whether there were any issues that were outstanding, or were they dealt with promptly?  Had there been any requirement for the Council to levy a penalty against the contractor for an issue not being dealt with?

  • Officers advised that during an inspection, the officer from the Council was accompanied by a duty manager from Parkwood and if any issues were raised, the majority of them could be rectified at the time.  If they could not, a list of actions were rolled over to the next inspection and these were then checked to ensure they had been dealt with. No penalties have been incurred.


·         Members asked whether usage figures were available for the outgoing contractor so that comparison could be made with the data from Parkwood.

  • Figures from the previous year could be given however, Parkwood measured their usage differently to the previous contractor and the figures would not give a direct comparison. Improvement in Parkwood’s performance could be seen by comparing month on month from the start of the contract.  It had been hoped to compare month to month of the current and previous year however the issues caused as a result of the pandemic did not make this straightforward.

·         Members requested that in the next six-monthly report, an explanation be provided around how each contractor’s ways of measuring performance differed, and that any large anomalies that could affect figures be highlighted.  The Panel needed to compare performance from one year to the next.


·         Had the new leisure contractor undertaken any detailed user surveys and could these be shared with the Panel?

  • Part of the agreement between the Council and Parkwood had been that annual user surveys would be undertaken.  This had not been possible in the current year due to the Covid pandemic however, going forward, these would be undertaken annually and the results shared with the Panel.


·         Members asked whether it was still possible for users of the facilities to provide comments and feedback, and what happened to this feedback?

  • Officers advised that any verbal comments were added to a comments book, that there were feedback forms for users to complete, and there was the opportunity to provide feedback via social media.  All comments were reported back in the monthly contract reports.




That the report be noted.

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