To obtain approval to proceed with the implementation of the proposed structure to accompany revised operations (report of the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities which sought approval to proceed with the implementation of the proposed structure to accompany revised operations.
The report was presented by the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities who made the following points:
The following points were raised by members:
· That a Scrutiny task group may not be appropriate and that better use could be made of the Centre. Members advised that a steering group should be set up to look at the situation pre-covid and that there would be a need to use local and professional knowledge to assist with the work of the potential steering group.
o The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities reiterated that a Friends of South Holland group would be set up and other experts could be included to show a new path for the Centre.
· Questioning how much consideration had been given to the proposals within the report and that the Council should liaise with other local authorities on the running of a successful theatre.
· Reiterating that the future of the South Holland Centre would be in danger if the recommendations set out in the report were not accepted. They also advised that help and advice could be received within the new partnership with Boston Borough and East Lindsey District Councils.
· That live performances were part of the plan, but they would have to be phased in and Arts Council funding was given to help with this. They commented that public consultation made it clear that many Centre users did not want to come back without social distancing in place.
· That the grants that had been received were used to safeguard the building for arts and culture and the report presented to Council had ambitions to expand the programme with a flexible approach. It was hard to ignore the human impact, but hard decisions needed to be made.
· That it was the wrong time for a restructuring of the Centre to take place, and that it should be undertaken at the end of the process, with Centre staff being redeployed to other departments of the Council in the meantime.
· That the new South-East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership would enable the Council to gather information and advice from partners, and help improve the South Holland Centre offering. Members asked whether other authorities had been consulted as part of the preparation of the report.
o The Assistant Director – Communities and Operations responded that a culture and leisure expert had been sought for advice around plans for re-opening and reassured Members that the Council was in constant contact with neighbouring authorities and groups around South Holland; this included national groups.
o The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities also added that the Council had been required to bid for the grant funding that it had received for the Centre and that this had not been given out automatically by the government.
o The Communities Manager responded that booking was available 24/7 online and that the team were currently testing customer feedback on booking. They confirmed that the Box Office would be open prior to and during a performance and tickets could also be bought on the door. Customer feedback would be evaluated at every stage of re-opening and customers would also be surveyed throughout the year.
The appendix relating to this item was attached to the agenda as an exempt item. However, no discussion was required on the exempt appendix and the item was therefore considered in open session.
1) That the update contained within the report in respect of the reopening plans for the South Holland Centre be noted;
2) That the proposed changes to the staffing structure in respect of the South Holland Centre be approved, and that the Executive Director (Strategy & Resource) in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities be authorised to implement the proposed staffing structure and to take any incidental or subsidiary action that may be necessary to enable such implementation.