The Panel received a verbal update regarding
the Swimming Pool and Leisure Facilities Contract Task Group from
the Communities Manager.
The officer introduced the verbal update with
an overview which included:
that recommendations from the final report of the Swimming Pool and
Leisure Facilities Contract Task Group had been in place since
approval by Cabinet in November 2016;
that six-monthly updates had been brought to the Performance
Monitoring Panel, which reported on:
monitoring of the Leisure Contract which had ensured improved
cleanliness and maintenance;
regular site inspections and monthly contract monitoring meetings
that had taken place; and
that a competitive tender process took place in 2018 and a new
leisure provider (Parkwood Leisure) and leisure contract had been
in place since March 2019. The contract included clear
specifications on cleanliness, maintenance and staffing levels and
had robust sanctions and penalties in place.
The officer outlined the journey the industry
had taken as a result of the pandemic. This had included:
- that all facilities had closed from
20 March 2020;
- gym and fitness facilities had
reopened on 25 July 2020;
- lane swimming had commenced on 1
- further restrictions had been
imposed in November 2020;
- the national Covid tiered system had been in place from 2
- a third national lockdown had been
in place from 30 December 2020;
- leisure facilities had reopened on
12 April 2021, some restrictions had still been in place;
- full reopening followed on 19 July
- the Council had been supported to
sum of £203,045 through the National Leisure Recovery Fund
The officer updated the Panel on Q1 and Q2
- Q1 participation figures commenced
from reopening on 12 April 2021 and had shown an increase by 152%
to September 2021;
- memberships had increased by 43%
from May to September 2021. Targets had been met/exceeded but had
not yet reached pre-pandemic levels;
- gym classes and sports activities
had returned; participation in gym activities had reduced but this
had previously shown an increase whilst other activities had not
been available, and had since rebalanced;
- pool usage had increased and school
swimming sessions had returned;
- increased activity had occurred at
the Peele Leisure Centre since schools had returned in
- monitoring of health and safety
compliance had taken place;
- inspections had taken place and
observations had included:
- that staff had been welcoming,
friendly and knowledgeable;
- high standards of cleanliness had
- a tidy and acceptable appearance had
been noted; and
- Customer feedback had been reviewed
and comments had been shared.
The next steps included:
- that the contract be monitored and
- continued financial assistance to
the provision of leisure services. The NLRF funding had continued
to support recovery but pre-pandemic attendance levels had not yet
been achieved; and
- through the partnership and funding,
opportunities be sought to improve physical and mental health which
had been given greater prominence since the pandemic.
Members thanked the officer for the update and
made the following comments:
- How often and by whom had customer
feedback been monitored and reviewed?
- Officers replied that weekly reviews
had taken place during a challenging contractual period; this had
moved to monthly reviews when significant improvements had been
achieved. All comments had been tracked and action monitored.
Negative reviews had been referred to the contractor and spot-check
inspections by the council could be triggered. Feedback had been
encouraged at site: verbally; through feedback forms; email; and
social media channels. Inspections had been completed by a senior
officer who had been accompanied by relevant in-house experts as
- Members stated that a lot had
changed since the contract had commenced. The council had needed to
support the company financially. What was the future of leisure
provision in South Holland and what could be learned from the new
- Officers replied that evidence
gathering and positive conversations had taken place before the
pandemic regarding future options. The recovery period had
concentrated on increasing attendance and confidence. The priority
for future leisure and culture projects had been to work with the
new strategic partnership team so that learning could be
- The Chairman stated that
the authority had a responsibility to make a provision to improve
the health and wellbeing of residents and it had been essential
that the future of the provision be known. The Assistant Director
– Leisure and Culture was requested to attend the next
meeting to update the Panel on progress made.
- The Assistant Director –
Leisure and Culture replied that leisure and culture had been one
of the ten top priorities across the partnership.
- Members stated that the café
bar at the Castle Complex had remained closed and had been missed
by the community. Would this be reopened?
- Officers replied that the previous
catering offer had not been viable due to low usage. Officers were
working with key users to establish alternatives such as hot and
cold vending machines. Alternative arrangements had been discussed
with the Bowls Club for pre-match meals. A contract variation would
be needed if the service was to be permanently withdrawn.
- Members asked whether the percentage
capacity for the two Spalding sites had been known.
- Officers confirmed that the
information would be shared.
- Members stated that there had been a
lack of promotion and this had become a common theme. A particular
concern had been expressed for the Long Sutton Peele site where
promotion had not been evident despite usage not being at capacity.
Who had the responsibility for promotion, and could the Long Sutton
usage figures be shared?
- The responsibility for
promotion had been with the contractor and this had been included
in the contract. Partnership working with the council and sharing
of intelligence had taken place. The Peele usage figures would be
- Members stated that the contractor
needed to adhere to the contract regarding catering and
- The Chairman stated that the
marketing element of the contract needed to be reviewed. The
company needed to use their best endeavours to maximise the use of
the premises, which included promotion.
- Members asked for the length of
contract and whether a break or renewal clause had existed.
- Officers confirmed the contract had
been for five years, and there was a two-year extension option.
Break clauses had also existed.
- Members stated that the contract
needed to be reviewed urgently and sought clarification of the
- The Assistant Director –
Leisure and Culture confirmed that the responsibility had been
within his team and the Communities Manager would have dealt with
enforcement issues. Meetings had been arranged with the contractor
and were to take place in due course. Offers and promotions had
taken place and wider promotion for the New Year and Spring had
been planned which encouraged new memberships.
- The Chairman requested written
reports for future updates.
That the comments from the Panel be noted and referred to
relevant officers; and
That a further update be provided in 6 months’ time,
and that all future updates be provided as written reports.