North Kesteven District Council has selected preferred partners to manage its leisure services following a competitive procurement process.
In a statement released by sport and leisure contract consultants, SLC, the preferred partners, all of which are not-for-profit or trust organisations for three lots.
Lot 1: Sport and Physical Activity – Greenwich Leisure Ltd (which currently manages the county’s library service.)
Lot 2: Whisby Natural World Centre – Lincs Inspire
Lot 3: Countryside service – Hill Holt Wood (which currently runs the district’s countryside ranger, anti-littering, dog fouling and flytipping service).
The council has undertaken a £7 million investment programme at Sleaford Leisure Centre and ONE NK in recent years. The council states this has resulted in a significant increase in visits from 492,399 prior to investment to 739,468 in 2016/17.
To target the services the council has developed a Sport and Physical Activity Strategy which will be delivered by GLL (replacing current contract holder 1Life) as part of the contract with a mission of: “Inspiring Everyone to be More Active More Often”.
The new contract will also see further investment at the Station Fitness facility in East Road, Sleaford and an enhanced outreach service to deliver the sport and physical activities directly in local communities aimed at hard to reach groups.
The procurement which was supported by specialist consultants SLC, will result in the council gaining a significant return on its investment with the combined savings of over £7.5 million over the next 10 years. Whereas the services were previously subsidised, they will now yield an overall surplus to the council which is faced with making major cuts to its budget due to reduced government grants.
David Rushton, Managing Consultant at SLC said: “We believe this procurement demonstrates how what is already a good service can be transformed and made sustainable. The division of facilities and services into Lots has ensured that the best placed partners have been chosen for specific services. The result shows that it is possible to focus on quality and outcomes whilst delivering transformational savings to the council. We are very proud of this project and are delighted for our client.”
Karen Bradford, Deputy Chief Executive at North Kesteven District Council said: “The procurement will result in the council securing its excellent and innovative leisure services for the next decade. The service will no longer require a subsidy which reflects sound investment decisions by the council to increase usage and to meet customer expectations over the last two to three years. We are also looking forward to working with our new partners who as not-for-profit organisations who will be focused on improving health and wellbeing opportunities for North Kesteven residents.”
The new 10-year contracts will commence on April 1, 2018.
NKDC is yet to decide upon a further aspect of its leisure services. It will be seeking to appoint a contractor for its arts services, including ArtsNK and the National Centre for Craft and Design in time for April or as soon as possible after that date.