In 2019 Bristol City Council (BCC) commissioned SLC to undertake a diagnostic review, using Sport England’s Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance (SOPG). This was aimed at securing a sustainable future for the City’s leisure services by 2022 and aligning them with the One Bristol Strategy.
SLC identified need for a refreshed sport and physical activity strategy, a leisure investment strategy, a leisure management options appraisal and a procurement strategy linked to a business case. Key outputs of the SOPG review included the development of detailed briefs for future work packages, a clear timeline / programme and an indicative budget for any external support required.
The Council then undertook a procurement exercise for a specialist leisure consultancy to support with the programme.
SLC were successful in being appointed to deliver the programme in Summer 2019. The first key programme was to secure city-wide buy in from over 30 key stakeholders to a new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy working closely with the third sector, Wesport and Bristol Sports Forum. SLC engaged in developing a clear strategic approach to support the partnership and position it to optimise its collective impact in the future.
This informed the development of a Leisure Investment Strategy where SLC developed detailed feasibility studies for a number of the City’s leisure facilities which needed investment.
SLC also undertook a management options appraisal to support the Council in developing an outline business case for the future of the leisure service in the City. This was supported by a detailed financial model developed in conjunction with the Council’s finance team which explored multiple investment scenarios. SLC then provided support in developing a procurement strategy for the Council to consider linked to its target date of 2022. The outline business case developed provided the Council with a clear, robust evidence base for elected members to consider. The COVID pandemic subsequently delayed the business case, and the Council is working with SLC and its strategic partner Arcadis on a revised programme linked to public consultation.
OUTCOMES AND KEY LEARNING
Using the SOPG as a framework, the Council developed a clear direction of travel with a bespoke set of key deliverables to support a business case. Given the complexity of this wider programme, SLC demonstrated flexibility and adaptability throughout the process, working collaboratively with the City Council. The tools SLC used to inform the original business case have been able to be updated to take account of COVID and ‘reset’ affordability and sustainability. SLC has been retained by the Council to support its procurement of a new leisure management operating partner linked to its Leisure Investment Strategy which is going out to public consultation.
SLC have undertaken an extensive piece of pre procurement work as part of a planned tender exercise of the Council’s main leisure management contract. Including options appraisals, supply and demand analysis, feasibility work and identifying facility investment opportunities, their knowledge and expertise has been invaluable. SLC cover a broad range of disciplines and bring with them extensive experience. Always open to challenge they bring fresh ideas, deliver on time and have been a pleasure to work with.
Guy Fishbourne Sport & Physical Activity Development Manager Bristol City Council
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