In September 2020, SLC was appointed by the ten local authority Chief Executives of Greater Manchester to conduct a review of public leisure services across Greater Manchester and collate recommendations that would satisfy two aims:

  1. To sustain the public leisure infrastructure through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
  2. To maximise the future contribution of public leisure providers to the population health picture.



In the first phase of the review SLC conducted an extensive consultation exercise with over 40 stakeholders across the system within Greater Manchester. Commissioners responsible for leisure, Directors of Public Health and Leisure Operator Partners from each local authority were consulted to identify the challenges and opportunities ahead. In line with the Greater Manchester whole-system approach, consultation also involved strategic leads in the GM Health and Social Care Partnership, 10 GM (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector), GreaterSport, GM Combined Authority and Sport England.

The cross-system conversations and exploratory workshops highlighted the key challenges for the sector and helped to articulate the future vision and direction of travel for public sector leisure in Greater Manchester.



As an aspiring Marmot City Region, the 10 authorities of GM share common strategic objectives to tackle health inequalities. The review explored several opportunities to achieve this through cross-border and cross-system collaboration whilst retaining the local control required to bespoke services to meet local community needs.

The review identified a package of workstreams that will support GM to advance their vision to pivot the public sector leisure towards a greater focus on health and wellbeing. 6 priority workstreams were presented to the Chief Executive Group who approved a further commission driven by the urgent need to save the service and to support the shared population through COVID recovery.

This work developed a set of recommendations codesigned with partners currently which are currently being considered.


The team brought knowledge, great expertise and insight, drawn from years of experience and understanding of this sector. It was also clear that the team were learning, adapting and embedded GM approach and ways of working and thinking as the work developed.

The desire and willingness of the team to both share learning and learn with us and absorb the learning we already have from GM evaluation and experience was refreshing. Many consultants would feel the need and pressure to simply play the role of ‘expert’.

Hayley Lever – Exec Lead GM Moving – CEO GreaterSport