A strategic approach
In 2015, SLC were appointed by North Kesteven District Council to produce a Sport and Physical Activity Strategy in preparation for the re-procurement of its leisure portfolio in 2018. This also included a review of the current contract which included leisure centres, the arts service, countryside services and Whisby Natural World Centre.
The Sport and Physical Activity Strategy engaged a variety of stakeholders including schools, Lincolnshire County Council and the local Clinical Commissioning Groups. The result was a set of clear priorities supported by bespoke performance indicators which could be embedded in the new leisure contract.
SLC also supported the Council in developing a new Arts Strategy for its significant arts portfolio which includes the National Centre of Craft and Design.
Developing a clear procurement strategy
Having invested in its portfolio, North Kesteven District Council worked with SLC to develop a procurement strategy to maximise the financial and social return from its services. This involved developing a clear understanding of affordability and optimum scope of the new contract.
From this the Council took the decision to let the existing all-encompassing contract through 4 Lots:
1. Sport and Physical Activity
2. Whisby Natural World Centre
3. Countryside Service
4. Arts Service.
SLC provided the Council with procurement support including market engagement, contract documentation and managing bidder clarifications.
The result was a number of high quality bids ultimately resulting in the best placed operator for each Lot. The Sport and Physical Activity services are managed by GLL, Whisby Natural World Centre and the Arts Services by Lincs Inspire, a local trust and the Countryside Service by Hill Holt Wood a local social enterprise.
The Council will make transformational contract savings of over £7.5 million over 10 years with the leisure facilities moving from subsidy to surplus.
The Sport and PA Strategy, produced by SLC, was the key strategic document to enable the realignment of the new sports and culture contract. The options appraisal for the National Centre and reorganisation of the previous contract into 4 Lots were sensitive and emotive projects which were handled extremely professionally.
The team’s knowledge on not only procuring a new leisure service, but the key documents required to get the right outcomes, is fantastic. In terms of the savings that the Council has made from the procurement of the leisure contracts, we could not be happier. The cost to the Council for the fees, documentation and support compared to the saving over 10 years is insignificant. The service has been fantastic, from early morning emails to last minute emergency conference calls, I have felt supported throughout the process.
Karen Bradford, Deputy Chief Executive
North Kesteven District Council (April 2018)
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