SLC_TANKS_Small The Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy (SLC) in partnership with Trowers & Hamlins LLP and FMG Consulting, hosted a half day Leisure Procurement Think Tank on 21 May 2014 in Birmingham. The sessions were designed to provide a platform for best practice, sharing of lessons learned and promoting the development of more effective partnerships, leisure contracts and outcomes.

Thirteen leading local authorities were represented, a selection of which were planning an options appraisal, had recently procured, or were seeking to procure an operational partner or extend a current contract. Several were seeking to combine major refurbishments or new builds into the procurement.

Also in attendance were three leisure operators, 1 Life, GLL, Places for People Leisure and Slough Community Leisure Trust who were all keen to contribute and better understand key drivers for Councils thus allowing for a two way dialogue as part of the Think Tank.

Duncan Off-Centre Cofely- GDF Suez, a global leading facilities management and utilities company were represented by Mark Downes, former facilities operations manager for the multiple venues in the Olympic Park. Mark provided insight into emerging back-of-house resource saving opportunities arriving onto the UK leisure market.

The following Councils attended: East Staffordshire Borough Council, Gedling Borough Council, Havant Borough Council, Lichfield District Council, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Nottingham City Council, Slough Borough Council, South Hams District Council, South Kesteven District Council, Walsall Council, Wokingham Borough Council, and Worcester City Council.

Four key themes were explored at the Think Tank:

  • Facility developments within a Leisure Procurement – Duncan Wood-Allum (SLC)
  • Leisure Trust Vehicles and issues regarding charitable status –Sharon Webster (Trowers and Hamlins)
  • Using the Sport England Procurement Toolkit – Andy Farr (FMG Consulting)
  • The EU Directive – implications for Leisure Procurement – Amardeep Gill (Trowers and Hamlins)

Some of the key learning outcomes sought by attendees at the beginning of the Think Tank included:

  1. What management options are available to deliver strategic outcomes sustainably
  2. What learning is available from recent facility rationalisations
  3. Key considerations for a Council’s upcoming Leisure Strategy linked to a new Leisure Contract
  4. Optimising the potential of a strategic partnership
  5. Key learning to support new facility developments
  6. The above issues highlighted the challenges and complexities of procurement faced by both clients, operators and their advisers
  7. Key considerations and opportunities resulting from future changes in EU procurement legislation
  8. Key considerations in relation to establishing Trusts and emerging opportunities through Mutuals.

Feedback from those attending the Think Tank was very positive, with 100% reporting they were “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the experience. Some examples from the written feedback given after the Think Tank are provided below:

Very well organised and great presentations. Very worthwhile.”

“Informative and engaging subject matter, presented in a professional but relaxed manner”.

Duncan Wood-Allum, Director of SLC reflecting on the Think Tanks said, “After refining the format of Think Tanks over the last 5 years, we are confident that this approach to knowledge sharing is emerging as the most popular and effective for our sector.”

A short summary report and top tips for procurement guide will be available shortly to Local Authorities, Operators and other SLC clients. To request a copy or to be kept informed of future Think Tank events, please email us here or call 01444 459927.