Since 2015, through our pioneering work we have sought to transform the leisure market from a ‘race to the bottom’ to a progressive, balanced and strategically aligned partnership approach.
This was recognised by Sport England who commissioned SLC to develop the Leisure Services Delivery Guidance (LSDG), in collaboration with the wider sector. The guidance has been designed specifically to help local authorities reduce the costs and risks of partnering and procurement and to support ambitions to tackle inequalities across the physical activity system. The types of support we can provide are set out below.
SLC are highly experienced in providing independent advice on the management options available and have been developing alternative complimentary options for those clients with larger portfolios. We have deep understanding of the relative differences between management models. We are experienced at working with elected Members when exploring opportunities.
SLC provides the public sector with leading advice in supporting the planning of future procurements or potential changes in management models. This can include bringing leisure services back in house or establishing Local Authority Trading Companies. Our general advice is – start as early as you can.
Following the COVID -19 crisis, the risk appetite of the leisure operator partner market has shifted considerably, meaning it is important to engage with the market early. Key to this is having a defined investment strategy / budget wherever it is possible. We can advise on the optimal timing and approach bespoke to your needs.
SLC has successfully supported a number of local authorities in establishing arms’ length Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs). We can support your local authority in making an informed decision and ensuring your implementation is managed effectively.
Managing a procurement process is complex and resource intensive. Our clients often ask us to manage the whole programme on their behalf or alongside their procurement team. Our methodologies, which we have shared in the public domain, are tried and tested and provide real assurance of an optimal outcome for partners. We are constantly updating our approach to take account of dynamic market conditions on issues such as utilities.
Changing and mobilising management models requires specialist support to ensure you put your customers, staff and communities at the heart of the transformation. This requires significant planning and implementation support prior to the new arrangements commencing. SLC has recent experience of supporting the establishment of Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCs; e.g. South Kesteven DC) and Community Interest Companies (CICs; e.g. Stockport Council) working alongside our clients.
Once you’ve established a partnership, how can you be sure you are getting the most out of it? SLC supports councils in monitoring the effectiveness of their leisure operating partner against the KPI’s set within the contract. As an example, we have supported Watford BC for the last two years on their partnership with Everyone Active.
With its deep sector network, SLC can source sector specialists to provide interim management support for our public sector clients. If you’re looking for a specific role, give us a call.