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Agenda Item No. 4

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 12th September, 2016


Report of the Director of Environment and Housing Services


Introduction to Leisure Services

Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide an overview of the services provided by the Council's Leisure Team and to outline the main objectives of the service.


  1. That Committee note the report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To assist in advising of the importance of the services provided by Leisure to both residents and visitors in the Vale of Glamorgan.


  1. Recent changes to Committee responsibilities have seen the Scrutiny function for Leisure rest with this Committee. To allow the Committee to have a good understanding of the services provided by Leisure, the Chairman of this Committee has requested an overview report and this is to be supplemented with a short presentation at the meeting.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Leisure Services sit within the Visible Services and Transport section of the Directorate of Environment and Housing Services. The services provided within this team are: Parks and Grounds Maintenance (excluding Country Parks), Leisure Centres, Sports Development and Play, Exercise referral and Community Centres.
  2. Parks and Grounds Maintenance has a permanent workforce of approximately 45 full time employees that is supplemented by a seasonal workforce from March to October. The service is responsible for allotments, urban parks, sports pitches, public open space, Jenner Park, children's playgrounds, grass cutting, trees etc. The section presently has 7 Green Flag awards covering a range of urban parks. The formal gardens on Barry Island were the most recent to be added to the list of Green Flag winners. The service is currently subject to the reshaping agenda within Visible Services and Transport and faces considerable challenges in the future to make a significant contribution to the budget savings required in the area.
  3. The management of the Council's Leisure Centres transferred to Parkwood Leisure in August 2012 and has subsequently been sub-contracted to Legacy Leisure. The contract was used as the only example of good practice in the recent Welsh Audit Office report looking at Leisure Centre provision throughout Wales . The service is the only Leisure Centre operation in Wales that does not require a revenue payment being made to a contractor, DSO or trust. The Leisure team's responsibilities still include monitoring the performance of the contract, ensuring compliance with the specification and maintaining the structure of the buildings.
  4. The Sport and Play section has made a valuable contribution to the Vale of Glamorgan being ranked first for adult participation and third for children (including young people) participation in the most recent Sport Wales survey, arguably making the area the most physically active in Wales . The Sports Development service is financially supported by Sport Wales and plans for a more regional approach to future service delivery could prove challenging moving forward. The Council's play team has seen funding reduce over recent years but aims to provide quality play opportunities for children throughout the Vale.
  5. The Exercise Referral Scheme is a mainly grant funded initiative designed to provide a structured environment for those individuals who would benefit from some form of physical activity but do not exercise regularly. Most of the referrals come from local G.P. surgeries that identify patients who could potentially benefit from the scheme. The results in the Vale have been consistently good since the scheme was first introduced and has seen many added benefits such as increased usage of facilities and a partial solution to loneliness for some participants.
  6. The Council is currently involved in the operation of 22 Community Centres. One dedicated Community Centre Officer provides advice and support to the local voluntary committees that manage the Centres on behalf of local residents. The Council's model for the operation of Community Centres is one being adopted by other Councils who have previously directly managed these facilities.
  7. The service has always prided itself with the contribution it makes to the corporate objectives and sees the adoption of the new corporate plan, and its alignment to the Well-being of Future Generations Act as a further opportunity.
  8. To this end officers are currently working on the development of a Leisure Strategy that will set the direction of the service for the next 5 - 10 years matching the available budget to demand and the new National Well-Being Goals. This will be the subject of a future report to this Committee.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no direct resource implications associated with this report although as the majority of the services operated by Leisure are discretionary the requirement to reduce costs in the present financial circumstances is something the service is fully aware of.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The service is constantly aware of its environmental responsibilities and is aware of the need to become more sustainable as illustrated in initiatives such as the reduction in the use of pesticides, UV filtration systems in Leisure Centres and working with recycled or waste materials in play environments.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no legal implications associated with this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The provision of quality leisure facilities is now proven to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in an area.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The service is fully committed to implementing the Council's equalities policies.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. W04 - Active and Healthy Vale:

07: Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles -

AH1 - Work in partnership to deliver a range of activities through our leisure and community facilities and parks to increase levels of participation and physical activity.

AH3 - Work in partnership to deliver a comprehensive play programme that improves the well-being of children and their families.

AH6 - Achieve Green Flag status for 7 parks as a mark of excellence, demonstrating good amenities and community involvement in the parks.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is within the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No ward member consultation has been undertaken for this report as the contents are not specific to any ward.

Background Papers

Contact Officer

David Knevett, Operational Manager, Leisure Services.

Officers Consulted

Parks and Open Spaces Officer

Sport and Play Development Manager

Exercise Referral Co-ordinator

Community Development Officer

Financial Accountant - Visible Services

Committee Reports

Head of Visible Services and Transport

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing