Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 10 JULY 2018
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 2 JULY 2018
C357 RESHAPING SERVICES: A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO THE PROVISION OF SINGLE USER OUTDOOR SPORTS FACILITIES (SCHL) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE) -
The purpose of the report was to bring to the attention of Cabinet the costs incurred in maintaining and providing sites and facilities that were predominantly for the benefit of single clubs and organisations.
The report also sought authority to implement changes to the methods of providing and managing such sites and facilities and in turn the cost implications of providing for outdoor sports activities where the service was provided predominately to one club or organisation at one location.
There were a number of private sports clubs in the Vale of Glamorgan who provided outdoor sports provision and had active junior/ youth sections but did not benefit from any direct subsidy from the Council. There were, however, a number of clubs/ organisations who had almost exclusive use of some Council owned facilities. The manner in which the Council managed such assets did not reflect the need to ensure that budgets were used effectively. Notably, the fees that were charged fall well-short of covering the costs of operating these facilities.
Attached at Appendix A to the report was a breakdown of Council owned outdoor single user sport sites which were in scope of these proposals. Due to the manner in which these single user sites had developed and the specific nature of the sport in question (in relation to certain sites) there appeared very limited opportunity for these sites to develop into multi-use sites.
Given the Council's current financial situation and the need to direct revenue support to areas where it would have maximum impact and reach across all sectors of the community, a review had been conducted of the current approach.
The level of subsidies afforded to single use facilities varied depending upon the location and type of sport. However, for bowling greens was approximately £25,000 per annum. For large, fine turfed sports fields the cost to maintain and manage these facilities was approximately £80,000 per annum. The income from these facilities fell significantly short of the cost to operate. This was estimated to result in a net cost to the Council of approximately £400,000 per annum.
In order to ensure that resources did not continue to be diverted away from facilities and pitches used across the community, it was recommended that a new approach be adopted for all single use sites.
The proposed approach was summarised below.
The Council would amend the fees charged to clubs and organisations for single use facilities from their current level to the actual cost of operating and maintaining these (after any income), from 1st April 2019.
However, the Council would initially make contact with the existing users of the facilities identified in Appendix A attached to the report. Details of the current costs of maintaining and operating these sites would be shared in order that these organisations and clubs be encouraged, wherever possible, to explore the opportunity to take over the management of these facilities from 1st April 2019. This would be subject to an agreement that ensured it was maintained to a satisfactory condition.
These discussions would be undertaken on a facility-by-facility basis, reflecting the varying agreements currently in place (for example, some organisations may have existing leases for a club-house, but not for the playing field etc.). This would also enable an Equality Impact Assessment to be developed that reflected the specific local circumstances of the facility.
In recognising that this would be a significant change to the pricing structure, the Council’s preference was to provide clubs/organisations with the opportunity to maintain the facility themselves.
To assist clubs / organisations who wished to adopt this scenario, the Council was currently reviewing the Community Asset Transfer protocol to enable a ‘fast track’ process to be established that could assist with the transfer of responsibilities in this area as appropriate. Signposting to organisations, such as Glamorgan Voluntary Services, who may be able to provide advice and support in the development of business cases to support the running of facilities or potential sources of income, would form a part of the process.
The proposal to introduce the new arrangement from 1st April 2019 was designed to allow clubs to plan for the changes and it was proposed that frequent contact would be maintained with any club or organisation throughout the coming months.
It was likely, particularly for bowls, that the current level of single user provision at individual sites was unsustainable. Where it is clear, from initial meetings, that this was the case, the option of consolidation of facilities would be discussed with the clubs/ organisations concerned and they would be supported to bring new arrangements into effect.
Consultation would also be encouraged with Town and Community Councils and the voluntary sector, particularly where it was apparent that a single use Sports facility may be unaffordable to the club/Organisation currently occupying the site, or where the capacity and skills did not exist to allow that club or organisation to progress by way of a CAT or lease arrangement. Such discussions would likely include potential alternative approaches, including whether the Town/Community Council or another voluntary group could manage the facility or providing financial support to the club or organisation.
Where the club/organisation did not wish to the current resident clubs be charged the actual operating costs from 1st April 2019 rather than the current hire fees.
Alongside, this approach, further work would also be undertaken on the ability to reduce the revenue subsidy at multi-use sites and a further report would be presented to cabinet on this issue, before the end of the 2018 Calendar year.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T it be agreed in principle for referral to Community Liaison Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Healthy Living and Social Care) that the Council works towards recovering the actual cost of maintaining sports grounds and pitches at sites where the facilities are used almost exclusively by one club or organisation rather than retaining a charging structure where individual fees are applied at each location.
(2) T H A T it be agreed in principle as the basis for referral to Community Liaison Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Healthy Living and Social Care) that any Club or Organisation that are single users of Council facilities be given the opportunity to maintain the facilities themselves if they do not wish to pay the Council the cost of maintaining the facilities provided this is to a satisfactory standard as assessed annually by the Director of Environmental and Housing Services.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to the Community Liaison Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Healthy Living and Social Care) for consideration prior to reaching a final determination.
(4) T H A T subject to resolutions 1 - 3 above, delegated authority be granted to the Director of Environment and Housing to progress discussions in relation to all single use sites as listed in Appendix A attached to the report, and subsequently, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Leisure to agree new arrangements for the facilities listed in appendix 'A' so that they be implemented on 1st April 2019 with a view to achieving a better balance between recovering the actual operating costs and promoting active lifestyles.
(5) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Finance in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Leisure and the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources to renegotiate arrangements with organisations with regards to their usage of a Council owned facility.
(6) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Legal Services to draft and execute revised agreements where appropriate.
(7) T H A T the development of revised new Community asset transfer processes, including development of a ‘fast track system’ to support this and other initiatives and this will be brought to Cabinet in due course be noted.
(8) T H A T a further report be brought to Cabinet prior to 1st April 2019 to provide an update of the situation and to provide details of any single user outdoor sports facilities where the current user did not wish to continue using the facilities under the proposed new arrangements.
(9) T H A T a further report setting out options in order to reduce the levels of revenue subsidy at multi-use outdoor sports sites be presented to Cabinet before the 31 December 2018.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To introduce an equitable system for outdoor sports facilities.
(2) To allow clubs / organisation a choice in future service delivery.
(3) To allow consultation with Town and Community Councils and the relevant Scrutiny Committee prior to reaching a final determination.
(4) To allow the revised approach to be implemented prior to 1 April 2019.
(5) To agree revised agreements in a timely manner.
(6) To ensure that the necessary legal documentation is in place for any required agreements.
(7) To enable efficient and effective transfer of assets as appropriate.
(8) To consider disposal or future use of such facilities.
(9) To allow for consideration of options to reduce subsidies at multi use outdoor sports grounds.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 2 JULY 2018