To receive a presentation from Ashley Sharpe, Contracts Manager, on the current specifications for the Leisure Contracts (Farnborough Leisure Centre and the Aldershot Pools Complex) and to consider the Council’s approach when retendering.
The Panel welcomed Mr. Ashley Sharpe, Principal Contracts Manager, who attended the meeting to advise the Panel on the current specifications of the leisure contract and on the areas where Members may have an influence when considering the new leisure contract due for re-tender in 2019.
It was advised that the current specification had been set in 1992 and had carried over in 2001 when the contract had been renewed. At that time, Members had put in protection clauses for certain areas, including operating hours, programming for existing clubs and schools, the provision of children’s activities during the school holidays, availability of the sports halls for casual use and a commitment to working in partnership with the Council, and other agencies on the GP referral scheme. Operational requirements for the swimming pools had also been established, these included water temperature and cleanliness. High quality catering services, which offered a range of appetising, healthy and nutritious food and drink had also been a requirement.
The Council controlled the core pricing at the facilities. All core pricing had set price ceilings; these included activities such as swimming, squash, indoor bowls, clubs, GP referrals and cardiac rehabilitation patients. All non-core activities could be charged at normal market rates, but with no more than two increases per annum and by no more than 10% within the financial year.
The Panel was advised of the parking arrangements, set by the Council, at the Farnborough Leisure Centre. It was noted that currently users of the facility could get a pro rata rebate on the price of their parking ticket. For the new contract, consideration could be given to allowing the contractor to operate the car park to allow them to develop their own parking scheme.
The Panel discussed further areas for consideration, particularly around maintenance of buildings, grounds, plant and equipment within the new contract taking into account the age and life expectancy of the buildings and Aldershot Lido site. Other areas to consider included utility services and rates, licenses, management information, Council and contractor responsibilities and acting as a ticket agency for Council/local events and public/community hall bookings. Local initiatives around health and wellbeing, sports development, supporting vulnerable adults and older people and safer neighbourhoods could also be considered alongside joint working on communications/social media with the Council and promotional activities, such as the £1 swim.
The Panel was reminded of the option to build new facilities at both the Aldershot Indoor Pools and Lido and the Farnborough Leisure Centre through a Design and Build option or a Design, Build, Operate and Maintain option. If this were to be agreed the Council would still have the opportunity to set certain specifications that the operator would be asked to adhere to.
In response to a query it was noted that a break clause would be included in the contract to allow both parties to exit the agreement by giving standard notices.
It was suggested that a Task and Finish Group would need to be established when the process for renewal began.
The Panel ENDORSED the way forward.