Another Council has taken a step to bring outsourced services back in house. Below a transcript of a press release from Ards and North Down Borough Council
Higher Executive Officer
Information on the Council’s decision not to extend its leisure management contract with Northern Community Leisure Trust 29 July 2021
At a meeting of Councillors on Wednesday 28 July, Ards and North Down Borough Council determined to take the decision to allow its contract with Northern Community Leisure Trust (NCLT) to expire at the 10-year point, and not to avail of any extension opportunity**. This means that all the facilities/ services that have been operated by NCLT on behalf of the Council over the past 8 years will return to direct Council management and operation on 31 March 2023.
The Council has been working with NCLT and an external leisure consultant over the past year to inform this decision. A range of financial, operational, performance and customer service issues were considered. The cost difference between the two methods of operation (NCLT or a return to Council management) was marginal, therefore the overriding considerations in favour of a return to Council operation were not financial but the potential to:
The change of management does not come into effect for 20 months and NCLT customers will be fully updated on any impacts closer to the handover date – however we are committed to ensuring the process is as smooth as possible.
In relation to NCLT employees, TUPE (which stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations) will apply and will protect employees by transferring them to the new employer at no detriment.
This decision in no way reflects any dissatisfaction with the operations of the former North Down Borough Council facilities. The Council would like to put on record its thanks to the Board of NCLT, under the chairmanship of John Young, and all the staff for the very successful and productive relationship that we have enjoyed over the past eight years; especially with regards to the management of Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex – which was a new and unique leisure offering when it opened its doors in 2013.
We look forward to being able to offer ratepayers a consistency of experience at all our leisure facilities, including multi-facility memberships and access schemes, in the future.
The main facilities that will return to Council management include:
The existing contract with NCLT to run these leisure facilities was set up in 2013. It was to run for 10 years, with the potential for a further extension of 5 years. The contract required Ards and North Down Borough Council to review the arrangements and decide whether to avail of the contract extension before 30 September 2021 (at least 18 months before the original 10-year contract would run out).
** This determination of the meeting of Councillors is subject to a ‘call in standstill period’, which runs until Thursday 5 August.