Agenda item

Active4Today - Annual Report 2018-19


The Committee considered the report of the Director – Communities & Environment which updated the Committee on the performance of Active4Today for the financial year ending 31 March 2019.


It was reported that Company turnover had increased by a modest 1.3%, however, this should be considered positively in light of the problems the Company encountered in respect of the loss of water space at the Dukeries Leisure Centre and subsequently at South Forest and latterly Wellow House School and accordingly the efforts of the Company should be noted in respect of its efforts to maintain a positive trading position despite this setback which was not within the control or influence of the Company. 


Performance overall had been maintained through a favourable growth in adult membership of 3.34% achieved through a combination of promotions, guest passes and wider community engagement.  In addition to the adult membership base, there had been considerable growth in leisure centre visits from the under 16’s market, an increase in users from deprived areas  and an uplift in referrals through health professionals following more focussed work by the Sports Development Team. 


In light of the adoption of the Community Plan 2019-2023 a review of Active4Today’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) had been undertaken and the proposed basket of new KPI’s which reflected the priorities of both the Council and Active4Today would be reported to future Leisure and Environment Committees and was attached at Appendix 1V for member approval.


During the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, the financial statements showed that the Company recorded a net operating surplus of £22,453 factoring in the full management fee payable by the Council of which 50% (£60,610) was currently on retention.  £239,987 was spent on repairs and renewals which was £87,487 over the budget provision anticipated for the year. The operating surplus therefore represented a strong financial performance from the Company in 18/19 given the level of re-investment in the Council’s asset base.


It was also reported that within the accounts the provision for pension deficit was now shown as a net liability in the Balance sheet and was in accordance with generally accepted accounting treatment. The net liability had always existed, however as the company’s accounts were not subject to audit in previous years, the liability was not provided for in the company’s accounts and was, instead, disclosed as a note to the accounts.  The company, as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Council, was now required to have an audit and therefore had accounted for assets and liabilities of the pension fund on the face of the Balance Sheet. The value of the assets and liabilities would be re-valued every 3 years with the next review being undertaken this year, however, this was an accounting protocol for member information only.


The Company’s earmarked usable reserves, as at 31 March 2019 stood at £400,130 an increase of £22,453 on the balances held at 31 March 2018.


At the 22 January 2019 meeting of Leisure & Environment Committee, a decision was taken to review the Company’s 2018/19 outturn position in order that Committee could form judgements on the management fee payable in 2019/20.  This decision would continue to look prudent at this time given the surplus position achieved at year-end, the significant reserves held by the Company and the fact that Leisure & Environment Committee approved a three year pricing strategy 2019-22 which included some modest price increases where the Company believed there was scope to do so.  Accordingly it was proposed that 50% of the management fee for 2019/20 (£60,610) be paid to A4T and the remaining 50% held in abeyance pending a review of in-year performance by A4T given the loss of the pool at the Dukeries which had resulted in a downturn in membership and income at this site.


In addition to paying a management fee to Active4Today to operate leisure and sports development services, the Council also paid a cash sum to the Company to provide strategic management support to Southwell Leisure Centre Trust, as well as ‘donating’ a number of central services such as human resources and ICT.  The cash element the Council was due to pay Active4Today for providing strategic management support to the Trust in 2019/20 was £80,850 and that £15,000 would now be contributed by the Southwell Leisure Centre Trustees.  Southwell Leisure Centre had also seen growth in over 60’s and adult membership base as well as an increase in health referrals.  


A Member sought clarification regarding the work undertaken to date for the new swimming pool and the facilities available at the Dukeries Leisure Centre.  The Senior Health and Community Relations Officer confirmed that the new pool was at the feasibility stage.  A meeting would take place with the supplier on the 18 July 2019, which would look at the outcome of the feasibility report and if satisfactory move onto the next phase.  The Managing Director Active4Today confirmed that the facilities at the Dukeries Leisure Centre were maintained to a good standard and had received some significant investment. 


A Member questioned the indicative date of early 2020 for the new pool and queried why Officers were still at the feasibility stage as it was thought that stage was completed. The Director – Communities & Environment confirmed that a meeting would take place with the supplier mid-July, after that meeting the plan would go to the detailed design stage, subject to the cost being within the envelope agreed by Council and included in the capital programme.  An updated programme plan provided by the contractor would also be available at this stage. A report would be presented to the 24 September 2019 meeting of the Committee.  It was confirmed that information would also be circulated to Members of the Committee after the July meeting.


A Member declared an interest as his daughter was an elite sports woman and commented that the district was missing an opportunity to support elite sports persons as the current scheme only supports athletes that have reached the national level of their sport.  He commented that there was a management fee of £121,000 for sports development, but the elite sports persons were not allowed to have free access to Council leisure centres due to this restriction in the Talented Athletes grant criteria.  It was felt that if a sports person reached a regional level the Council should allow them to access facilities free of charge.  The Senior Health and Community Relations Officer confirmed that the Grant Aid scheme criteria was being looked at in light of the Community Plan and currently did not provide free access for athletes competing at regional level.  A proposed change to the scheme will be considered by review panel to allow free access to athletes competing at regional level. 


AGREED           (unanimously) that:


(a)           the positive performance of Active4Today in 2018/19 be                             noted;


(b)           the operating agreement between the Council and the                                Company is under review and any significant changes to the                    agreement will be brought to a future meeting of the                             Committee;


(c)            the retained management fee for 2018/19 of £60,610 be paid                    to Active4Today based on the year end outturn;


(d)           50% of the management fee (£60,610) for 2019/20 be paid to                    Active4Today and the remaining 50% held in abeyance                            pending a review of in-year performance by A4T;


(e)           the Southwell Leisure Centre management fee of £80,850 be                     paid to Active4Today which represents the Council’s                           contribution;


(f)             the proposed Key Performance Indicators reported be                                 approved; and


(g)           information be circulated to Members of the Committee                            following the 18 July 2019 meeting with the contractors and a                 report be presented to the 24 September 2019 meeting of the                  Leisure and Environment Committee setting out the progress                     with the development of the pool.


Supporting documents: