Page 64


MISSING A TRICK? In response to our Talking Point: ‘Are councils asking too much of contract operators?’ and our editor’s letter on the same topic, Duncan Wood-Allum, managing director of SLC, shares his thoughts on the future commissioning and delivery of leisure services


he leisure operating market has never been in such

The article was in

a dynamic state of flux.

Sports Management

Continued austerity, major

Issue 2, 2018

budget cuts and polarisation of political philosophies on

how services should be run all add to

overheated and councils were demanding


an environment where, more than ever,

too much from their contracts.

A key factor missing in the article was

leisure operators have to be on their toes. In the Sports Management Talking Point,

The article was right to note that in

the broader strategic role of leisure in

some instances, councils (which sometimes

contributing to agendas such as adult

a number of operators and advisors shared

take the wrong advice or do not take any

social care, regeneration, economic

their views on whether the market had

advice) are seeing leisure contracts as

development, placemaking and social

cash generators only, rather than

cohesion. Leisure cannot continue to

a sustainable market intervention

try to justify itself for its own sake – it

to contribute to a number of wider

needs to co-create local solutions to

strategic outcomes.

bigger issues that can act as a catalyst for

With borough treasurers putting

through joint commissioning, and leverage

savings, revenue-positive leisure

investment from regeneration. This can

contracts can be seen as a potential

often lead to co-location of new facilities

‘easy win’. However, I believe council

with other functions and services, making

officers and members should

better use of scarce resources.

establish a joined-up approach

Duncan Wood-Allum is managing director of consultancy SLC


ISSUE 3 2018

partnership working, combine funding

the pressure on councils to find

The transformation of our town

to commissioning, identify their

centres and cityscapes is paving the

community’s needs, facility

way from a retail-based core to a mixed

requirements and investment

economy of retail, leisure, community,

opportunities, and set sensible

commercial and housing. This creates

and achievable affordability levels.

huge opportunities for developing new

They then have the option to

models to support people’s changing

select the optimal management

lifestyles, health and wellbeing needs.

model – often over a period

Local authorities have an opportunity

of two to four years before

to leverage the expertise of the leisure

procurement – to enable them

sector to bring investment that will inject

to achieve both their financial goals and

life and atmosphere back into these town

deliver significant social value.

centres. But I’m not convinced anyone


Profile for Leisure Media



Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded