Archived on 6/5/2022

Lewisham leisure contract to be ‘in-housed’ after 2 years?

8 Nov '20

Continuing the discussion from Forest Hill Pools: Greenwich Leisure Limited to take over management (previously Fusion):

Local Democracy Reporter Grannie Cuff reports for NewsShopper about Council spending on the new GLL contact for management of the leisure centres:

Perhaps more interesting than overspend during a pandemic is the following excerpt from the article:

8 Nov '20

So what is the takeaway here? Should we not overspend in a pandemic to keep our local services alive? Every level of government is overspending to keep things going.

Should we move contracts in house? Or should we outsource services to private companies. GLL is not for profit. Is this good or bad? If we pay out to private companies then we overspend? Or do we not pay them and let them and the services go to ruin. I’m confused as to what the message is.

8 Nov '20

I can’t see it happening. With all the cuts that will come due to Covid there is no way the council will be in a decent financial position to do it.

I find the fact that 1.4 million was paid to GLL to run the centres quite worrying.

8 Nov '20

Probably true, though it may still be good that the current contract is limited to 2 years. Depending on what the world looks like then, it could give opportunity to renegotiate with GLL or others, or at least review the quality and delivery of service and value for money.

9 Nov '20

The problem with outsourcing for councils is that TUPE requires all current staff working on the contract to be transferred to the outsourced company on the same terms and conditions. This inevitably means that the company must add extra expenditure to the cost of the service to make a profit unless it can find a way of reducing expenditure. It is highly likely that the council has already reduced expenditure as low as it can. The same applies when the council takes a service back in house. Staff are TUPE transferred to the council. Outsourcing is not a universal panacea!
I have been TUPE transferred 5 times.

9 Nov '20

That is a longstanding aspiration on Damien’s part, but I don’t believe for a moment that he thinks he can achieve it in two years time.

It might be a subtle reminder to GLL that the company, who has had some issues with unions in the past, I’m told, that they need to watch their step and be good employers. I’m OK with that.

Damien, however, is prone to mouthing pious intentions, even in circumstances where he has no chance of following through. See the Bell Green gasholders.