The Chief Executive of the Leisure Trust will make a presentation on the headlines from Burnley Leisure’s 2018/19 Annual Report.
The Chief Executive of the Leisure Trust gave a presentation on Towneley Golf Club and showed a promotional video highlighting the varied cultural and sporting activities that the Trust provided. He then presented the Trust’s annual accounts 2018/19 for members’ scrutiny.
Members asked the following questions:
Q. Is the pricing for Towneley Golf competitive? Does it break even or does it contribute to other elements of the Trust’s activities?
A. Yes it breaks even, but that aim is to increase profitability .
Q. Does the golf club figures take into account management time?
A. There are dedicated managers across the services and apportioning time would be unproductive.
Q. Does the Trust provide a diversity of cuisine at its food outlets?
A. The food offer is determined by the suppliers but provides a comprehensive menu with vegan and gluten free options. There are issues around allergens and cross contamination that have to be factored in order for the outlets to operate safely and adhere to environmental health standards. The Trust continues to work with its partners to improve diversity in the offer.
Q. How does the Trust incorporate social values and make venues and activities accessible for all?
A. The Trust undertakes price matching with competitors and the charges for swimming is the cheapest in the area. The Trust is also hosting a dementia conference at the Mechanics. The Trust treats all its customers as individuals and will always listen to them.
Q. What is the future for the Up and Active service?
A. The funding for this project was withdrawn by Lancashire County Council in June 2019. Pennine Lancashire, with Blackburn as the lead authority, is running a Together and Active Futures programme and it is hoped to access funds from this stream in order to provide a similar project to the Up and Active project in Burnley.
Q. How strategic is the Trust in taking feedback from various groups.
A. The Trust has operational managers at all sites to take feedback and there are customer feedback points. The Trust is open to suggestions and will discuss them with the Board.
Q. What strategy does the Trust have to deal with the pension deficit?
A. The pensions have been inherited from the Council and are still part of the Local Government Pension Scheme. There is a tri-annual evaluation of the deficit and the Trust is working to close the gap.
Q. Was there any specific commitment for pensions from the Local Authority when the Trust was set up?
A. The transfer agreement with the Council includes a shared responsibility. The external auditors write to the Council each year regarding liabilities
Q. What is the breakdown of resources between sports and cultural services? When will there be a strategy for Arts and Culture?
A. Seventy-five percent of resources come from sports and physical activities and this helps to support the cultural programme. Very few theatres break-even but there is a £2.5m Heritage Lottery Bid in for the Mechanics. The Trust had brought a considerable amount of cultural funding to the town and Burnley is the only trust to have a Cultural Services Officer. Whilst this post is currently vacant it is hoped to recruit to the position within the next two months and a Strategy would follow as soon as possible.
Q. Some information is commercially sensitive but is there a comparative analysis which could allow any movement on pricing?
A. Some elements are commercial sensitive, but the Trust has monthly meetings with the Council where these are disclosed. The accounts are laid out in the same way each year unless there is a requirement to change how figures are reported. The Council subsidy has reduced over time and the Trust is always looking for opportunities to generate more income whilst keeping pricing competitive.
Councillor Foster asked that the Trust considers diversity in all it does across the board.
Councillor Townsend expressed his outrage at LCCs withdrawal of funding for the Up and Active project but acknowledged that the Blackburn led project might mitigate some of this.
The Chair thanked Gerard for his attendance and commented that the Trust has improved year on year and standards had improved during that time.
It was agreed
That the annual accounts of Burnley Leisure be noted.