Plans to outsource the management of leisure centres in Lichfield and Burntwood have moved forward after five potential operators were shortlisted.
Seven organisations initially contacted Lichfield District Council with a view to bidding for the contract, but a shortlist has now been drawn up.
A report from Cllr Andy Smith, Cabinet member for leisure, to the local authority’s leisure, parks and waste management scrutiny committee meeting tonight (February 1) revealed interested parties had already inspected some of the facilities.
“As part of our Leisure Review we’re progressing the project to outsource the management of Burntwood Leisure Centre and Friary Grange Leisure Centre,” Cllr Smith said. “We’ve invited potential operators to bid to run these two leisure centres, and shortlisted five of the seven organisations that expressed an interest in doing so.
“These potential operators are now in the process of preparing detailed proposals for how they would manage the centres.
“Where outsourcing has happened in other parts of the country, participation levels have often increased and people have benefited from enhanced leisure services and facilities.
“Because our shortlist of operators are experts in delivering leisure services, and because they run large portfolios of leisure centres across the country, they can benefit from economies of scale, grants, charity relief and expertise that we cannot access, all of which should ultimately help to improve the service to local people.
“In setting out our specifications for the potential leisure operators, we have stipulated that there should be no interruption in service for our leisure centre users and that they commit to maintaining a concessionary pricing offer.
“We will only decide to outsource the management of our leisure centres if we are fully confident that by doing so it will give all our residents the best access to our leisure facilities, which we will still retain ownership of.”
For more details on the review of leisure centre management, visit the Lichfield District Council website.