The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Leisure and culture

A slightly thrilling read

06.21.08 | Comment?

 The Audit and Inspection plan for West Lancs District Council was published yesterday.  Not exactly thrilling bedtime reading, I accept, but the following statement from the Audit Commission thrilled me a litlte tiny bit:

“In December 2004 the Council entered into a formal partnership agreement with Serco Limited for the management of its leisure facilities until 2020 and a free standing Leisure Trust wasestablished. In 2004/05 we reviewed the Council’s progress on implementing this partnership arrangement and made recommendations to  improve some aspects of the process. The recent CPA report was positive about the impact of the leisure partnership however recommended improvements in performance management. Given these comments it is timely that we now re-assess arrangements.”

Whether this would have happened without Labour’s intervention on the whole leisure thing, I can’t say.  The Audit Commission tell me it’s part of their routine work, but there’s a bit of me that thinks ‘they would say that , wouldn’t they!”

 It does now seem doubly ‘odd’ though that the Tory cabinet voted just the other day  to commence discussions with the Leisure Trust about their managing the new sports facility to be built for 2010 (we hope) and not consider alternatives, just before the Audit Commission reviews whether the Leisure Trust is up to the job.

 Of course, the Cabinet Member responsible for leisure services couldn’t take part in those discussions, because he had to declare a personal and prejudicial interest.  He’s a Director of the supposedly independent leisure trust!  I’m sure the Audit Commission will be checking that one out.

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