The Forum welcomed Liz Taylor from Leisure Strategy, who outlined their work with a number of authorities in evaluating their leisure provision.
In order to begin drafting a new Leisure Strategy, evidence based data was required to build a picture of the current provision, including the physical assets associated with delivering leisure provision, before moving to planning for what that provision would look like over the next five to ten years.
The Forum were being asked to consider agreement to the first step, the undertaking of the Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance (SOPG) Diagnostic. The diagnostic will:
· Provide an overview of the District in terms of
o Existing needs and demand
o Existing participation levels and trends
o What gaps in provision exist
o Links with local strategies and policies, including for health and wellbeing
o The Council’s priorities in relation to health and wellbeing
· Describe the current provision, in terms of where and how
o Inspection of all sites including dual use sites
o Community outreach service
o Throughput and social value
o Strategic factors for each facility
· Consult with stakeholders
· Run the Sports Facility Calculator (SFC) to assess indicative future need.
This body of evidence can then be used to compare the current provision to the future need and opportunities, that leads onto the key elements of work that are needed to underpin the future strategic approach to provision and delivery.
In response to questions from the Forum, the following points were made:
· Analysis against local competition/facilities would be made;
· Timescale for the diagnostic stage was usually around the three month mark; that may be impacted by the ability to visit sites currently and evaluating demand following the pandemic;
· The “Active Lives” survey would be considered, which would detail on how people seek out activity, such as those who exercised without the benefit of group activities or gym membership;
· Consideration of offer from other sources would be made to help consider if there was any duplication of leisure offer, or identify gaps that could be met;
· This work would be linked to the review of the Playing Pitch Strategy;
· Any recommendations forward from the diagnostic steps would look to balance both ambition in delivery with what was possible economically and sustainably;
· Consideration would also be given to what offer can be of benefit to the tourism offer of the District;
· Comparison would be made to the facilities in neighbouring districts; particularly those close the District border or easy transport links to access;
· A clear understanding of what the District could afford was key;
· In consulting with stakeholders, care would be taken to clarify how to manage expectation;
· Wellbeing hubs would also be taken into account;
· Whilst individual detail on smaller community groups would not be sought out for the disgnostic, a strategic view on the local offer would be taken into account;
· Any assistance that Ward Members could give to signpost what community and business leisure services were available in their area, would be appreciated to help build the overall picture of the current offer of the District.
RESOLVED that the Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance Diagnostic be undertaken by Strategic Leisure.