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Ryedale District Council may spend £60,000 to find leisure provider
COUNCIL bosses in Ryedale may spend £60,000 on finding a firm to run the district’s leisure facilities.
Ryedale District Council’s current contract with Community Leisure Limited (CLL) expires in September 2014 and the authority said European Union procurement rules means it must go through a “competitive process” to decide what should happen after that time.
CLL currently receives an annual grant to manage and operate Ryedale’s two swimming pools on the council’s behalf and also takes responsibility for leisure facilities at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering.
It has been involved for the last 15 years after the arrangement was extended for five years in 2009.
The council’s commissioning board will be told next week that the authority could take back control of leisure sites. However, this would leave it liable to pay annual VAT of £65,000 and having to pay £60,000 to transfer CLL staff, £40,000 to employ a manager, £32,000 in business rates and £30,000 in consultancy and other costs.
Other options are to share the running of the leisure service with other councils, or “buy” it from the voluntary or private sector.
A report by the council’s chief executive, Janet Waggott, said that, as the service was outsourced 15 years ago, the authority now had “no in-house leisure expertise”, which meant outside help would be needed to decide how it is run after 2014.
If the £60,000 expenditure is approved by councillors, the money would come from the council’s reserves.
“This will allow the council to consider the various options available and ensure best value for the provision of leisure services is delivered,” said the report.
“Undertaking any procurement process can entail risk. This can be mitigated by allocating an appropriate resource to allow the council to buy the necessary skill to do the work.”
The report also said that while the current grant arrangement with CLL meant the funding was VAT-exempt, this could be challenged by HM Revenue and Customs and payments could even be backdated, which would cause financial difficulties for CLL, cost the council and potentially force leisure facilities to close while an “interim provider” was found.