Leisure News Update 225/11/2013
Welcome to the second ‘Leisure News Update’, which aims to provide all staff with information on progress towards establishing the new leisure trust.
Recent Information Visits
Following the recent round of visits to sites and discussions with staff teams it is clear that everyone is looking to embrace the changes ahead and the positives it will have for themselves and the users of the service. Two clear messages came back from staff as part of the visits, firstly a need to understand better what a Charitable Trust actually is and secondly that there is a need for a way in which the staff can be more involved to allow a two way discussion as the project progresses . On this the Leisure Facilities Manager will shortly be setting up a specific monthly team meeting and each site/service will be asked to nominate a representative. If you want to get involved please ask your line manager for details.
In answer to “what is a charitable trust”, although not an exhaustive list, below are some key defining principles :
• The trust will be a new ‘arms length’ company, separate from the Council.
• The trust will therefore be a body recognised by the Charities Commission making its own decisions.
• The trust will receive an annual grant or management fee to achieve this. The remainder of funding will come from income generated from users and external grants.
• A trust can achieve financial savings in a range of areas including VAT that the Council cannot.
• The trust can re-invest any surplus income it makes back into the company to improve the facilities and services provided.
• The trust will be managed by a board of directors. Most trust have up to ten directors, 20% of the directors can be appointed to represent the Council.
• The trust must have a clear social and health mission as set out in documents approved by the Charities Commission.
• Facilities are leased to the trust but they are still owned by the Council.
• The trust will have a lease (length to be agreed) where it will be required to achieve the outcomes for the service as set out by the Council in a ‘specification’ (opening hours, key health programmes to be delivered and so on).
Formal Consultation With Staff
A key part of the move towards a new trust is formal consultation with contracted employees. It is a process that the Council is legally required to undertake. The recent information visits touched very generally on this issue, as staff terms and conditions are clearly paramount in people’s minds at times of change. The process will commence shortly and involve team discussions along with senior leisure managers and colleagues from HR. There will also be an opportunity later on for individuals to raise issues specific to themselves. At the meetings there will be the opportunity to ask a range of questions about what the changes will mean generally for staff. As with all formal consultations the meetings will also include the trade unions. The key unions involved are: