Martin Ford 12 April 2021

Labour council pressed to insource service

Labour council pressed to insource service image

Neath Port Talbot CBC has been urged to bring its leisure services under direct control as it searches for a new operator.

Five sports and leisure centres, a swimming pool and an arts centre are currently run by Celtic Leisure on behalf of the council under a contract due to end in September, following a six-month extension.

The trade union Unison has launched a campaign to bring the service in-house rather than appointing another outside company.

A report to Neath Port Talbot’s Labour cabinet found Celtic Leisure was ‘clearly unable to operate the facilities and services within the existing financial contribution from the council’ and a new operator was required to ensure service delivery, generate efficiencies and reduce the subsidy from the council.

The report said outsourcing the service would ensure ‘contractual cost certainty’, and a large-scale operator would benefit from economies of scale, an established brand and specialist industry skills.

But Unison’s Neath Port Talbot branch chair, Mark Fisher, said: ‘Local people need a say in how their leisure centres are operated and that means the council running them directly.

‘We want every penny generated reinvested to improve community leisure services - not disappearing into private pockets.'

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