Decision details

Financial Assistance for Parkwood Leisure during the Covid-19 crisis

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Since central Government ordered the closure of public leisure facilities on 20th March 2020, Parkwood Leisure has received no income from the three leisure facilities it operates on behalf of NDC under the North Devon Leisure Contract and Tarka Tennis Centre Contract. Other than benefiting from the Government furlough scheme, Parkwood (like other leisure operators in the UK) are exempt from most of hte Government's Covid-19 emergency support packages. Despite 97% of their staff being furloughed and utility consumption reduced ot a minimum at the leisure facilities, the North Devon Contract is currently losing between £35, 000 to £40, 000 per month. The current leisure and tennis centre contracts expire on Sunday 3rd May 2020 and without financial assistance from NDC to cover the losses outlined above, Parkwood will not be in a position to enter into the interim contract arrangements (as previously agreed at the March 2020 Strategy


Option one has been agreed on.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 - The maximum amount of support Parkwood is requesting to cover contractual losses for the next month is £40,000. This sum can be vired from an existing, leisure centre Response Maintenance budget into a leisure subsidy code and made available to pay to Parkwood upon application. Any payment made to Parkwood will be subject to the terms and conditions of the interim contract, which follows the principals fo the Governments Procurement Policy Notes 02/201 (PPN 02/20) on supplier relief during the Covid-19 crises. These terms mitigate against contractors claiming relief from local authorities without them first exhausting all other options for assistance and ensures they are not financially better off than they would be when operating under normal conditions. The interim contract also dictates that the authority will only make a payment if it has the financial means to do so.
The maintenance budget from which the £40,000 will be taken is currently used for both leisure facility and theatre repairs. The budget should still be adequate to cover repairs for the rest of the financial year but there is a low risk that the budget will be insufficient if we experience a high number of unexpected maintenance issues. If the funds and financial assistance are not made available, Parkwood will not be in a position to enter into the interim contract and leisure facilities will either have to close indefinitely or be run in house by NDC from Monday 4th May 2020. Keys will be handed back on Monday and NDC will become responsible for running the facilities in house with immediate responsibility for all utilities, rates, maintenance and staffing. This is likely to exceed the £40,000 per month costs associated with providing support to Parkwood.
Option 2 - Re-tender an interim, 18-month contract to run the facilities. It is unlikely any provider would be interested in tendering for such a short contractual period (particularly in light of the current Covid-19 crisis).
Option 3 - Close the facilities indefinitely and no longer provide leisure services. Closing the centres is not considered acceptable.

Publication date: 18/05/2020

Date of decision: 30/04/2020