Agenda item

Agenda item

Leisure & Wellbeing Strategy 2015-20

Contact Officer: Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services,

Tel:  01865 252705  e-mail:


Background Information


The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre decision scrutiny.


Why is it on the agenda?


The City Executive Board will be asked to approve the Leisure & Wellbeing Strategy, 2015-20 at the meeting on 10 September 2015. This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.


Who has been invited to comment?


Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services,

Lucy Cherry, Leisure and Performance Manager.




The Head of Community Services presented the Leisure and Wellbeing Strategy, 2015 – 2020, explaining that this replaced the previous Leisure Strategy.  As the draft Leisure and Wellbeing Strategy had previously gone to the City Executive Board at the pre-consultation stage the Committee focused the majority of its discussion on how the City Council had responded to feedback received in the consultation.


A member of the public addressed the Committee on this agenda item, expressing concerns about the consultation methodology, the response level and the lack of leisure provision in some areas of the city.


The Head of Community Services said that the Council had invested in facilities and that leisure centre usage had increased, especially amongst target groups.  The Leisure & Wellbeing Strategy used Sport England models which showed that the city as a whole was well served for leisure provision.  The Committee heard that the new Leys pool was performing very well in terms of visitor numbers, some of whom were travelling in to the city. 


In response to a question about black and minority ethnic participation, the Head of Community Services said the consultation had also included meetings with representatives of community groups, public health, the County Sports Partnership, teachers and focus sessions with target groups.  The Board Member assured the Committee that taken together, the consultation data gathered provided a robust view. 


The Committee noted that it was not possible to say whether the increase in participation levels at Council facilities was at the expense of private leisure centre usage because the private companies did not publish such commercially sensitive information.


The Head of Community Services said that one consistent message received in the consultation responses was that the Council could be better at communicating the leisure service offering.  He said that the Council was working on different initiatives to achieve this and cited the new Bungee mobile app for young people as an example of the Council working with local schools to improve communication within a target group.  The Committee questioned whether this could be extended so that service users could use Council apps to book classes or crèches at leisure facilities.  The Head of Community Services said that this was not currently possible but was something that the Council hoped to deliver in the future.  It was suggested that Fusion Lifestyle should be encouraged to develop its own app to enable leisure bookings.


The Committee also suggested that the strategy should include more emphasis on integrating leisure facilities with the city’s broader leisure offer, which included anywhere that sport and physical activity could take place, such as community centres and community buildings such as schools, churches and village halls.


The Committee also asked questions about cycling, whether the targets for increasing leisure centre usage were viable and the financial cost of delivering the strategy.  The Board Member said that providing an overall figure would be misleading, as some money had been budgeted for and other figures would be conjecture.


The Committee requested an update on facility running costs, including capital and revenue spend, following on from a scrutiny recommendation on the Fusion Lifestyle Performance 2013-2014 report, in June 2014.


In a subsequent discussion under agenda item 6: Integrated Performance Report Q1, 2015-16 (minute 30 refers) the Committee noted that one of the performance indicators (LP106) suggested that the level of participation at our leisure centres by target groups was below target for 2015/16 quarter 1.


The Scrutiny Committee resolved to AGREE to make the following recommendations to the City Executive Board:


1.    That the City Council looks into extending the functionality of its mobile apps to enable leisure bookings.


2.    That the City Council’s Leisure and Wellbeing Strategy includes a greater emphasis on strengthening integration between leisure centres and the broader leisure offer, including community centres.


3.    That the City Council continues to monitor the accessibility of leisure provision across Oxford, including in those parts of the city that have no swimming pools within a 20 walk, such as Littlemore and Cowley, and how this relates to leisure target groups (the Committee noted that corporate performance measure LP106: To increase participation at our leisure centres by target groups was below target for 2015/16 quarter 1).


Councillor Fry left the meeting during this item.

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