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Flintshire leisure and library services to be first in Wales

Published: 04/01/2017

A ground breaking way of delivering leisure and library services has been given a massive thumbs-up from the workforce, following a recent vote. Turnout was 92.5% among leisure and library employees and they gave a resounding 90% yes to the proposals to set up a Community Benefit Society to deliver leisure and library services from 1 July 2017. This followed a Council decision to agree to the establishment of the new organisation to manage the services from July 2017. This is a first for Wales and one of only a handful of organisations to run services such as these in the whole of the UK. The business plan shows that in the first full year, over £500,000 of savings can be made to the service operation while Flintshire County Council is making a capital investment of almost £1m to improve leisure and library buildings, play areas and artificial pitches in the county. The overall model aims to provide savings of 10% year on year while maintaining and improving existing service levels and protecting jobs. Employees will be represented on the Board of the organisation. The new organisation and the Council will work openly and transparently together with co-operative values and will meet twice a year through a partnership board. The Leader of the Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said: “This organisation will be one of the few employee-led organisations operating leisure and library services in the United Kingdom and the level of employee support shown by the recent vote is unique. The Community Benefit Society will be able to demonstrate the value of employees being at the heart of an organisation and help shape models of public service delivery for the future that show how services at risk can be protected while achieving financial and service requirements and retaining accountability to the public and the workforce.” Mike Welch, the newly appointed Managing Director of the employee-led organisation, said: “Everyone has worked so hard over the past few months to achieve this historic result and I am immensely proud to be appointed to lead this new organisation. We believe our colleagues will rise to the challenge. No-one is better placed than them to be able to identify improvements and innovations in service delivery for the benefit of our customers. We will work together and concentrate on our core business and our vision “More people, more active minds and bodies, more often.” The future looks bright and exciting for leisure and libraries in Flintshire.”