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Agenda item

Adult Social Care Strategy and Budget


The Leisure Strategy Manager introduced the report on behalf of the Director Adults and Communities.  It was explained that the Director had sent his apologies and was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.  Therefore, Members were requested to focus their attention on the Adult Social Care budget and the proposed Slough leisure fees and charges elements of the report and to defer consideration of the Adult Social Care Strategy until the next meeting.


The Panel was provided with a presentation that outlined: the Adult Social Care Budget 2020/21 and how the funding was spent; the Slough leisure offer and the proposed fee and charges for use of the Everyone Active centres.


It was highlighted that Slough residents were some of the most inactive in the country.  However, over the last 12 months there had been a ‘turn in the tide’ with a recent 3.4% drop in the level of inactivity amongst residents, as measured by the Sport England ‘Active Lives’ survey. 


The Panel was informed that Slough residents were fortunate to have one of the most comprehensive and affordable leisure offers in the region, along with modern, flagship leisure facilities.  In addition, there were a number of budget gyms and sports clubs situated in the town.  Over the last five years sports facilities in parks and open spaces across the Borough had seen significant investment including: the installation of twenty-six green gyms, seven new multi-use games areas, a skate park, a parkour park, seven artificial cricket wickets, four cricket practice nets and a network of dedicated walking tracks, all of which were free to use.

The Active Slough Team offered a comprehensive and affordable activity programme of over 90 sessions a week, 30% of the sessions were free to use.  On average 1,250 participants engaged with the Active Slough programme every week. 


In relation to leisure centre fees and charges, it was explained that the current prices had been approved by the Council’s Leisure Strategy Board, and had been benchmarked against neighbouring authorities, including Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell, Ealing and Brent.  Slough’s leisure centre prices remained as one of the lowest in the surrounding area. 


The Chair then invited comments and questions from Members.


During the course of the discussion, the following points were raised:


·  Concern was raised regarding disabled access to the Council’s leisure centres.  In particular, the misuse of blue badges was highlighted.  The Leisure Strategy Manager undertook to investigate this issue further.

·  A Member congratulated the continued success of Slough’s Mental Health Services for being ranked amongst the highest nationally in several measures and noted that it had been shortlisted for a national ‘Innovation in Health’ award for the approach adopted to treat mental health.

·  It was noted that membership of Council owned leisure centres was £42 per month, whereas other gyms in Slough charged £14 per month.  Concern was raised that membership of the Council owned leisure centres was too high.  In response, it was explained that there was a variety of leisure offers available in Slough.  The Council owned leisure centres had received significant investment and offered good quality facilities with large swimming pools.  Residents had the option of choosing a budget or a quality offer.

·  Concern was raised that the significant Council investment in leisure facilities was not reflected in improved health outcomes for residents.  A Member queried if the barrier to engagement in physical activity was due to a lack of information, the cost or lack of motivation.  It was explained that the reasons for inactivity were complex.  The Council had provided the infrastructure; and marketing and awareness raising would continue to be promoted.  It was noted that Everyone Active was a national company with a large, expert marketing team to undertake public communication campaigns.  Tackling resident inactivity would remain central to the Council’s Five Year Leisure Strategy.  Members were informed that a research project had indicated that when a local authority provided a free leisure pass to residents it had not motivated the intended target residents to become active.  Rather, existing gyms users had cancelled their memberships and opted to use council owned gyms and non gym users had continued to remain inactive.

·  A Member asked how many people had a Council gym membership.  The Leisure Service Manager agreed to seek this information and circulate a response to the Panel.

·  It was highlighted that events such as the Slough half marathon encouraged residents to take up exercise and train for an event.  A Member asked if there were any plans for the Council to organise a marathon event.  It was explained that running events were very expensive and complex to arrange; the feasibility of hosting a future event was currently being considered.


The Chair thanked the Leisure Service Manager and the Service Lead, Communities and Leisure for the report.


Resolved –


(a)  That the fees and charges for leisure provision in Slough be noted.


(b)  That in the absence of the Director Adults and Communities, the Panel agreed to defer further consideration of the Adult Social Care Strategy and Budget report until the meeting scheduled to be held on 23rd March 2020.


(c)  That the Leisure Service Manager be requested to circulate to the Panel responses to the queries raised during consideration of the report, as detailed above.


(Councillor N Holledge left the Council Chamber)

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