Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Monday, 16th August, 2021 3.00 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 


No. Item


Apologies pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bailey and Fairweather.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by Members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest; please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

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There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.


Notification of Persons Registered to Speak pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note any members of the Council or members of the public registered to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 28.4 and 28.6, and which item(s) they wish to speak on.

Additional documents:


Councillors Bailey, Hamilton, Hayward and Pound had registered as wishing to speak on Agenda Item 4 – Sports Centre Management Contract.  .


Further Consideration of Cabinet Decision - Sports Centre Management Contract pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:




  1. That the views and reasons cited by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be noted.
  2. That the original decision made by Cabinet on 29 July 2021 in respect of the Sports Centre Management Contract be approved with immediate effect.



To allow the continuation of sports provision across the Borough whilst maintaining a sustainable level of operation over the medium term.




Registered Speakers:


Councillor David Hayward

Councillor Hugo Pound

Councillor Sarah Hamilton

Councillor Matthew Bailey (Statement read out on his behalf)


Discussion by Members included the following:


-       The aim over the last 18 months was to ensure continuity of service to residents and to improve their experience in the 3 leisure centres.

-       A total of 1 ½ million people use the centres each year.

-       The decision by Cabinet was for an extension, not procurement.

-       The 5 conditions that Cabinet agreed would allow for a full consultation that followed Best Practice from Sport England and a full procurement exercise.

-       Regular meetings took place that allowed ample opportunity for all Members to raise any concerns or questions.

-       Fusion were an experienced supplier well able to manage in this specialised field.

-       The process for a new contract was extensive and would take time.  A decision was therefore taken to extend the existing contract that would allow time to conduct a full review of all the options.  It would further allow the market to fully recover from the pandemic and for people to adjust to the new normal with regard to the use and demand of sports facilities.

-       It was important to secure the services for residents without further interruptions.

-       There would be a need to establish which suppliers would still exist once the effects of the pandemic had eased.

-       It was standard practice to have different rules for a contract extension and a new contract.

-       A contract extension at this time was in the best interest of residents as it secured the current levels of service.  It also secured management fees and capital investment and avoided any potential mothballing or gap in provision.

-       Due to the pandemic, cleaning services were being undertaken by all staff.  It was now standard practice for all equipment to be cleaned after every user.

-       The extension mitigated against short term risk and allowed the services to continue uninterrupted.

-       Given the unprecedented conditions during the pandemic, waiving the management fee last year was not an unusual action to take.  Government were keen to encourage local councils to support local businesses.  In any event, it was likely most of the money would be recovered.

-       The decision taken by Cabinet was well researched and well understood. 

-       At the appropriate time, other organisations would be approached.

-       Membership at the centres had increased.

-       Government had supported companies including Fusion with loans that would allow them to get through a very difficult time. 

-       A considerable amount of work would be needed in order to establish if other organisations were in a position to be able to offer the service required to run a sports facility. 

-       Careful consideration would need to be given before any alternative company could be put forward as a viable option.

-       The Council were clear that Fusion must deliver an acceptable level  of service.  There were no guarantees with regards to  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB50/21