Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 10th August, 2021 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Democratic Services Team 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chapelard, Hickey and Ms Palmer.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 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.


There were no declarations of use of the party whip.


Notification of Persons Registered to Speak pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To note any Visiting Members or members of the public wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18 or 19, and which item(s) they wish to speak on.

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Councillors Dawlings and March were in attendance and presenting the response to the Call-In on behalf of the Cabinet in respect of item OSC28/21.


There were no members of the public or Visiting Members registered to speak.


Call-In of Cabinet Decision: Sports Centre Management Contract pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To consider the called-in item, details of which are set out in the associated report, and to decide a response.

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The Chairman explained the Call-In process.


Councillor Hayward presented the Call-In on behalf of those who had signed the Call-In request. Comments included:

·         The enquiry was on the soundness of the decision made by the Cabinet.

·         The basis of the call-in was that there was insufficient consultation prior to the decision being made, there was insufficient evidence on which to base the decision and there was insufficient consideration of legal or financial advice.

·         The decision was against a backdrop of financial insecurity for all parties.

·         The leisure contract had not been performing before the pandemic.

·         Alternatives had not been explored despite the problems with the contract being well known.

·         Procurement processes had been too heavily weighted to cost over quality.

·         A lack of alternatives had resulted in the uncontested option of renewing the contract.

·         Health and leisure services would be vital to the recovery from the pandemic

·         The option of bringing the service in-house had been dismissed due to a lack of resources, difficulties of transferring staff employment rights under TUPE and the financial risk; but no analysis of the actual cost and practicalities had been undertaken.

·         Examples of successful and profitable in-house services were available.

·         There was still time to undertake an assessment of in-house or other local providers options including other local authorities.

·         No risks of extending the contact, including the reputational damage to the Council and Fusion’s own financial status, were included in the report to Cabinet.

·         The decision should be returned to Cabinet with a proper analysis of alternatives and risks.


There were no questions to Cllr Hayward.


Councillor March presented part of the response to the Call-In for the Cabinet and the points raised included:

·         A full procurement process was not part of the contract extension but if it had been it would have taken considerable time and resources to undertake.

·         A review of the current contract was started in early 2020 but this had been stymied by the pandemic. A project team was established in October 2020 to prepare a new tender process but this too was affected by the second wave in December 2020.

·         The impact of the pandemic on the market and users of the leisure services was significant which required a more strategic review of the service as a whole.

·         The need to extend the contract to allow a fundamental review had been briefed to members through various forums in January and February 2021.

·         Fusion had experience, economies of scale and resilience needed to operate and maintain a wide variety of specialist equipment and facilities.

·         A longer extension would also provide for additional investment by Fusion.

·         The decision to extend the contract was to allow time for a full strategic assessment of the service. Further, it would mitigate the risks of running the services during a period of high unpredictability.

·         The future procurement of a new service would follow a formal process and address all the issues raised by the call-in.

·         The decision had been supported by the Cabinet Advisory Board.  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC28/21


Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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There was no urgent business for consideration.


Date of the next meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the next scheduled is Monday 27 September 2021.

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The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 27 September 2021.


Exempt Appendix to Call-In of Cabinet Decision: Sports Centre Management Contract (Item 4) pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Exempt by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended): Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.

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The item was considered in public taking the exempt information as read.