Issue - meetings

Leisure Provision in Sevenoaks District - external review

Meeting: 08/07/2021 - Cabinet (Item 20)

20 Leisure Provision in Sevenoaks District - external review pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder for People & Places presented the report providing an update on the work commissioned by the District Council and Sencio Community Leisure, and undertaken by Max Associates, an external leisure consultant, to review Sencio’s operating model, recovery plan and financial appraisal.


The Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Officer for People & Places advised that the consultant’s report would enable Members to make an informed decision on future options for supporting Council owned leisure facilities. The Leisure sector across the country had been massively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was expected this impact would be felt not only in the short term, but also for the medium to long term nationally.  Council’s across the country were working hard to keep supporting leisure providers and facilities during the Coronavirus crisis.


Despite the Council’s own finances being hit hard, the authority had supported Sencio with £376,950 in the past year with grants and paying its annual management fees up front. It also agreed to delay loan repayments from Sencio to the Council of £88,000 up to March 2021. Sencio had also benefited from a £235,000 grant from the National Leisure Recovery Fund, following a joint application with the Council and £144,362.29 from various business grants administrated by the Council. It had also been assisted through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Chairman confirmed that the Council would continue to support leisure provision in the District.


Despite receiving over £756,300 of public money, the trust was currently facing a budget shortfall of £2 million, which included a pre-Covid trading deficit.


Members noted that Sencio operates as an independent leisure trust and its business is directed and managed by the Sencio management team and its Board of Trustees.


Members considered the information before them, noting the information that had been provided in the exempted appendices. In response to a question from a Member, the Chairman explained that it was not in the gift of the Council to take the Sencio operation in-house.


Public Sector Equality Duty

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.


Resolved: That


a)    the report and appendices be noted;


b)   taking into account the significant risk and recommendations summarised in section 6.4 of Max Associates report (Appendix A), no further financial support be considered;


c)    in the event that Sencio ceases to trade, delegated authority be given to the Chief Officer – People & Places and Chief Officer – Finance & Trading to investigate an interim shorter term leisure operator for temporary leisure delivery to the community and enter into a contract subject to consultation with the Cabinet Member for People & Places and Cabinet Member for Finance & Investment.


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