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Stevenage Borough Council Statement

The council has had a contract with Stevenage Leisure Ltd (SLL) for over 24 years. This contract is due to finish at the end of March 2023, and because of this we started a review of the current contract 18 months ago and looked at several options for managing the facilities going forward from April 2023.

It was clear from our review that the contract was out of date, and the leisure market and user demand had changed considerably over the past 24 years. By rewriting the contract and putting it to the open market, we’re ensuring we get best value for money by allowing other reputable operators to competitively bid for the management and operation of our leisure facilities and services in Stevenage.

How does the council know that Everyone Active is fit for purpose?

The council has gone through a rigorous procurement process, where all the operators had to prove financial stability, demonstrate a successful track record of operating facilities on behalf of local authorities, comply with legislation and statutory requirements, and meet the high standards the council requires to manage its facilities.

Why is the council outsourcing our leisure facilities?

We did consider managing the facilities ourselves, but this would be at a greater cost to the taxpayer, and we do not have the in-house expertise and structure to run the facilities and services.

The council were obliged to tender the new contract in accordance with the Public Contracts, Regulations 2015. The council has awarded the leisure contract to Everyone Active which will begin on 1 April 2023. In terms of the facilities and services SLL provided, there will be a smooth transfer over to the new operator. Everyone Active will provide the same facilities and services to ensure customers will not be affected.

SLL is a charity, why would the council give a contract to a private company?

SLL are a private company and a charity. Everyone Active also has charitable status.

When will the contract be awarded?

The council awarded the contract on 30 December 2022 and will start on 1 April 2023.

Is there a risk that Everyone Active will close or change the facilities or reduce services?

No, any changes would have to be agreed by the council. The delivery of services is governed by a robust contract and specification which sets out the council’s requirements and expected performance standards.

How does the council know that a new contract will be better than the current contract?

The current contract is out of date and needed updating. The new contract is one that was developed by Sport England and a range of industry experts and reflects current best practice in leisure commissioning. As a result, the contract specification (what the council requires from the operator) is a significant improvement on the current contract.

I have a fitness membership - will this continue?

Yes, your membership will continue regardless of who is operating the facilities.

My children are having swimming lessons - will these be cancelled?

No, all swimming lessons will continue.

I have booked a course - will this be cancelled?

No, all courses will continue.

I have a golf membership. Will this be cancelled?

No, golf memberships will not be cancelled.

I have booked and paid for theatre tickets. Will shows be cancelled, and will I get a refund?

All shows will continue as per the theatre programme, so your tickets are safe and still valid.

I have booked a wedding reception. Will this be cancelled?

No, all special event bookings will continue as booked.

I am part of an affiliated club that use the leisure facilities. Will our regular bookings be cancelled or changed?

No, all affiliated club bookings are protected and will not change.

Because there is a new contract will the price increase?

Prices will not increase because of the new contract. There is already an annual price review within the current contract in April each year, where some prices increase, and this will remain the same in the future. Prices are subject to market forces, such as inflation and the cost of utilities.

I am an employee. Will I lose my job if a new operator is appointed?

No, all permanent staff will be transferred over to the new operator under the same terms and conditions as required by employment law (TUPE) Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment).

I am an instructor who is not a permanent employee. Will I lose my job, or will I have a pay cut if a new operator is appointed?

Instructors and coaches are employed in non-permanent roles as it is dependent on what services and courses are running, and what demand there is for those. In terms of pay, this relates to the specialist nature of coaches and instructors which may vary dependent on the specialist nature and demand of customers for the activity. That is the case now and will continue to be the case if a new operator is appointed.