Bevan Brittan has extensive experience of leisure, sports, library and culture infrastructure procurement and service delivery issues to include managing demand risk and not-for-profit models.
The provision of leisure services is a discretionary part of a local authority’s remit and, as a consequence and in spite of increasing demand and expectation with the advent of the London 2012 Olympics, this sector faces a range of challenges in attracting finance. These difficulties are magnified by both the current economic climate and the increasing pressure on local government budgets not diverted to mandatory public services. For instance, library provision is also a mandatory statutory service but one similarly in need of major investment to tackle a backlog of maintenance, the discrepancy in the quality of provision currently available across the UK and major IT improvements.
We have extensive experience of working with councils, private sector consortia and their consultants in reviewing and advising on leisure, library and culture strategy delivery options. This includes a review of the various options of type of contracting vehicle and type of management contract available to them (including a consideration of any short and long-term capital investment requirements) and the advantages of each option. This would usually then progress to the delivery phase of the solution. One example of our work in this area includes working with Birmingham City Council on procurement of its 50m swimming pool and three new-build leisure facilities. Our team has also acted forthe likes of the London Borough of Merton, Peterborough City Council, Swindon Borough Council and St Albans City Council on this type of work, exploring trust or hybrid trust delivery.
We have been working with the public and private sector to overcome significant financial challenges in the delivery of economicallyviable projects, which includes, for example, the absence of PFI credits and limited and oversubscribed capital funding. In our experience, local authorities are being encouraged to fund projects as part of their capital intensive regeneration projects.
To meet these challenges, a number of models have evolved, such as:
- PPP deals – more flexible PFI-style risk transfer with private finance or prudential borrowing
- DBOM deals - a type of PPP contract which provides for the Design, Build, Operate and Maintenance (DBOM) of facilities
- Leisure and BSF deals – utilising the BSF programme to improve dual-use provision as part of a wider leisure strategy
- Land swap deals - where developers build out leisure centres in exchange for housing land (a model challenged by the current housing market)
- Split Design & Build and Leisure operation arrangements with Interface Agreements – to try to replicate some of the advantages of DBOM
- Hybrid trust structures and charitable trust vehicles – social enterprise vehicles feature in the majority of our schemes
We have developed significant expertise to provide advice on all of the options, which are currently being utilised in this sector. Some of our work includes:
- 4ps Appointment and the delivery of 4ps Pathfinder PFI Projects – we advised on the original PFI and PPP model guidance and documentation and went onto update it for Libraries, Joint Service Centres (JSC) and DBOM. We were instructed by the four councils on each of the four first-wave projects (Lewisham, Breckland, Penwith and Amber Valley). These instructions coincided with and assisted in the development of the procurement pack and documentation. All four pathfinders reached financial close.
- John Laing Integrated Services - we are currently working with this consortium on an outsourcing of library, museum, park and theatre services in Hounslow.
- Wigan Council - we are advising the council on its leisure, library and JSC PFI Project.
- Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council - we advised this Council on its leisure facilities and JSC PFI project.
- Birmingham City Council - we are currently working with Birmingham City Council on an options appraisal for the procurement of its long awaited 50metre swimming pool and three new build leisure facilities.
- Bristol Active – Bristol Hengrove project - we are advising the Parkwood consortium as Preferred Bidder on this sports and leisure PFI facility at Hengrove Park.
- Bristol City Council - we advised the council on its pathfinder Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme – the first BSF project to close. This project includes the provision of leisure facilities for shared use.
- South Kesteven District Council - we advised the council on all aspects of its 15-year Leisure Management Contract, and in particular, on the use of hybrid trusts in delivering leisure services.
- Portsmouth City Council - Leisure PPP, leisure management contracts and a variation to the contract.
- Warrington Borough Council - we advised on its innovative redevelopment of the Orford Park area to include stadium, library, leisure and health facilities with funding from NWRDA and Sport England. We looked at social enterprise vehicles and compared delivery through such means with the council acting as a lead developer as well as delivery by the local LIFTCo and innovative DBOM structures.
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council - we advised the Parkwood consortium and Bank of Ireland on the Solihull Leisure PPP scheme.
- London Borough of Bexley - we advised the Parkwood consortium on this leisure PPP project. This was the largest leisure PPP scheme to close to date. We also advised on the £15million variation to the project, which had a unique financing solution.