Performance Management of Leisure Contracts

Paul Burns made this Freedom of Information request to Worcester City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Worcester City Council,

I am interested in steps taken by the Council to ensure value for money and good standards in its leisure contracts with Leisure Connection / Harpers Fitness. I am unable to find anything on the Council’s website relating to this. At this stage I am not seeking any documents, just information on what is held.

I request support in identifying what documents exist that relate to performance management of Leisure Connection / Harpers Fitness. The period I am interested in is 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2011.

1. What minuted meetings attended by council officers or councillors review or monitor the contract?

2. What records of inspections / monitoring visits by council officers exist?

3. What records of customer complaints or analyses of these exist?

4. Are there any issues relating to premises managed by Leisure Connection / Harpers Fitness that are in correspondence or reports written by either Health & Safety of Environmental Health officers?

5. I am particularly interested in responses and documents that relate to the Quest Assessment of the Worcester Pool that was sent to Leisure Connection on 21 April 2009. This included “several concerns around cleaning, housekeeping and maintenance issues” identified by the Mystery Visitor and the need to develop “a monitoring system, which ensures Lifeguards are supervising the Pools appropriately”.

There was also a specific remark relating to Worcester Council. “Providing a formal review of the Contract agreement with Worcester City Council. This may identify an opportunity to improve the partnership by developing a structured approach to meetings as well as identifying common objectives, which may help to achieve key Business aims.”

Yours faithfully,

Paul Burns

Worcestershire Hub \(Please Do Not Reply\),

Thank you for contacting the Worcestershire Hub. Your enquiry has been logged and we will respond to you within 1 working day. Your unique reference number relating to this request is 4222778. Please do not reply to this email.

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Rachel Conway, Worcester City Council

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Dear Mr Burns

Please find attached your letter of acknowledgement in relation to the
Freedom of Information Request that you sent to Worcester City Council.

Regards

Rachel

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Rachel Conway, Worcester City Council

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Dear Mr Burns

Please find attached your holding letter in regards to your Freedom of
Information Request.

Regards

Rachel

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

Further to your recent information request please see my comments below
highlighted in blue.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [1][email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" [2]www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

[3]www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Dear Alan New & Rachel Conway,

Thank you for the substantive reply on August 1st to my request for initial information about management of leisure contracts.

I request the following documents under the FOI Act:

1) Minutes of the last six monthly Client/Contract meetings with the Contract Manager and Regional Manager of Leisure Connection, including any reports referred to in the minutes.

2) Health & Safety reports and letters sent to Leisure Connection by the Council in the last five years. I do not require all documents, only sufficient to establish the facts of each incident any sanctions or threats of sanctions involved.

3) Environmental Health reports and letters sent to Leisure Connection by the Council in the last five years. I do not require all documents, only sufficient to establish the facts of each incident and any sanctions or threats of sanctions involved.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

I apologise for the delay in getting the information to you but I'm currently waiting for documentation from my colleagues in Property Services and Environmental Health.

I'll then just need to check with Leisure Connection as to whether they consider any of the content to be commercially sensitive.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+ St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

5 Attachments

Hi Paul,

Please find attached the minutes of the last six monthly Client/Contract meetings. (Please note there all word documents so you may need to just convert some of them as there 2010 version as opposed to 2003)

The Environmental Health & Health & Safety reports should be with you in the next few days.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+ St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Dear Alan New,

Thank you for your response and five sets of minutes.

However, I requested "the last six monthly Client/Contract meetings withthe Contract Manager and Regional Manager of Leisure Connection,
including any reports referred to in the minutes."

1) You have sent five sets of minutes rather than six.

2) The reports referred to have not been sent.

3) My request was made on August 5th. Therefore minutes after that date were not requested.

I look forward to receiving two additional, earlier sets of minutes and the relevant reports.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

6 Attachments

Hi Paul,

Please accept my apologies for missing off the minutes of the May 2011 meeting. I've now attached them along with the minutes of the February 2011 meeting to replace the August 2011 minutes that you said you don't require.

I've also attached the full Quest reports and mystery visit reports from this year.

I'll send other documents by separate e-mail as I don't want to overload your system.

Kind regards,

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+ St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

6 Attachments

Hi Paul,

Please find attached copies of the Contract Managers reports discussed at
each Client/Contract meeting.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [1][email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" [2]www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

[3]www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
3. http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
4. http://www.worcester.gov.uk/

Alan New, Worcester City Council

3 Attachments

Hi Paul,

Please find attached the building condition surveys for both sites and the
Football Development Plan for Perdiswell Leisure Centre.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [1][email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" [2]www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

[3]www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
3. http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
4. http://www.worcester.gov.uk/

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

The above reports are only available in hard copy and I should get these
through from a colleague by the end of the week. I'll send them off to
your address on your website unless you let me know any differently.

I must say that you would appear to have put a lot of time and effort into
setting up and managing the LCW website and it certainly makes for an
interesting and informative read.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [1][email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" [2]www.advanceleisure.org.uk

find us on

[3]www.facebook.com/advanceleisure

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
3. http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
http://www.facebook.com/advanceleisure
4. http://www.worcester.gov.uk/

Dear Alan New,

Thank you for the material released today and your offer of hard copies. I assume this refers to Health & Safety and Environmental Health reports or correspondence. In my experience, it would be unusual for these to be more than a few pages each. In which case, I request that they are turned into scanned pdf files and posted on What Do They Know.

If the files are considerably larger, please advise as to the number of pages in total and I will respond further.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

4 Attachments

Hi Paul,

Health & Safety reports for both sites as promised. Environmental Health
reports to follow at a later date.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New

Business Development Manager

Worcester City Council

* [1][email address]

) 01905 721122/429900 / 357842

+St. Johns Sports Centre

& Nunnery Wood Sports Complex

" [2]www.advanceleisure.org.uk

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
http://www.advanceleisure.org.uk/
3. http://www.worcester.gov.uk/

Dear Alan New,

Thank you for the four files added today. Please note, two of these appear as blank documents when read on line as html files.

Your reference to other documents to follow without any indication of timescale or explanation for the delay is not acceptable. Please regard this as a complaint.

I specified the documents requested on August 5th.

Unless the missing items are posted by the end of Tuesday 13 September, I will notify the Information Commissioner of the failure to comply with timescales.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

I hope you had a nice weekend.

The remaining information is going out in the post tonight. Please note that it has been sent from two different locations and so will arrive separately in the next day or so. (subject to our friends at the Royal Mail)

As far as I'm aware you will then have received all the information you've requested, and I'd appreciate it if you would confirm that to be the case.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New
Business Development Manager
Worcester City Council
W  alan[email address]
a   01905 721122/429900 / 357842

/St. Johns Sports Centre
     & Nunnery Wood Sports Complex
 www.advanceleisure.org.uk 

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Dear Alan New,

Thank you for your message sent today.

I remind you that I specified the material be posted on WhatDoTheyKnow.

If you check with the Information Commission, they will tell such a request has to be met.

Failure to post the material as specified will result in a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

If you decline to post it, please consider this as my request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Information as requested.

Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Dear Alan New,

Having checked what is online against what was posted to me, I find several of the documents have not been made availabe as specified in my request.

Failure to place online all of the documents by the end of this week will result in a compaint to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

I've already spent hours co-ordinating your request so I'd appreciate it if you'd be a bit more specific on what you consider to be missing? I've now sent you around 40 documents relating to your original request.

If you send me a list of what you require I'll try and get the information to you as soon as possible, although I can't promise it will be posted by the end of the week.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New
Business Development Manager
Worcester City Council
W  alan[email address]
a   01905 721122/429900 / 357842

/St. Johns Sports Centre
     & Nunnery Wood Sports Complex
 www.advanceleisure.org.uk 

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Dear Alan Day, Thank you for your message sent earlier today.

I note the absence of any apology. I appreciate there is a certain amount of work involved, but you have significantly exceeded the guidelines for delivery. My plans to complain to the Information Commissioner if the missing material is not posted by the end of this week remain.

What you wrote suggests you do not have a record of what you sent to me by Royal Mail. If that is the case, how can you be sure that you have sent me everything written by Health and Safety / Environmental Health Officers that should have been sent?

What you have posted online includes:

Perdiswell Leisure Centre Reports of H&S Inspections
9.1.06
20.8.07
2.1.08
15.12.10

Worcester Swimming Pool Reports of H&S Inspections
21.2.08

What you have not posted online includes:

Worcester Swimming Pool Reports of H&S Inspections
6.3.08
1.4.08
20.8.08
18.5.09
5.6.09
20.8.09
21.3.11

Worcester Swimming Pool – letters and improvement notices 5.3.08 – total of 7 pages

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Paul,

With respect my name is Alan New not Alan Day and I fail to see why
you think I should apologise for uploading the documents you
requested. Having sent hard copies of the documents to you in the
post I then had to scan all the same documents and upload them to
this website at your request. I scanned and uploaded the documents
for Perdiswell Leisure individually but this was quite time
consuming so I decided to scan all the documents for Worcester
Swimming Pool in one document and then upload it. If you care to
check properly you'll see the last PDF I posted contains the
documents you require.

Contrary to your comments of course I know what I posted to you
because I had to also spend time scanning and uploading the same
documents as well.

I have to say that this whole process could have been made far more
effective if you'd chosen to work with me on the project instead of
adopting such an obtrusive nature from day 1.

I note that the status of this request had been changed from
successful to long overdue?

Can I assume that an apology will now be forthcoming?

Dear Alan New,

My apologies for getting your name wrong, which I cannot explain other than once long ago working with an Alan Day.

The apology I suggested from you was for documents not posted as requested. As far as I can tell, there are still some missing – two improvement notices dated March 5th 2008 (the letters and schedule for that date are posted).

Much of what I thought was missing was in the PDF as you said. When I studied this I got to the bottom of page 4, saw the handwritten “4 of 4” and assumed that was it. My apologies for this, but to be fair, when you posted the items on September 14 you provided nothing in the way of explanation.

I am within my rights to request for documents to be posted on line and have perfectly good reasons for doing this. One way in which Leisure Connection achieved its former dominance of the municipal leisure market was by keeping local authorities in ignorance of its widespread failings. I also think it should be a matter of public record when a council Health & Safety Officer raises the issue of qualifications held by a company’s Health & Safety Manager.

I do not know what you mean by “an obtrusive nature”, but I assume it is not a compliment when you say I displayed one from Day 1.

Day 1 was a request for background information made on July 6th. After you replied on August 1st, I specified in two of the three requests, “I do not require all documents, only sufficient to establish the facts of each incident, any sanctions or threats of sanctions involved."

You did not discuss with me what might be "sufficient", but it seems you see the lack of discussion as my failing alone.

Had you sent me the Health & Safety material first rather than last, I may well have decided some of the other material was not needed.

When the first material was posted on September 5th, it failed to meet what I had specified in three different ways. I politely pointed out what was lacking and you sent the missing material the next day. At the same time you advised that you would post hard copies of the remaining items to me.

I responded promptly asking for the items to be placed on What Do They Know. I also said, “If the files are considerably larger, please advise as to the number of pages in total and I will respond further.”

I do not see anything unpleasant, other than extra work for Council staff, in my requests to this date. As far as I can judge, my first sharp remark was on September 9th, when I complained that documents were overdue and I had not been given a date for completion.

You responded on September 12, disregarding my request by saying items were being sent by post.

Given the above, I suggest it is your turn to apologise for an unfair description of my behaviour from Day 1.

The overdue status will change when either you direct me to items I think are missing or you add them to What Do They Know

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

As far as I was aware I'd sent you everything you'd requested as
the statutory notices referenced below are included in the most
recent PDF that I uploaded to this website.

Improvement notice EH/RM/2039/08 appears on page 15 Improvement
notice EH/RM/2040/08 appears on page 14

The improvement notice which is referenced in the top right hand
corner of both documents also lists the schedule of work required
to be completed.

I've checked this with the Manager of the Regulatory Services
Department and she has confirmed that there is no other paperwork
outstanding relating to these notices.

On a separate matter I should also point out that I was away on
leave from the 4th July and your FOI was submitted to the City
Council on the 6th July. I returned to the office on Monday 25th
July to over 500 e-mails, one of course being your FOI request. I
then responded to you for the first time on the 1st August. This is
clearly an internal matter I need to address to our Service Manager
because whilst I fully understand why it was sent to me as Client
Officer the delay caused by my holiday is clearly not acceptable
given the timescales relating to FOI requests.

The thing I've found so frustrating with this whole experience is
that I can fully understand and appreciate the purpose behind your
quest to raise standards within the lesiure industry. As a Client
Officer I fully support the principle of trying to ensure private
leisure contractors perform to the highest possible standard. I'm
sure you can see that throughout our e-mail exchange I've tried to
develop a rapport with you, particularly in the early stages but
became progressively frustrated with the very formal and on
occasions demanding approach you chose to adopt. (Threats to
involve the Information Commissioner just don't help either side)
I'm not being critical just trying to highlight the fact that maybe
trying to develop a rapport with Client officers nationally would
bring a more positive response, and more effective exchange of
documentation.

Although you comment that "if I'd sent you the Health & Safety
reports first you may not have requested all of the documents" I've
sent you, I would hope that you can appreciate that given the range
of documents requested in your e-mail on 5th August I had to source
the inforamtion from a number of colleagues. Therefore I decided to
post them to you on the website in the order they were sent to me,
particularly being aware of the urgency you had placed on the
timescales.

I believe that I've now sent you everything you've requested in
order to comply with your FOI request and I would just respectfully
suggest that a less formal approach in the future may be more
effective. You make some very interesting and thought provoking
comments on your website, but throughout this process it feels like
we've been at loggerheads from the start even though we ironically
have a common interest in monitoring and trying to raise the
standards achieved by Leisure Connection. I really feel that if
we'd worked together and pulled in the same direction you'd have
got a much more honest and open assessment regarding the past and
current performance of the Worcester contract.

Good luck with the further development of the website in the
future.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Dear Alan New,

Thank you for your reply.

I am disappointed that you do not apologise for accusing me of unreasonable behaviour from an early stage when I made abundantly clear this was not the case. However, I will not debate this further.

To prevent people who make requests talking about complaints to the Information Commissioner, avoid giving cause for complaint. That is, supply what was requested without having to be reminded. And if you do not tell people by when they can expect overdue items, they are likely to suspect obfuscation no matter how much you may think you have developed rapport through your correspondence.

There are still two pages missing as speciifed when I last wrote. These are the Improvement Notices – not the letters and not the schedules, but the notices that include “The reasons for my said opinion are:”

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

Having spoken previously to the Manager of the Environmental Health Inspector who issued improvement notices EH/RM/2039/08 & EH/RM/2040/08 as he was not available at that time, I've now left messages via both telephone and e-mail for him to contact me directly to check his records against the documentation already supplied.

I'm out of the office all day tomorrow but in again for the rest of the week. As soon as I've been able to speak to him I'll let you know the outcome.

Due to the range of documents you've requested I've had to source them from a number of different individuals which in itself makes it very difficult to give you a specified time for getting the information back to you. At no point throughout the process have I deliberately withheld or slowed down the process of getting the information to you, but I am reliant on others getting back to me. Therefore, I've had to be vague as to when I would upload it to the website as no doubt if I'd told you I'd do it by a certain day and then they let me down, you'd have taken great delight in enquiring why I'd failed to hit the deadline.

If the above timeline is unacceptable to you then please let me know if you'd like to try and contact the person concerned directly, as I'll pass on their contacts details to you.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Mr Alan New
Business Development Manager
Worcester City Council
W  alan[email address]
a   01905 721122/429900 / 357842

/St. Johns Sports Centre
     & Nunnery Wood Sports Complex
 www.advanceleisure.org.uk 

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

Apologies for the fact your right about two pages being missing
from the original improvement notices. I've now got the hard copies
and will scan them in and upload them to the website by 4pm
tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

Hi Paul,

The two remaining pages of the improvement notice have now been
uploaded to the website. Therefore as far as I'm aware you've now
received copies of all the documents relating to your original FOI
request.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Dear Alan New,

Thank you for your latest instalment. Following approaches today I have discovered two further documents have not been posted.

These are the H&S reports on the Worcester Pool following inspections on 20.2.08 and 1.4.08.

Please advise when these will be available.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burns

Alan New, Worcester City Council

The Environmental Health Officer is currently sourcing the required documents from the archives and will then scan them and e-mail them to me. As soon as I receive them I will upload them to the website the same day.

Mr Alan New
Business Development Manager
Worcester City Council
W  alan[email address]
a   01905 721122/429900 / 357842

/St. Johns Sports Centre
     & Nunnery Wood Sports Complex
 www.advanceleisure.org.uk 

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Alan New, Worcester City Council

The Environmental Health Inspector has checked the archive files
and unfortunately has been unable to locate the hard copy
documents. However, at that time it was procedure for all reports
of visits/inspections to be copied into the EH database and we have
therefore been able to extract an electronic copy which I've
attached.

Kind regards,

Alan.

Alan New, Worcester City Council

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