Derby City Council

How the £250k Moorways Swimming Pool saving was calculated.

Previously the Council had advised that they could not provide numbers regarding the savings attributable to Moorways. In a further request they have supplied this breakdown which supports the numbers ( more or less) budgetted in the financial plan.

The plan showed £214k in 2016/17; £268k in 2017/18; £368k in 2018/19.

Due to the problems at Queen’s Street Bath then the savings in 2016/17 will be considerably less than £214k. How many of the ~20 staff are still employed is the subject of a future question. Perhaps one of the readers may know, and can comment.

All of the costs seem to be relevant to the closure of the pool, provided that all staff are specific to the running of the pool and therefore the immediate benefit of the closure is broadly correct.

What the calculation doesn’t include is the social cost of the closure, including the consequential financial effects of many of the elderly, disabled, and young users who stop swimming altogether. This should not have been ignored in the original calculation.  Most organisations struggle to make decisions which involve effects beyond the immediate financial analysis – fine if you’re making widgets, but not entirely relevant for a Council.


3 replies »

  1. From the budget they have put together the operating deficit looks realistic, however this is not the full budget sheet. When they chop it about you don’t have the full picture and you don’t know what they’ve removed.

    Clearly the closure of the sports centre has drastically limited income generating potential so an argument to close the pool was always likely to follow as it stacks up when finances are presented.

    Swimming pools cost a greater amount to operate and they very rarely can do so in isolation and be profitable – they need to be part of a wider offer.

    This situation leads to where it is now. My question would be – where was the long term strategy for provision of leisure facilities when the council knows significant budget pressures are going to hit?

    With a reducing budget, feasibility for running their facilities should have been undertaken and a plan put in place to avoid closures, even if this meant exploring other management/operating models.

    High costs have not led to the closure of this facility – a lack of strategy has.

    The Council need to face facts and seriously consider outsourcing the service to another operator and by doing so, protect a vital service for local people, protect jobs/prevent redundancies and save money in both the capital and revenue budget.

    Instead they are burying their head in the sand, thinking a Council with huge back office costs, ageing facilities (apart from the arena), lack of commercial expertise, slow internal decision making processes and growing local competition could continue to run facilities the same as they have previously.

    Result of this – local people, who the council’s core purpose is to serve suffer, especially those who need it most. Frustrating isn’t the word!

  2. I don’t suppose you have any details of overall loss of income from public swimming do you? Between those lost from Moorways and those lost from QLC, it must be a lot. It is practically impossible to swim at QLC on Saturday morning due to the amount of space given over for the swimming club, so revenue must be down quite significantly.

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