Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure complex; Bangor Sportsplex; Queen’s Leisure Complex, Holywood; and sports grounds and sports development services in northern part of borough will return to full council management and control as of 31st March 2023.
Decision to end outsourcing leaves Belfast City Council as the only remaining local authority in Northern Ireland with outsourced leisure services – to Greenwich Leisure Limited.
August 5th: Unite Regional Officer Joanne McWilliams has welcomed the news that Ards and North Down Borough Council voted to bring leisure services back in-house allowing the contract of delivery by the Northern Community Leisure Trust to come to an end in March 2023:
“This confirmation that councillors have voted against renewing the contract with the Northern Community Leisure Trust for management of leisure services will come as welcome news to workers in Ards and North Down Borough Council. This ends a disastrous ten-year-long experiment initiated by the legacy North Down Borough council where vital public services were unnecessarily outsourced – with poor outcomes for service users and staff, with limited democratic oversight and opportunities for accountability.
“The decision will mean that Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure complex; Bangor Sportsplex; Queen’s Leisure Complex, Holywood; and sports grounds and sports development services in northern part of borough will return to full council management and control as of 31st March 2023. This is an outcome which our union and our members has long sought.
“Bringing the management of these leisure services back in-house will mean a more coherent approach to their management, greater genuine efficiencies in delivery, the adoption of consistent policies across services, improved membership packages giving greater flexibility and opens the door to increased investment in this public good.
“This decision follows a similar one at the legacy Magherafelt District Council a number of years ago and leaves Belfast City Council as the only local authority remaining in Northern Ireland with outsourced management of its leisure facilities – in that case to the disastrous Greenwich Leisure Limited. Unite is calling for councillors there to look to the example of Ards & North Down and move to end outsourcing of leisure services throughout Northern Ireland.
“Looking forward here in Ards & North Down Borough Council, Unite will be working with council management to ensure that this opportunity to bring forward world-class leisure services is grasped. The pandemic has confirmed the vital importance of leisure amenities for public health and well-being – there is now nothing to stop us bringing forward a step-change in access and uptake to the advantage of residents in this borough”, Ms McWilliams concluded.