Report of the Deputy Chief Executive by 30zZ0nk




Report of the Deputy Chief Executive

Executive Member: Councillor N. Bradbury

Purpose of Report

To note the changes to the governance arrangements of the Ashington Leisure Centre
Trust and agree to the appointment of two trustees.


It is recommended that the Executive

    (1) note the proposed changes to the governance arrangements of the Ashington
        Leisure Trust
    (2) agree to make appointments to the board in future rather than the South East
        Area Committee, given the council’s financial investment in the leisure centre
    (3) appoint two trustees to the new board after taking into account the
        commitment required by the Trust

Key Issues

    1. The trustees of Ashington Leisure Centre own the former miners welfare institute,
       recreation ground and land occupied by the swimming pool in the town. A
       management committee operates the trust. The council appoints 9 management
       committee members, of which 4 are trustees. Our current appointees are
       Councillors Bircham, Parry and Thompson (as trustees) with 1 vacancy. Councillor
       Lang is also a member of the management committee, with 4 other vacancies. The
       size of the management committee is unwieldy. It has 17 members with
       representation from CISWO, the NUM and leisure centre users who all have
       nomination rights.

    2. The management committee has reviewed its governance arrangements. It would
       like to move to a more manageable board of trustees with a maximum membership
       of ten. Its status would also change from an un-incorporated body to a charitable
       committee with limited liabilities. This would protect the position of the trustees.

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    3. Initially the Trust took the view that there should be no bodies with nominating
       rights. A meeting has, however, been held between your officers, the portfolio
       holder, the trust’s solicitors and the chairman of the trustees. Northumberland
       County Council contributes approximately £450,000 per annum to the operation of
       the leisure centre whose facilities are managed by the Council in conjunction with
       Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure. In view of this investment the Trust accepted a
       proposal that the council should make nominations to the Board. The maximum
       permitted by law is two councillors.

    4. This arrangement sits outside the council’s proposals to establish a new leisure
       centre in Ashington. It is possible that the Trust may not play a role in its future. If
       so, then it would be appropriate for the council to lose its nomination rights.

    5. The Trust requests that any appointees are able to make the necessary time
       commitment. In this respect it is suggested that the appointments remain until the
       next unitary council elections in May 2013. In view of the ‘strategic’ nature of the
       council’s role and investment it is suggested that the Executive make the
       appointments in the future and not the South East Area Committee.


Report Author         Paddy Gascoigne – Service Manager – Democratic Services
                      (01670) 533210

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Policy                          .....   The council will reduce the number of councillors
                                it appoints to the leisure trust.
Finance and value for money     .....The report takes recognisance of the considerable
                                investment by the council in the trust, hence the
                                preservation of the nomination rights

Human Resources                 ..... None
Property                        ..... The trustees will continue to hold the same
                                property as they do now

Equalities                      .....   None

Risk Assessment                     .....    A reduction in the number of trustees poses
minimal risk to the authority given that it can still make appointments.

Crime & Disorder                .....   None
Customer Considerations         .....   None

Sustainability                  .....   None

Consultation                    .....   The existing trustees are aware of the changes
                                        being made to how the trust operates and the fact
                                        that their number will be reduced.

Wards                                   Bothal

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