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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-10-03

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Leisure, culture, parks and library services set for a boost

FACILITIES including:- Leisure Centres, libraries, parks and the Floral Pavilion are set for a major boost in Wirral following the 1st Phase of the Council's review of the services.

The Council's cabinet will soon be be asked to approve the development of a 'business case' which will see leisure and culture services throughout the borough redesigned, with the potential to create a charitable trust to run the services 1 of the options on the table.

Cllr Ann McLachlan, cabinet member for transformation, leisure and culture, said:- "We know how important these services are to local people. Having a library, a leisure centre and fantastic museums and theatres on your doorstep is 1 of things which make Wirral such a great place to live. As Councils up and down the country are forced into making blunt cuts to these vital community facilities, as they battle to cope with ever increasing funding reductions, I'm delighted we are taking such a different, imaginative approach in Wirral. We have brought in national experts to review what we do, and how we do it, and help us come up with new ideas to deliver these services in a better, more modern way; for less money. We're determined to make sure Wirral residents are able to access leisure, culture and library services of the highest possible quality and the work which has been d1 so far is a big step forward."

The report which cabinet will be considered at a meeting, due to take place on 27 March 2017, provides details of initial research and analysis which has been completed, and will propose 3 options for the future delivery of the services are explored further:-

A redesigned set of in house, Council Services.

The creation of a Council owned community interest company to deliver the services.

The creation of a charitable trust to deliver the services.

Options already ruled out include creating a commercial company to run the services, and the 'outsourcing' or 'privatisation' of the services.

Cllr McLachlan continued:- "The outcome of this work is going to provide Wirral residents with an outstanding set of services to enjoy. Leisure, libraries, culture and arts are incredibly important; they are 1 of our key Pledges. Despite the continuing financial challenges we face, through the work we are doing I am entirely confident we can find ways to improve our services while making them financially sustainable for the long term."

Subject to Cabinet approval on 27 March 2017, the Council will develop a 'full business case', exploring the 3 remaining options, before a final decision is made on how the services will be provided in the future in early summer 2017.


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