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Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society?
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TOPIC: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society?

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 4 months, 2 weeks ago #79

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East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Reserves Policy

Reserves are the part of unrestricted funds that are freely available to spend on any of the charity’s purposes.

This definition excludes restricted income funds and endowment funds.

In the Trustees’ view, the reserves should provide the charity with adequate financial stability and the means for it to meet its charitable objectives for the foreseeable future.

Although East Renfrewshire Council, as the sole member of the company which constitutes the charitable Trust, has indicated it will be the banker of last resort to the Trust, the Trustees are of the view that to rely solely on this and to not accumulate retained reserves could be misinterpreted as impairing the Trust’s independent status as a free-standing charity.

Accordingly, the Trust intends to build a small pool of reserves to improve its cash flow position and provide an element of protection to the continued operations should commercial income fall below its target e.g. a competitor gym opening locally, closures which impact ability to grow memberships etc.

Reserves will allow the Trust to continue operations as it manages shifts in budgets and takes appropriate management actions to meet future changing environments and circumstances.

The current reserves policy is £250k, originally based on a figure equivalent to a max of 2.5% of the unrestricted turnover. Converting this calculation to the draft 2020/21 budget would equate to a figure of £240k.

As the overall calculation has not deviated materially from the original established policy and given there has been no significant change in the Trust’s risk profile, the current recommendation is to hold the reserves at the existing value of £250k.

In addition, the Trustees will review the amount of reserves at each financial year end aligned to the reserves policy, to assure themselves that they are adequate to fulfil the charity’s continuing obligations.

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 4 months, 2 weeks ago #80

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Report to the East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Board on 4 March 2020

Report by Director of Finance and Commercial Services

2019/20 Pension Valuation Financial Assumptions

Purpose of Report:

Discuss and approve any change to the existing underlying financial assumptions for the 31 March 2020 Pension Valuation for inclusion in the 2019/20 statutory accounts.

Recommendations
The Board is asked to approve the proposed salary inflation assumption for the 2019/20

Pension Valuation.

2019/20 Pension Financial Assumptions

As per the approved Board Resolution dated 19th June 2017, the Board will annually review and approve the underlying salary inflation assumption which will form the basis for the annual FRS102 pension valuation to be included in the annual statutory accounts.

The following table provides a summary of the prior year assumptions for information:

Salary Inflation
Actuarial Default Assumption
RPI + 0.2%
ERCLT Approved Assumption
Yr1: 3% (2019/20)
Yr2: 3% (2020/21)
Yr3: RPI+ (default assumption)

The Board are asked to consider the options for the salary inflation assumption basis to be used in the 2019/20 valuation and approve the recommended approach discussed and agreed at the Finance, Audit and Risk (FAR) Committee.
The options discussed were:

1) Agree to continue with relevant ERCLT salary inflation assumption, in line with the prior year methodology. The figures used for Yr1 & Yr2 in the prior year are aligned to the agreed 3 year pay award.

2) Accept the default salary inflation assumption as per the Actuary – the actual % will be provided by the Actuary after 31 March 2020.

3) If option 1 is selected, discuss and agree the appropriateness of the existing underlying assumption:

- RPI+

Recommendation

The FAR committee discussed the options noted above and agreed with the following recommended approach for presentation to the Board:

 Year 1 – based on the current agreed 3 year pay award (ie 3%)

 Year 2 onwards – revert to Actuarial Default assumptions of RPI+

The Board are asked to approve the recommended approach as discussed and agreed at the FAR.

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 4 months, 2 weeks ago #81

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Chief Officer (Legal and Procurement)
Council Headquarters
Rouken Glen Road
Giffnock
G46 6UG


As instructed by Anthony McReavy, CEO, East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Trust(ERCLT) in their email dated 14 September 2020 (attached) in response to my FOI request dated 17 August 2020 (attached below) and as Gerry Mahon, The Chief Officer Legal & Procurement, has previously stated that for the Council, FoI is normally a 2 stage process -

'As you will be aware the Council's response to an FOI request does not merely revolve around the initial request but also the review process. It is hoped that any human error in relation to the 1st part of the process is properly remedied at the 2nd stage.'

I wish to request said FOI review.

All of the exemptions in section 33 therefore section 33(1)(b) are subject to the public interest test.

This means that, even if the exemption applies, the information must be disclosed unless the public interest in withholding it outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

'22. In seeking to withhold information under section 33(1)(b), the authority must ensure that it sets out whose commercial interests are likely to be prejudiced, as well as the particular nature of those interests.'

I don't believe this has been done.

'The authority must identify and set out the competing public interest arguments....'

'Having identified the public interest arguments on each side, the authority must then carry out an exercise to determine where, on balance, the public interest lies. There is an in-built
presumption in FOISA that it is in the public interest to disclose information unless a public authority can show why there is a greater public interest in withholding the information.'

There is no indication that a fair and impartial public interest test has been applied.

The exemptions in section 33(1) (b) don't last forever.

If you’re using FOI to ask questions about public services involving private companies it’s quite common to be refused on the basis of ‘commercial sensitivity‘ .

The exemption is often misused by authorities as a ‘catch-all’ reason to fob off a requester.

There is a public interest test element which the authority is supposed to have thought through.

What Councils/ALEOs spend Council Tax Payers money on is always of public interest.

How Councils/ALEOs spend Council Tax Payers money is always of public interest.

The public interest is best served by openness and transparency, not secrecy.

There is no indication that a fair and impartial public interest test has been applied.

In seeking to withhold information under section 33(1)(b), the authority must ensure that it sets out whose commercial interests are likely to be prejudiced, as well as the particular nature of those interests.'

This information was presented to in the 4 March 2020 trust Board Meeting.

It is now 12 October 2020 some 7 months later !

I would opinion that in the circumstances as the Culture and Leisure Services Trust has a £1,758,000 overspend, and will have to be 'bailed out' by the Council, all the information withheld under Section 33(1)(b) should be made available.

Thanks

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 3 months ago #82

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------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Wednesday, 25 Nov, 2020 At 21:27
Subject: RE: Request for FOI Review - FOI 101002303398 - Trust Board 4 March 2020 Minutes

Hi

I don't appear to have received Review response.

Would appreciate update.

Thanks

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 3 months ago #83

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------ Original Message ------
Sent: Thursday, 26 Nov, 2020 At 09:32
Subject: Freedom of Information Request - Board Minutes 15 September 2020 - 101002377859

Made On Line via Leisure Trust Website
26/11/2020
101002377859

To: East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust(ERCLT)

Freedom of Information(FOI) request

This Freedom of Information Request concerns the published minutes of the Leisure Trust Board for meeting held Tuesday 15thSeptember 2020.

Please provide any material on the subjects discussed/recorded in the minutes which was itself before the Board or referenced by or to the Board in that meeting for each of the items recorded in the minutes (paras 4 - 13).

As there was to be a Board meeting on 17 November 2020 and given the time lapse since 15 September meeting I would expect all the financial information presented to be provided.

Electronic copies are acceptable.

Thanks

Re: Leisure Trust - Charity or Secret Society? 3 months ago #84

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Payments from ERC to Leisure Trust Jan - June 2020

AmountPosted)/ Exp Head Desc/ Journal Date/ MF Update Date

£1,294,375.00
Ercl Service Payment 19/12/2019 15/01/2020

£133,092.00
Misc Supplies And Services 30/12/2019 20/01/2020

£127,140.00
Misc Supplies And Services 30/12/2019 29/01/2020

£12,900.00
Misc Supplies And Services 09/01/2020 29/01/2020

£1,000.00
Trust Funds Expenditure 21/02/2020 24/02/2020

£45,000.00
Payments other Agencies/ Bodies 17/02/2020 28/02/2020

£5,447.52
Payments other Agencies/ Bodies 04/03/2020 09/03/2020

£21,148.70
Voluntary Orgs Payments 31/01/2020 16/03/2020

£47,100.00
Economic Initiatives 27/03/2020 30/03/2020

£20,000.00
Economic Initiatives 27/03/2020 30/03/2020

£1,266,125.00
Ercl Service Payment 15/04/2020 15/04/2020

£1,266,125.00
Ercl Service Payment 03/06/2020 10/06/2020

£6,249.00
Publications 17/06/2020 19/06/2020
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