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The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself
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TOPIC: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 4 months, 2 weeks ago #13

  • RM64
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The Trust Chief Executive did not want you to see this report either.

It was presented at the Board meeting on Tuesday 26 February 2019.

It regards the BigWave media project.

What was actually said and presented to the Board was again only obtained via Freedom of Information.

As said, The Trust Chief Executive did not want you to see this report either.

Even although it is now in the public domain, the CEO still chooses to hide the information and not publish it on the Trust Website along with the 26 February 2019 minutes.

BUT...............

Regarding Big Wave Media, The Leisure Trust CEO eventually admits in the Report(not the minutes) -

'HOWEVER, NET FINANCIAL GROWTH HAS BEEN BELOW ORIGINAL FORECASTS '

It would also appear that the CEO admits in the report, (again not in the minutes), that we were paying the Big Wave Sales Director £22,000 p.a !!


'In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a. '

(The original cost of the whole project was reportedly £24,000)


Here is the report obtained via FOI that should have accompanied the minutes to the Trust Board meeting on Tuesday 26 February 2019 -



Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019
Report by Chief Executive

Gyms, Fitness & Swimming Business Development Update

Purpose of Report:

To present to the Board an update of the Big Wave business development programme.

Recommendations

The Board is asked to note the contents of the report and comment as appropriate.

Gyms and Fitness and Swimming Development Programme

Summary

After two years of working in partnership with Big Wave Media Ltd (BWM) to develop our sports business a number of changes have been made, and advances realised in the gyms, fitness and learn to swim programmes.

We have developed a sales and retention culture in our centres, with detailed monthly targets across a number of indices, and new levels of reporting, accountability and management information.

Significant changes to the organisational culture, including further developments in customer care and quality have been made.

However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

Whilst in part this undoubtedly reflects other external factors such as the significant growth in competitors in the period or the partial closure of sites, it has caused us to revaluate the programme, targets and budgets.

One aspect of this has been to revise the project governance, and the role of Big Wave Media.

Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Background

In 2016 ERCL retained Big Wave Media Ltd., a marketing and consultancy firm, to assist in the development of the gyms and fitness and swimming programmes.

‘Audit’ Reports were undertaken over a two-day period in early December 2016 to assess the current business performance of the gym members and fitness classes, and learn to swim programme.

Based on a combination of an assessment of the facilities, performance to date, capacity and assessment of the market based on Experion demographics, forecasts for a three-year period were developed and a programme put in place to assist ERCL to grow the customer base accordingly.

These posited an increase in Gyms and Fitness Income over 4 years of £509, 472, and in swimming of £264, 204 over 3 years (£773,676).

Programme Scope

The programme introduced monthly targets for each venue with a focus on generating leads and referrals, making sales and increasing retention rates.

In addition to sales and marketing activity supporting this, the project also brought renewed focus on product, pricing and promotion and included:-

- Review of pricing

- Marketing and Communications

- Product Design

- Avoidable Contact (direct debit, website, mobile sales capability)

- Analysis of yield per member / customer

- Referrals and conversion rates

- Retention rates and improvement in length of stay

- Quality and customer satisfaction

- Coach and staff quality – appraisals, CPD and performance management

- Site capacity including pool programming, allocation of pool time, and intensity of pool / tank sizes

- Occupancy rates

- Progression of pupils and class members

- Quality, quantity and type of Customer Interactions with staff

- Integration of other services to create value or distinction

- Adoption of technology (wearable tech, virtual support, apps and web-enabled programmes)

- Infrastructure including car-parking, transport links, exterior signage

- Local competition

Using a proprietary set of tools including site-specific sales, marketing and financial plans, yield calculators and supporting training, monthly meetings are held with key staff.

These meetings were previously over two days and were chaired by the BWM Sales Director, at which progress, issues and stratagems were discussed.

Subsequent training in areas such as making sales calls, or direct face to face selling, customer engagement and retention techniques or customer care was then put in place accordingly.

Progress to Date

Significant progress has been made in a number of these areas:

- A reprice was undertaken in 2017/18

- A revision of the concession policy, with a standardisation of discounts

- The product structure was radically simplified and rationalised

- A more commercial product development process was introduced

- A clear product structure (including 12-month contracts) introduced.

- Yield / Member has been increased by 6.5%

- An online retention programme (“TRP”), which facilitates staff-customer interaction targets and appraisals, has been introduced.

- Net Promoter Score capability has been developed for 2019

- A new pool programme has been devised

- A new learn to swim framework (product, brand and approach) has been developed for introduction 2019

- A new operational staff structure for venues to extend opening hours has been developed for introduction 2019

- A new suite of marketing materials, communications and promotions developed, tested and refined.

- Management information has been improved significantly

Key Issues

1.Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2.Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Next Steps

Feb-Dec

- Foundry Studio / sports hall refresh, electronic gates, café works


- Gym equipment replacement and refresh

- Net Promoter Score introduced

April 2019:-

- new pool programme, promotions and recruitment

- direct debit for swimming

- revised management information.

August 2019

- new centre opening hours

Recommendations

The Board is asked to note the progress of the programme, the key deliverables of which will continue to be reported on through the balanced scorecard.


Again, you have to ask why the CEO did not publish this report along with the
26 February 2019 Board meeting minutes.

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 4 months ago #14

  • RM64
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Maybe it was because a spend of £24,000.00 nearly tripled to at least £67,577.04 ?


-------- Original message --------
Date:08/08/2019 17:03 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: "Grant, B (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Fletcher, J (Provost)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Gilbert, C (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Ireland, A (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Swift, Jim (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "McLean, J (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Leisure Trust contract with Big Wave media - Audit & Scrutiny - value for money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Dear Stewart

I am writing to you as Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee and would appreciate your(and the Committee's) help.

I have copied to the other members ( I am aware Cllr Grant and Cllr Fletcher are Trust Board members).

I wish to register my concern over a contract East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust(ERCLT) entered into with a company named Big Wave Media.

The only sum given by ERCLT for this contract was for £24,000.00.

However, from a FOI request for payment invoices, ERCLT have paid at least £67,577.04 to Big Wave Media -

31/12/2016 - £13,435.32

31/03/2017 - £1,435.32

30/04/2017 to 30/11/2018 - 20 monthly payments of £2,635.32 = £52,706.40

Total - £67,577.04

It is of great concern that this contract has now cost East Renfrewshire Council tax payers nearly 3 times(£67,577.04) the original sum of £24,000.00 and has failed to deliver the promised benefits.

It is also of great concern that the Chief Executive claims a saving of £22,000.00 p.a. when in fact they have spent at least £67,577.04 not £24,000.00.

It is also of great concern that The Trust has tried to hide this by not publishing any of this information and that it has only come to light via Freedom of Information(FOI) requests and appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The Chief Executive of the Trust has admitted the failings of the contract.

In a Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019(obtained by FOI) The Chief Executive said -


'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.


Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.


Key Issues

1. Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2. Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.'



I would appreciate if you can

- investigate/scrutinise the terms of this contract,

- why the cost nearly tripled from £24,000.00 to at least £67,577.04,

- why it is now seen as a saving of £22,000 p.a.(when it actually cost at least £67,577.04) and

- if it did provide value for money for the Council Tax Payers( £67,577.04).

- invite the Trust CEO to explain all of the above to the Audit & Scrutiny Committee.

Big Wave media were picked for their expertise in this area but as the Chief Executive has admitted they obviously failed to deliver.

Again, it is of great concern that the Trust have tried to hide this and have not published details.

Your help with this matter is much appreciated

Thanks

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 4 months ago #15

  • RM64
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------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 8 Aug, 2019 At 17:55
Subject: Re: Leisure Trust contract with Big Wave media - Audit & Scrutiny - value for money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

I will find out if the ERC&LT Ltd is subject to A & S committee scrutiny as I have asked questions in the past and was told that it is the responsibility of the Board members to scrutinise the Trust

But I will pass on your email to try to seek answers

Regards

Stewart

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 4 months ago #16

  • RM64
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------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tuesday, 13 Aug, 2019 At 09:50
Subject: Fwd: Big Wave Media

As promised, I forwarded your email to check if the Audit and Scrutiny Committee's remit extended to looking into your questions and I received the response below from Mr Daly yesterday afternoon

Regards

Stewart



-------- Original message --------
From: "Daly, Eamonn" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:12/08/2019 14:19 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: "Innes, Caroline" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Big Wave Media

Good afternoon Stewart.

Caroline forwarded your email from [name] to Gerry and I to take a look at whether or not it would be appropriate for the Audit & Scrutiny Committee to investigate.

Unfortunately in this particular instance it would not be appropriate for the committee to look into the matter further.

I have set out below the committee’s terms of reference

(a) to promote internal controls, financial and otherwise, in order to provide reasonable assurance of effective and efficient operations and compliance with laws and regulations;

(b) to review the control environment and make an annual statement to the Council on its evaluation of internal controls;

(c) to develop an anti-fraud culture within the Council to ensure the highest standards of probity and public accountability;

(d) to promote good financial practice within the Council;

(e) to agree the internal audit strategy and plan;

(f) to receive internal audit progress reports;

(g) to oversee and review action taken on internal audit recommendations and assist in responding to any criticisms made;

(h) to review the internal audit annual report;

(i) to be consulted on the external audit strategy and plan;

(j) to review all external audit material, in particular the annual report and management letters relative to the audit opinion of the Council’s financial statements;

(k) to oversee and review action on external audit recommendations;

(l) to review financial procedures including the effective operation of financial regulations;

(m) to review the Council's financial performance as contained in the Annual Accounts;

(n) to examine the activities and accounts of the Council in order to ensure that (a) the expenditure approved by the Council has been incurred for the purposes intended, (b) services are being provided efficiently and effectively and (c) value for money is being obtained;

(o) to consider those decisions of the Cabinet “called in” in terms of agreed procedure;

(p) to make recommendations to the Cabinet on the introduction and development of appropriate risk management arrangements across the Council;

(q) to review the performance of the Council in terms of:

· service delivery

· the processes by which policy decisions have been taken

· the substance of a particular policy and how it fits in with the overall objectives of the Council

· the effectiveness of a policy in terms of implementation

(r) to undertake whatever research and consultation is required in support of the analysis being undertaken on any particular issue.

These all relate to the operations of the Council.

Whilst it is accepted that the Council pays the management fee annually to the Trust, responsibility for the oversight of the operation of the Trust rests with the Trust Board.

As this issue relates to an operational matter any concerns should be directed to the Chair of the Board to decide on how to take them forward.

Kind Regards

Eamonn
Eamonn Daly
Democratic Services Manager
Department of Corporate and Community Services

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 4 months ago #17

  • RM64
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The Trust 'scrutinises' itself !!


------ Original Message ------
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tuesday, 13 Aug, 2019 At 10:18
Subject: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart

It does seem a bit inappropriate that the Trust can be involved in hiding this spend then investigate themselves !

However, can you let me know how to contact the Chair of the Board - 'any concerns should be directed to the Chair of the Board ' and I will forward my email to them.

Or, can I ask you to forward the email to the Chair of the Board. Maybe this will give it a bit more urgency if it is forwarded by the Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee?

Thanks

Re: The Leisure Trust do not want you to read this report - Why? - Read and decide for yourself 3 months, 2 weeks ago #18

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------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Tuesday, 27 Aug, 2019 At 16:25
Subject: Cabinet meeting on 29 August 2019 - Agenda Item 3 - Trust End-Year report

Hi Alan

I refer to the East Renfrewshire Council Cabinet meeting on 29 August 2019 and in particular Agenda Item No: 3 - Report by Director of Education EAST RENFREWSHIRE CULTURE AND LEISURE END-YEAR REPORT 2018- 2019

The Cabinet is asked to comment on and approve this report.

I am writing to you as you are my Councillor and you are a member of the Cabinet Committee to ask that you do comment on this report regarding the omission of details regarding Big Wave Media and the spend of £67,577.04 and the failure to deliver the promised benefits.

The only mention of Big wave Media is in the report (Appendix A) provided by the Trust -

'2018/19 saw the business development programme, begun with Big Wave.......'

The only sum given by ERCLT for this contract was for £24,000.00.

However, from a FOI request for payment invoices, ERCLT have paid at least £67,577.04 to Big Wave Media -

31/12/2016 - £13,435.32
31/03/2017 - £1,435.32
30/04/2017 to 30/11/2018 - 20 monthly payments of £2,635.32 = £52,706.40

Total - £67,577.04

It is of great concern that this contract has now cost East Renfrewshire Council tax payers nearly 3 times(£67,577.04) the original sum of £24,000.00 and has failed to deliver the promised benefits.

It is also of great concern that the Director of Education fails to mention this in their report.

It is also of great concern that The Director of Education and The Trust has failed to publicly publish any of this information and that it has only come to light via Freedom of Information(FOI) requests, reviews and appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.


The Chief Executive of the Trust has admitted the failings of the contract -

'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)


Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting was becoming skewed by this.'


In a Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019(via FOI, initially withheld by the Trust but eventually obtained on review) The Chief Executive said -


'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Key Issues

1. Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2. Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.'


In the interests of balance and in order that East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers can have confidence in the Cabinet, I would appreciate that at the meeting you comment on -

- the omission of mentioning Big Wave Media and the cost and terms of this contract in this report,

- the omission that the cost nearly tripled from £24,000.00 to at least £67,577.04,

- why a saving of £22,000 p.a was not worthy of a mention by the Director of Education in their report,

- or more correctly, why it is now seen as a saving of £22,000 p.a.(when it actually cost at least £67,577.04),

- why East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers were not provided with this information in the Director's report


Big Wave media were picked(without tender/competition?) for their expertise in this area but as the Chief Executive has admitted they failed to deliver.

Again, it is of great concern that The Director of Education should omit all of the details of Big Wave Media from this report.

If there is to be any balance or due diligence and East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers are to have confidence in the Cabinet, then I would ask that you do comment on this report at the Cabinet Committee meeting by raising and asking and commenting on the above.

Your help with this matter is much appreciated

Thanks
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