Agenda and minutes

Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport Scrutiny Commission - Tuesday, 21 January 2020 5:30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room G.01, Ground Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ

Contact: Anita Patel, Scrutiny Policy Officer, tel: 0116 454 6342 - email:  Ayleena Thomas, Democratic Support Officer, tel: 0116 454 5369 - email:

No. Item




There were no apologies for absence.



Members are asked to declare any interests they may have in the business to be discussed.


Councillor Dr Moore declared an Other Disclosable Interest in that she supplied books to the Richard III visitor/ reading centre.


In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, this interest was not considered so significant that it was likely to prejudice the Councillor’s judgement of the public interest.  She therefore was not required to withdraw from the meeting.



The Minutes of the meeting of the Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport Scrutiny Commission held on 3 December 2019 are attached and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.



That the minutes of the Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport Scrutiny Commission held on 3 December 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.



To note progress on actions agreed at the previous meeting and not reported elsewhere on the agenda (if any)


The Chair thanked Officers for sending updates. It was requested that any other items be added to the work programme.




There were no announcements made by the Chair.



The Monitoring Officer to report on the receipt of any petitions submitted in accordance with the Council’s procedures.


The Monitoring Officer reported that no petitions had been received.



The Monitoring Officer to report on the receipt of any questions, representations and statements of case submitted in accordance with the Council’s procedures.


The Monitoring Officer reported that no questions, statements or representations of case had been received.



The Director of Tourism, Culture and inward investment will give a presentation updating Members of the Commission on Festivals and Events which have taken place.


The Commission is recommended to receive the presentation and comment as appropriate.


The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment gave a presentation on Festivals and Events which had taken place over the year. The following was noted and responses to queries from the Commission were provided:


·         Councillor Clair, Deputy City Mayor – Culture, Leisure & Sport noted the increased general attendance at festivals. There were pressures on the festivals & events budget for raising more income and sponsorship. A Deputy Festival Manager had now been employed to support on the income generation.

·         A ‘mini festival’ format was organised for summer 2019 with five large scale acts to perform from a variety of genres at De Montfort Hall (DMH) Gardens. Unfortunately, the event resulted in a financial loss due to several factors, some of which included the extreme wet weather, industry trend (most of industry had a poor summer), the format of the event and people’s reluctance to spend in that current climate.

·         A positive from the mini festival were that the team came into contact with a lot of promotors and bands and positive feedback was received from the operation.

·         The underlying DMH business was noted as much improved which would help to reduce the in-year loss.

·         Potential suggestions from the Commission as to what could have worked better for the DMH Gardens summer events were: single acts (rather than several acts per event), local bands as in the past this had worked well, focus on the gardens core audience which had generally been local people.

·         The next year would be spent re-evaluating and investigating a viable model for the DMH gardens in summer of 2021.

·         Smaller scale events would still run in 2020 such as an open-air theatre and cinema, these events were noted as less risky and Officers would seek to collaborate with partners.

·         Events either operated on a shared risk basis which gave the team more say in the process and ticket sale income or on a hire basis whereby the promotors paid a fee for the Hall but benefited entirely from ticket sales and led on ticket sales promotion.

·         All other festivals and events which took place in 2019 that Leicester City Council’s Festival and Events Team delivered and supported including civic, cultural, arts, heritage, sporting and religious events were all a success.

·         Over the years general costs had been increasing for infrastructure, resourcing the risk of terrorist threats and security costs.

·         Upcoming events included; Kasabian concert and a general programme of Festivals & Events throughout the year. The ‘What’s On’ Spring 2020 booklet was circulated to the Commission and Members were informed of the event listings online at ‘Visit Leicester’.

·         It was noted that the existing budgets would be sustained in this next period for both Council delivered festivals and allocations for third party delivered festivals.



1.    That the presentation be noted.


GENERAL FUND REVENUE BUDGET 2020/21 TO 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 638 KB

The Director of Finance submits a report setting out the City Mayor’s proposed budget for 2020/21 to 2021/22. 


The Commission is recommended to consider and comment on the Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport element of the budget. The commissions comments will be forwarded to the Overview Select Committee as part of its consideration of the report before it is presented to the Council meeting on 19 February 2020.


The Director of Finance submitted a report setting out the City Mayor’s proposed budget for 2020/21 to 2021/22.


The Deputy Director of Finance presented the report and outlined the following:

·         Last year the Council approved a one-year budget.

·         This was because the system of funding local government was to fundamentally change, these changes being; the fair funding review, business rates review, and the total amount of funding allocated to government departments.

·         However, due to Brexit and latterly political turmoil resulting in the general election, these key issues had been deferred, probably to 2021/22.

·         Therefore, the amount of funding that the Council would receive going into the future remains unknown.

·         The Council was, therefore, again being presented with a one-year budget for 2020/21, which included a future ‘outlook’ based on optimistic and pessimistic views.

·         Reference to points 6.4 to 6.7 was made, which outlined the impact on the City Developments and Neighbourhoods Department.


In response to Commission Members’ questions, the following issues were discussed and noted:

·         A Member of the Commission raised concerns that the impact of the budget would mean reductions in the arts and museums budget.

·         At this time, it was difficult to say what the impact of Brexit would be specific to individual services.

·         There would continue to be some initiatives to help get people healthier, the budget wouldn’t take away in terms of budgetary services.

·         It was aimed to still be able to achieve everything planned for, as a result of the budget.

·         The Festivals and Events programmes would be maintained and there were no proposals to reduce any funding as a result of the budget.



1.    That the Commission be assured that the Council budget had the capacity to deliver the festivals and events programme 2020/21 to the same levels as previous years and that there would be no proposals to reduce any of these allocations.


2.    The Overview and Select Committee be advised that the Commission:-


a.    regretted that more funding had not been made available by the Government;

b.    noted concerns that the previously approved new budget reductions in 2020/21 might impact on service delivery; and

c.    welcomed officers’ assurances that services would nonetheless be maintained.



The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment submits a report and will give a presentation to inform Members of the Commission about progress made on the approved capital programme to improve sports services at Cossington Street, Evington and Aylestone Leisure Centres.


Commission Members are recommended to note the progress made and planned timelines for the capital improvement schemes at Cossington Street, Evington and Aylestone Leisure Centres.


The Director of Public Health submitted a report and provided a presentation to inform Members of the Commission about progress made on the approved capital programme to improve sports services at Cossington Street, Evington and Aylestone Leisure Centres.


·         Councillor Clair, Deputy City Mayor – Culture, Leisure & Sport noted that £2.3m would now be invested in the upgrade of three sports services in Leisure Centres, all of which would be completed by December 2020. Following the first phase Officers would be requested to bring back information for other centres so the second phase could be looked into.

·         Members of the Commission were shown detailed plans of the proposals for three the centres and the changes that would be made, some of which included; new refurbishments, larger gym areas, new equipment, better use of space, secure members access.

·         For this investment a unique framework was used whereby a specialist company had been appointed to do the work and develop the scheme. Once a figure was agreed it remained fixed which meant that there was less risk to the Council, if any risks this would remain with the contractors. Officers had examined other authorities last year that used the same company and the outcomes were positive.


In terms of disruption to the public;

·         Cossington Leisure Centre would be closed for the entirety of the developments however, the wet side i.e. swimming would continue. Existing gym members would be contacted and provided with access at other leisure centres or would have the option to freeze their membership. Works were due to start in February 2020 and aimed to be completed by August 2020.

·         Aylestone Leisure Centre, a temporary gym would be set up (due to the extent of membership numbers) in order to minimise disruption. Works were due to commence in August 2020 and be completed by December 2020 – however Aylestone could start sooner if Cossington was completed earlier.

·         Evington Leisure Centre gym would continue to operate throughout the works. The centre would be shut down for 4-5 weeks during completion of the internal works. A reduction in membership rates would also be offered during this period. Works were due to start March 2020 and be completed by November 2020.

·         It was noted that membership fees varied per centre, however, a range of membership options were available depending on the types of activity being used.


Councillor Dr Moore left the meeting at 19:10 during consideration of this item.


·         Although Leisure and Sports services were noted to run on a high level of subsidy, it was hoped that this £2.3m investment would improve the sales processes over the coming years with ambitions to deliver further with a possible break even in 2022-23.

·         Sports services had recently been restructured in terms of management.

·         Active Leicester would be having its own website which would take a more direct approach around marketing to appeal to those people not currently exercising and to support them and others.

·         A marketing strategy would be adopted for this, standards would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.



The current work programme for the Commission is attached. The Commission is asked to consider this and make comments and/or amendments as it considers necessary.



                        That the work programme be noted.




There being no items of urgent business, the meeting closed at 7.27pm.