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Planned changes to sport and leisure services in Harrogate criticised

Planned changes to sport and leisure services in Harrogate criticised

Published by Harry Long at 6:45am 15th May 2020.

A union is warning planned changes to sport and leisure services in the Harrogate area could lead to job losses.

  • Harrogate Borough Council is holding a consultation on changes to sport and leisure services in the district,  
  • The council says the changes would give sport and leisure facilities more freedom - and save over £400,000 per year.
  • But a union is warning it could lead to job losses and worse terms and conditions for workers. 

Harrogate Borough Council is holding a consultation on whether the services should become a Local Authority Controlled Company.

The Council says it would give sport and leisure facilities more freedom - and save over £400,000 per year.

But David Houlgate, from the Harrogate branch of Unison, says they're worried about how it would affect workers.

Harrogate Borough Council

In a statement, Unison said:

"Unison are aware that Harrogate Council is currently consulting with residents about its proposal to convert its sport and leisure service into a Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC), which it will own.

"Whilst the Council says that by doing so it could do more with sport and leisure and innovate the way it works, there should be no doubt that the aim will be to reduce costs and save money.  

"Staff who move over to the new company would not necessarily be on the nationally agreed terms and conditions as those in the Council they leave behind and our experience of other LACC's tells us that cuts to terms and conditions but also to real term pay, often occurs soon after.

"Currently, there are a number of sport and leisure staff who, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, have been redeployed to other services, such as refuse and recycling, who are continuing to give their all for the community.  They now see their real jobs under threat and this will be a big concern for them."

A council spokesperson said:

“We are currently consulting on whether our sport and leisure service should become a local authority controlled company (LACC). This would mean it could operate at an arm’s length and innovate how it delivers services. We anticipate that this will save over £400,000 per year.

“As part of this consultation we are asking residents, customers and of course staff what they think about this idea and we welcome any feedback they might have.

“If this proposal is agreed, and existing staff are transferred across, then their terms and conditions would be preserved under TUPE regulations.”

You can find out more about the consultation here.