Discussions to take place on amalgamation of Inverness Leisure and High Life Highland
Members of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee will be asked to agree that The Highland Council invites the Chief Executives of Inverness Leisure and High Life Highland to work together to agree a process leading to the amalgamation of the two organisations.
High Life Highland (HLH) delivers the Council’s Public Service Obligations for: Adult Learning; Archives; Arts; Leisure Facilities; Libraries; Museums; Outdoor Education; Sport; and Youth Work across the Highland area through a Service Delivery Contract with the Council.
Inverness Leisure (IL) is funded by the Council to provide leisure services in the Inverness area through a Service Level Agreement.
There are obvious overlaps between the activities of the two Arms Length External Organisations (ALEO) and clear opportunities for rationalisation to protect and improve services and to achieve best value for the public.
A single management team could plan and deliver more integrated services and more efficient support functions, thereby helping to protect front line services from cuts.
There are opportunities for a unified and efficient approach to promotional and marketing activity for the High Life Card scheme, thereby reducing duplication. Participation in the planning for a Regional Sports Facility in the west of Inverness would also be an important role for a single management team.
A larger single organisation would allow benefits for staff in terms of career progression and geographical mobility.
Chair of Education, Children and Adult Services, Cllr Drew Millar said:
“The Directors, Managers and staff of both organisations provide excellent services to Highland residents and visitors.
“Both Inverness Leisure and High Life Highland are successful organisations and they are to be commended for having delivered, and often exceeded, the objectives set by the Council. Unlike the Local Authority, both organisations operate in a more commercial environment and there are many benefits to be gained in the future by bringing the two organisations together.
“I am confident that they will work together proactively to design a new structure, which will provide value for public money and help to protect front line services from cuts.”
Mrs Ella MacRae, Chair at Inverness Leisure said:
“Along with the Company Vice-Chairs and the Chief Executive, we were invited by the Council Leader to a meeting to discuss the financial challenges being faced by Highland Council over the next few years and how Inverness Leisure could work with the Council and other parties to support in reducing the Council’s expenditure.
“It was a very positive meeting and I was extremely pleased to hear from the Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, how pleased the Council was with the way Inverness Leisure was being operated.
“At the conclusions of our meeting we agreed to work with the Council and look forward to seeing how these discussions develop over the forthcoming weeks and months. Ultimately, I am sure we will all be striving to continue offering excellent leisure and sporting facilities to the many residents and visitors across the Highlands, while at the same time protecting both services and our staff.”
Mr Donald McLachlan, Chair of High Life Highland added:
“At a time of reducing public
funding, High Life Highland welcomes any opportunity to protect services
through behind the scenes efficiencies, rather than having to reduce front line
"Both organisations already operate the Highlife leisure access scheme which has been very successful to date. I am sure that in moving towards amalgamation, other synergies will emerge which will continue to improve services.”
Inverness Leisure Limited. (IL) is a company limited by guarantee and registered charity. Its members are the 13 Trustees [Directors] who make up the Board of the company. 4 of its Trustees are appointed by the Council and the remainder are appointed by the Board on the recommendation of various user groups or chosen from the business community. It is funded by the Council to provide leisure services in the Inverness area through a Service Level Agreement.
High Life Highland (HLH) is a company limited by guarantee and registered charity with the Council as its sole Member. Its Board of Directors is made up of 4 Council appointed Directors and 8 Independent Directors. It delivers the Council’s Public Service Obligations for :Adult Learning; Archives; Arts; Leisure Facilities; Libraries; Museums; Outdoor Education; Sport; and Youth Work across the Highland area through a Service Delivery Contract with the Council.