Future delivery of Culture and Sport

We are exploring whether Culture and Sport services, currently delivered directly by the council, could be delivered through a charitable trust in the future. The aim is to sustain our services while taking into account the wider financial circumstances of the council. 

The council manages a range of Culture and Sport services, including 16 sports centres, 14 swimming pools, 37 libraries, 11 museums, two ski centres and an aquarium. Around 1,500 employees work in Culture and Sport, representing around 10 percent of the council’s workforce.

Find out more about: 

The proposal

In March 2016, our Education, Learning and Leisure (ELL) Committee agreed that council officers and consultants should investigate alternative ways of delivering Culture, Sport and Community, Learning and Development (CLD). Find out more in the alternative service delivery options report (pdf 106KB)

In October 2016, council officers presented an outline business case to the committee which set out a series of different options:

  • outsourcing the delivery of the services
  • creating a public-private partnership to deliver the services
  • maintaining the status quo
  • creating a direct service organisation (the services would continue to be delivered directly by the council)
  • creating a charitable trust, wholly-owned by the council, to deliver the services on our behalf

The committee commented on the different options and agreed that CLD should be removed from the scope of any future work. We will continue to deliver the CLD service directly.  

View the outline business case and the committee's comments (pdf 6.69MB)

In November 2016, the outline business case and committee's comments were presented to Full Council and councillors agreed that the creation of a charitable trust is their preferred option for further consideration.

It was decided that a public consultation should take place to explore the option of a charitable trust further. 

View the Full Council report and the minutes of their decisions (pdf 1.30MB).

Public consultation

A one month online and face-to-face public consultation took place in December 2016. 

We used infographics (pdf 197KB) and an online survey to engage the public and ask them if they agreed that the council should continue to explore the option of a charitable trust to deliver Culture and Sport in Aberdeenshire. 

A series of face-to-face discussions with community groups took place during the same period.

The results of the consultation showed that there were 1,073 respondents to the online consultation with 60.5 percent of respondents agreeing that the council should continue exploring whether a trust could deliver Culture and Sport in Aberdeenshire and 39.5 percent of respondents disagreeing.

The results also showed that 51 responses were gathered through face-to-face consultation through CLD networks and community council forums and that 58 percent of respondents agreed and 42 percent disagreed.

In January 2017, the results of the consultation were presented to the Full Council and they agreed that the council should begin the development of a full business case for a charitable trust.

View the report presented to the Full Council and the outcomes (pdf 245KB).

Next steps

We are working on a business case for the charitable trust, that involves: 

  • the creation of a shadow company 
  • an application to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) for charitable status in principle
  • identifying the kind of support a trust might need such as ICT, HR and printing

We intend to present this business case to the Full Council at the end of the summer for a final decision by all Aberdeenshire councillors as to whether or not the trust will go ahead.

Culture and Sport staff, the wider council, councillors, external partners and the public are being kept updated as this process takes place.

The report to Full Council and accompanying business case will be available on the committee system one week before the meeting.

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