West Lothian Council has agreed to change the way in which funding is distributed to West Lothian Leisure (WLL).
The council provides WLL with an annual management fee for services in relation to WLL's role in managing the council's sport and recreational facilities.
The management fee provided by the council to WLL in 2019/20 will total over £2.9 million. However WLL has requested the management fee be 're-profiled' to allow them to provide early retirement and severance packages for some WLL staff. The changes are an important part of WLL's three year plan which was approved by the WLL Board last December and is already underway. The plan includes a number of service changes and budget reduction measures.
The Council Executive today (Tuesday 20 August) agreed to support the request from WLL to provide financial support for severance packages totalling £230,000. This increases the management fee to be paid to WLL over the period of their three year plan. However the annual management fee paid to WLL by the council will be reduced over the following eight years to offset the amount 're-profiled'.
WLL began to experience financial challenges in 2016/17 which were caused largely by reduced membership income as a result of increased competition from the private sector. The council agreed to support WLL by rescheduling debt of nearly £1milllion in 2016/17. In 2018 the council then agreed that further support of additional one-off resources would be provided to WLL up to £1.2million, which allowed WLL to balance their budget.
Council Leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "The council has agreed to the request from WLL to provide support for severance and early retirement packages for WLL staff. "Unfortunately WLL has been affected by increased competition over recent years and is in the process of making changes to their business. The re-profiling on the management fee will help them to progress with some elements of their three-year plan and move forward."