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"Leisure trusts have a lot of important learning to share with others," according to Paul Raynes, Programme Director of the Local Government Association, who was key note speaker at sporta's Time to Trust conference.

"The debate about innovative delivery couldn't be more lively or important than it is now and it is good to see sporta leading the discussion."

sporta's day-long symposium examined issues surrounding the future management of culture and leisure provision, provided local authorities with background on different methods of outsourcing these services and debated the benefits of forming trusts as a cost effective and community led approach to running facilities.

More than 25 individual local authorities were represented at the event in Central London, as well as industry consultants and existing sporta members. Following the conference, 99 per cent of the local authority attendees said they may consider the trust option for their services going forward, with 53 per cent of those saying they would definitely consider it and 33 per cent of them already starting the process.

sporta currently represents more than 100 trusts and social enterprises that deliver cultural and leisure services in the UK, managing more than 910 sites on behalf of local authorities.

Mark Poppy, director of Local Partnerships, an HM Treasury and Local Government Association-owned organisation that works with the Cabinet Office on social enterprises, presented on the variety of public sector service delivery models currently on offer and gave an insight into some of the advantages of each. He said: "The leisure sector has always been at the forefront of innovation and sporta is ideally placed to become an influential player in the next stage of public sector reform."

Craig McAteer, Chair of sporta concluded: "Trusts are already a significant provider of cultural and leisure services across the UK, with a proven record of service improvement, investment and efficiency. At a time when resources are scarce, with increased pressure 'to do more for less', and with a Government committed to transferring the delivery of public services to social enterprises in the third sector, our members can give valuable advice on setting up a new social enterprise/trust or working with an existing trust in their area."

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"Leisure trusts have a lot of important learning to share with others," according to Paul Raynes, Programme Director of the Local Government Association, who was key note speaker at sporta's Time to Trust conference.
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