sporta widens remit to support '£100bn business turned upside down'
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sporta widens remit to support '£100bn business turned upside down'

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A '£100 billion business turned upside down' was how Peter Kelly, Director of Public Health for Stockton on Tees Borough Council, described the NHS at sporta's second Time To Trust conference in London this month, explaining the state of the UK's health and how the NHS is fundamentally changing to deal with these challenges.

Kelly's presentation reflected the wider remit of sporta members, which in many cases are expanding services to include health and social care, as well as public health initiatives.

Brian Leonard, CEO of sporta said: "The speakers and topics covered during our latest Time to Trust conference demonstrate how our members are moving with the times and leading a wider range of services for the local communities they support."

The day-long symposium included expert analysis of the options that trusts offer to local authorities seeking to outsource services.

Joanna Bussell, Partner at solicitors and parliamentary agents Winkworth Sherwood, which hosted the event, explained the legal, financial and practical issues of transferring to a non profit distributing organisation (NPDO). She also highlighted some of the cultural advantages these locally-owned trusts represent, such as a dynamic, single focused approach, the opportunity to harness stakeholder involvement and public/private sector expertise, and the freedom to make quick decisions, as well as a number of fiscal benefits.

The transfer process was further explained by sporta's new Vice Chair Peter Gunn, CEO of BH Live, who talked delegates through his 16-month journey with Bournemouth Borough Council to shift its leisure centres, theatre and conference, exhibition and arena venues to a new leisure, cultural and events trust.

"Delegates heard accounts about the wide range of ways that the trust model can be applied, as well as the future potential this public benefit model offers," continued Leonard. "We also heard compelling evidence of the financial and social contribution trusts make to the community."

Demonstrating this impact was Robin Strang, CEO of West Lothian Leisure (WLL). The Industrial Provident Society, which was formed in 1998 and manages nine venues throughout West Lothian, wanted to prove the worth of its activities to the council, NHS and Sportscotland and commissioned an independent four-stage research programme into the social return on its investment (SROI). The report established that the work of WLL generated benefits of some £16.92 million in the 2010/11 financial year, saving the NHS and the wider economy £9.83 million each year.

Leonard concluded: "Overall the conference demonstrated how the proven trust model is viable, adaptable and fits with public policy needs, particularly with the move to localism, where the Government is committed to transferring the delivery of public services to social enterprises, and with local authorities looking to tackle the challenges of public expenditure limits."

Image: West Lothian Leisure

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A '£100 billion business turned upside down' was how Peter Kelly, Director of Public Health for Stockton on Tees Borough Council, described the NHS at sporta's second Time To Trust conference in London this month.
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