5 Reasons to Support this “New Dawn” for Leisure Services in Redditch

Abbey Stadium Running Track

As reported in the Redditch Standard, Rubicon Leisure will take over the running of Abbey Stadium, Forge Mill and the Palace Theatre from 1 December this year. The creation of this policy predates my time on the Council, but I happen to fully support it and here’s five reasons why we should all support it too:

  1. It’s not privatisation. The company, Rubicon, is owned by the Council (so ultimately owned by the people) and we set its strategic direction. Any profits are re-invested back into leisure in the town or offsetting council costs.
  2. We get better leisure services. Rubicon can borrow, it can invest, and it can put its profits back into better things for our people. They already have exciting plans for adventure golf at Forge Mill, Parkour and a 3G pitch at the Abbey, and upgrading the clubhouse at Pitcheroak Golf Club. Neat, huh?!
  3. Better jobs. There are up-sides to working for a Council, but there are downsides too. You have Councillors to deal with for starters! Joking aside, Rubicon will be able to develop its staff as part of its investment in people which can take all shapes now they are free of the council.
  4. Concessions remain. Rubicon is required to adhere to the Council’s concessions policy. People will not be left behind by these changes.
  5. Pricing remains competitive. Rubicon will be able to set its own pricing, but remember this is now a company in the marketplace – if prices go too high people will vote with their feet and use competitors instead. I am a family man who uses our leisure services and I would not support these plans if they would price people like me out of the market.

Finally, I want to make an offer to anyone who works in leisure services for the council, or any member of the public. If you are even the slightest bit concerned about anything to do with these changes you are very welcome to email me, set up a call, or even arrange a visit. My door is open. Message me on Facebook to set something up or email me on [email protected]

My Appointments to External Bodies and Committees

There’s exciting elements to politics, and there’s less exciting things that still need to be done as part of the council’s important work. Appointments to committees and external bodies are important and essential to the successful running of any democratic body (like a council). However, unless you are a political anorak it’s hard to find the fun in it all, I accept that, so for now you’ll need to take my word on it.

Committees are where a lot of work gets done; most of them are open to the public to attend and they feed into the bigger picture, sometimes culminating in a vote at Full Council or steering changes to policies and other decisions a council might make. Here’s a list of the committees to which I was appointed to on Monday 21 May 2018.

I have also been appointed to a couple of ‘external bodies’ – these are committees and groups the council takes an interest in because what they do has an impact on Redditch people and businesses.

The GBSLEP scrutiny committee is responsible for reviewing and scrutinising decisions made by the GBSLEP Supervisory Board. A lot of money is spent by the LEPs, so scrutiny of how this money is spent is important.

The Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee is a committee of Worcestershire County Council that is made up of members drawn from places like Redditch Borough Council. It’s our job as a committee to scrutinise decisions made by the local Trust Board. This role is particularly important to me as it will give me an opportunity to bang the drum for the Alex and our local NHS services here in Redditch, something I am very passionate about.