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60% OF SPORTS CONTRACTS GO UNTESTED ACCORDING TO SURVEY

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Competition into tendering on the management and operation of sports facilities has been limited reveals a survey b...
Competition into tendering on the management and operation of sports facilities has been limited reveals a survey by the Sports Council today on the impact of CCT in this area in England.

The survey was by the Centre of Leisure Research and had an 84% response rate from local authorities with a wide geographical spread. Since January 1992, 60% of contracts have been uncontested with a further 22% attracting only one external bid. In total, 84% of contracts were won by Direct Service Organisations and only 10% went to the private sector. At the time of the survey, 6% of decisions were pending.

The survey has shown a decline in specialist leisure services departments since the advent of CCT. This has raised concerns as only 26% of multi-disciplinary departments surveyed had a specific strategy for sport and recreation, compared with 41% of leisure departments.

In the majority of cases the client was unable to evaluate performance. While a contractor may have been given parameters to work within, there did not appear to be a system for monitoring or measuring the extent to which policy was being delivered in practice, says the Sports Council.

The significant changes brought about by CCT also have important implications for the Sports Council in its own objectives of increasing participation and developing performance. Derek Casey, Acting Director General commented: 'The results of this survey show that sport is under some pressure and could lose its visibility within the local authority structure.

Clients and contractors will need to work together to ensure the issues outlined in this report relating to management structures, policy and performance evaluation are used in the preparation for and the implementation of the second phase of CCT.'

Every local authority in England will receive a complimentary copy of the report which is available from the Sports Council Information Unit at £15.

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