Large contract costs and Government funding cuts led Cornwall Council to reconsider how it contracted leisure centre facilities. Facing a backlog of £5m worth of maintenance work and a £3.5m deficit from the previous provider, the council secured the future of its leisure estate for the next 25 years and agreed £18.1m of investment into facilities and equipment, all at no cost to the public purse over the contract lifetime. The council developed a custom tender process that maximised the time spent negotiating with bidders and, though initially dubious, found the market was more bullish than expected. This allowed it to focus on what really mattered – its public health outcomes. By focusing on outcomes and not cost, the council was able to secure additional social value that would not have been possible otherwise.
Judges said: “This is a good project that shows the level of innovation and change of approach that must be adopted to keep public services running in an environment of Government cuts to public services. It has delivered a great outcome for the people of Cornwall.”