East Hertfordshire’s Leisure Services contract with Enfield Leisure Centres Ltd (Aspire Trust) has a major financial crisis. It is £500,000 in the red in the first year of a five-year contract. Resignations of senior staff and the possible liquidation of the Enfield Trust add to the scale of the crisis – a crisis in the making during the evaluation of the market testing bids in 2005.
Despite the Enfield Trust bid being based on an 8% increase in leisure income and a 10% cut in staffing costs, they were awarded the contract. But the contract was not signed until five months after staff were transferred and large sections on monitoring and staffing issues were removed. From attempting to achieve a saving of £975,000 over five years the Council saved a little over £50,000 in the first year. It is now faced with additional estimated costs of £903,560 over five years based on the 2005/06 budget. The parent trust, Enfield Leisure Trust, went into liquidationin September 2006 and East Herts were forced to transfer lesiure services to Stevenage Leisure Trust (Commissioned by East Hertfordshire UNISON, 2006).