Council leisure centre attendance is on the up

Published: Friday, 8th March 2019

Oxford City Council's leisure centres are enjoying a boom in attendance, with footfall up by nearly a third over the past nine months. The strong performance has been validated by a new independent audit report.

The leisure centres, which are operated by Fusion Lifestyle on behalf of the Council, have shown a 32 per cent increase in overall attendance. The increase has been boosted by large increases in the number of older and BAME people who are using the facilities, along with those from disadvantaged areas of the city.

Cllr Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure and Housing, said: “After a difficult year last year, I’m very pleased to see that user numbers in our leisure facilities have bounced back with a whopping increase of 32 per cent, and that customer satisfaction is high.

"Our contract with Fusion Lifestyle to manage the Council’s facilities is subject to rigorous monitoring throughout the year and the work of the Scrutiny Committee is an important part of that process.

"This audit was conducted on the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee. It has also usefully highlighted some areas of operation that require improvement. The Council is already working with Fusion Lifestyle to make the necessary changes to deliver even better leisure opportunities for our residents.”

Fusion has already improved areas shown up in the report. These include the need to strengthen user engagement and feedback and from January of last year new well-advertised meet-the-manager sessions have taken place allowing customers to relay concerns directly. Fusion has also made improvements to its website and social media handling, as well as its responses to customer emails and phone calls.

Cllr Smith added: "I’m also delighted that the auditors gave the data collection systems used by Fusion Lifestyle in our centres a clean bill of health; this provides councillors with added confidence in the regular reports we receive."

To view the performance report visit Quarter Three performance of the Leisure Centres.

To view the audit report in full visit the Audit and Governance Committee page.