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Decision details

Approval for suspension of targeted and community based sports and physical activity programmes delivered by Wiltshire Council

Decision Maker: Simon Hendey (Director - Housing and Commercial)

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To suspend until further notice all targeted and community based sports and physical activity programmes delivered by Wiltshire Council.

Reasons for the decision:

This decision would in other circumstances be taken by Cabinet or the relevant Cabinet Member. However, in circumstances where Cabinet or the relevant Cabinet Member is unable to meet to expedite its functions in a timely manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision is being taken in accordance with the power referred to in paragraph 1 above in consultation with Chief Executive Officers, other Directors and the relevant Cabinet Member. This decision will be reported to the next meeting of Cabinet.

The background to this decision is the COVID-19 pandemic. Pertinent to this decision is the impact of the advice from government on self-isolation and social distancing; and, in turn, the impact of these measures on participants, many of who have underlying health conditions and staffing (paid and voluntary) within the sports and physical activity services.

Get Wiltshire Walking provides 38 walks in 18 locations per week. There are 2,500 registered walkers, supported by a team of 200+ volunteers. 65% of participants and volunteers are over 70 and fall into the self-isolating category. The Ramblers Association to which Get Wiltshire Walking is affiliated has suspended activity until at least 31st May.

Ability Sports provide 10 weekly sessions to 100+ adults and children with learning and physical disabilities each week and are delivered in leisure centre and community settings. Community facilities are closing their venues to the public, the participants themselves have underlying health conditions and are required to self-isolate and National Governing Bodies of Sport and delivery partners are suspending activity.

Walking Sports, Healthier Communities and Live Well provide 36 weekly sessions to over 400 adults per week, 70% of whom are 70+ and will fall into the self-isolating, social distancing category. The programme is supported by approx. 30 volunteers. Delivery partners and National Governing Bodies of Sport have suspended activities.

Running provides weekly beginners running sessions to targeted people along with club engagement. England Athletics has suspended all activity until at least 30th April 2020.

The national picture and decisions that local partners and stakeholders are already making is limiting our ability to continue delivery. Volunteers, staff and participants are querying whether activities should still be taking place and many are inevitably practicing self-isolation and social distancing themselves.

We will need to work closely with our teams on the ground, Communications, and partner organisations and customers to ensure the closedown plan is both coordinated and effectively communicated to all.

The initial decision to suspend activities to indicative dates was taken prior to the closure of our leisure facilities. In light of the subsequent closure of Wiltshire Council and Places Leisure operated leisure centres, the suspension of activities should fall in line with remobilisation plans, guidance from National Governing Bodies of Sport and partners/stakeholders.

I confirm that in making this decision I have considered the following in line with Wiltshire Council’s Constitution:

Key decision requirements: Yes

Views of relevant cabinet member(s), committee chairman, area board(s): Yes

Consideration of the area boards and delegated decision checklist for officers on the issue of when and how to involve local councillors and area boards in decisions about local services: N/A – this decision applies county wide

Implication of any council policy, initiative, strategy or procedure: N/A

Consultation in accordance with requirements and expectations of consultation with the public: Consultation with the public was not possible in light of the urgency of the decision. :

Range of options available: Yes

Staffing, financial and legal implications: Yes. Customers pay weekly for activities, but there will be an impact to revenue. Redeployment of staff will be explored.

Risk assessment: Yes. The risks of maintaining sessions is considerable given public health implications, reduced staffing/volunteers and suspension of activities by other bodies/partners. As soon as we are able to deliver sessions again, we will.

Involvement of statutory officers and/or directors: All directors had an opportunity to comment following the gold meeting of 18 March where the potential need to suspend was discussed. The chairs of the community cell developed this proposal with input from relevant heads of service.

Regional or national guidance from other bodies: The decision was taken in light of national guidance from Public Health England and National Governing Bodies of Sport

The council’s constitution: Yes

This contract is suitable for execution under the e-signature process: N/A

Alternative options considered:

The other options considered were maintaining the existing provision of activities. This was rejected as impractical as well as being inconsistent with the advice from government on social distancing.

Conflict of Interest: Not applicable

Background: Pursuant to paragraph 4 of Part 3 Section D, the Directors of Wiltshire Council are empowered to take all necessary decisions in cases of emergency. This decision is being enacted by Simon Hendey, Director of Housing and Commercial (Community Cell co-chair), using these powers in circumstances where the Director concerned believes that there is a risk of damage to property, a threat to the health or wellbeing of an individual and/or that the interests of the Council may be compromised if this decision is not otherwise taken.

Contact: Simon Hendey, Director - Housing and Commercial Director of Housing and Commercial Email: simon.hendey@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Publication date: 18/05/2020

Date of decision: 18/03/2020

Accompanying Documents:




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