Hounslow Council Ditch Fusion To Run Leisure Centres in-house

Reopening on a phased bases not expected to start until November

The pool at Isleworth Leisure Centre
The pool at Isleworth Leisure Centre

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Hounslow Council have announced that they are ending their contract with Fusion Lifestyle to run the boroughs leisure centres and public halls.

The decision was taken at a borough cabinet meeting this Tuesday (8 September) after the consideration of a report into Fusion’s performance.

As a result, Hounslow's leisure centres are to be managed by the Council's wholly owned company, Lampton 360, and the Public Halls in-house by the Council.

The outcome, which is described as mutually agreed, means that Hounslow Council, along with its trading company, Lampton 360, will take over the operational running of their leisure services from 1 November, with a phased approach to reopening the services during that month. Leisure centres such as the Fountains in Brentford, New Chiswick Pool and the Isleworth Leisure Centre remain unavailable to local users until then.

The Public Halls will be moved in-house and managed within the Environment, Culture and Customer Services Directorate.

The council says it can confirm that no further Direct Debits will be taken by Fusion and it will transfer over all memberships to the Council. All further correspondence will also come via the Council or their trading company, Lampton 360.

It has given assurances that staff being transferred to Lampton 360 and the Council from Fusion Lifestyle will receive at least the London Living Wage.

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services at Hounslow Council, apologised for the delay in reopening which she acknowledged has been hugely frustrating for members and said, ““We will move the services and staff as quickly as possible and therefore, we anticipate that services will reopen in a phased way during November, providing that Government guidelines to be Covid-secure can be met. To make sure this can happen as seamlessly as possible all staff from Fusion Lifestyle who deliver the Hounslow services are likely to be transferred to Lampton 360 and Hounslow Council respectively through a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) arrangement.”

Anthony Cawley, Director of Operations at Fusion Lifestyle said: “The last six months has been a difficult time for all concerned and continues to be so. Fusion is looking to concentrate on other areas of their business in light of the impact of coronavirus on our operating model. We are pleased that we have been able to come to a mutually acceptable decision with the Council on the leisure services, and for our valuable staff, and we know that the services will be in good hands going forwards. We would like to thank all our customers and users of our leisure services for their continued support, and particularly would like to thank our staff for their continued loyalty and thank the Council for securing the services of our Hounslow workforce.”

In order to meet the Government guidelines, the council says leisure centres and public halls will need to operate at a reduced capacity of around 40 per cent of pre Covid-19 levels which means there will need to be a system in place to manage usage.

During the transition communications with over 10,000 leisure centre members, the sports clubs and regular users of public halls will continue via Fusion Lifestyle until the data is transferred in line with GDPR requirements, to the Council / Lampton 360.

Centre users are speculating that the council has been unable to reach an agreement with Fusion Lifestyle which manages the facilities on the council’s behalf. Fusion managed centres in other boroughs have reopened.

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services at Hounslow Council, said, “The Council and Fusion continue to work towards the safe reopening of the borough’s leisure facilities and public halls, and Cabinet will next week be considering the best way forward in this process.

“Our priority remains ensuring public safety, delivering consistent and high-quality services, and developing a sustainable model to give reassurance and certainty to users and staff.

“We know the ongoing closure of facilities is very frustrating for our leisure centre and public halls customers and staff. I would like to apologise for this delay and thank everyone for their patience while we develop our plans for reopening.

“I thank everyone who has contacted me personally regarding this matter, and I am endeavouring to provide prompt answers to all emails and calls.

“We will hopefully be able to provide a detailed update and clear road ahead after the Cabinet meeting.”

September 9, 2020

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