Contact your Parish Council

Economic Regeneration and

Leisure Committee

3 September 2019


Delivery Programme for the Sports/Leisure Review


Final Decision-Maker

Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee

Lead Head of Service

John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Mike Evans, Leisure Manager




Wards affected



Executive Summary


This report details the approach that has been taken on the Making Maidstone More Active Review and outlines the proposed delivery timeline up to April 2021.


Purpose of Report


Approval of the Making Maidstone More Active project delivery approach and timeline is sough



This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:




1.   The proposed delivery approach and timeline be agreed.


2.   An all-member workshop briefing, to inform all councillors of the review, be held by the end of January 2020.


3.   A report be submitted to the ERL Committee by end of January 2020 outlining the outcome of the residents survey.







Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee

3 September 2019

Delivery Programme for the Sports/Leisure Review







Impact on Corporate Priorities

Accepting the recommendations will materially improve the Council’s ability to achieve a “vibrant leisure and culture offer, enjoyed by residents and attractive to visitors” and “a diverse range of community activities is encouraged.”

John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Cross Cutting Objectives

The report recommendations support the achievement of addressing and reducing health inequalities by ensuring views from all residents are considered.


John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Risk Management

The risks are covered in the risk section of the report.


John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development


The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings and so need no new funding for implementation.

Paul Holland, Senior Finance Manager


We will deliver the recommendations with our current staffing.


John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development


The recommendations in the report and the Making Maidstone More Active Review align with the Council’s general duty, under section 3 of the Local Government Act 1999 as a best value authority, to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.





Keith Trowell, Team Leader Corporate Governance, MKLS

Privacy and Data Protection

The recommendation will increase the amount of personal information the council holds.  This will be held in line with our retention schedules.  A separate data privacy impact assessment has been completed.

Policy & Information Manager


The initial Equalities Impact Assessment has identified the possible need to take a targeted approach with regards to engaging all sectors of the community in the Sport/Leisure Review. The review process will help provide a granular knowledge of Maidstone’s communities, inclusive of groups with protected characteristics and those without.  The EqIA will be revisited during the course of the review to inform decision-making.

Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

Public Health



In accepting the recommendations the Council would be fulfilling the requirements of the Health Inequalities Plan and contributing to ensuring health inequalities are addressed and reduced

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

The recommendation will not impact on crime and disorder.

John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development


On accepting the recommendations, the Council will be in a more-informed position for future commissioning work and future procurement exercises.

John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development




2.1     The leisure review is a product of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee agenda item Future of Leisure Provision in Maidstone from the 5 March 2019 meeting. The meeting outlined the use of a new project officer to conduct stakeholder engagement that jointly addresses options for future leisure provision and future options for Maidstone Leisure Centre. Approval is now sought for the proposed delivery approach and timeline.


2.2     Maidstone Borough Council wants to encourage all residents to be physically active, wants to create a borough where this is an aspiration and wants to provide services that make this achievable.


2.3     So that we explore all opportunities and don’t overlook any solutions we will ensure the review encompasses a multi-level approach that enables people to participate in as little or as much detail as they choose.  The review will be open to all Maidstone residents and also to visitors who wish to respond.  A multi-level approach will enable everyone to take part and will also provide opportunities to hear in more depth from key respondents, key demographic groups and representatives of key market segments.  


2.4     The contract for the Maidstone Leisure Centre is due to be renewed in 2024.  The Making Maidstone More Active review gives Maidstone Borough Council the opportunity to understand exactly what residents want from their local leisure service and to incorporate those elements into the next leisure contract.


2.5     Maidstone has 60.7% of people active (defined as 150 minutes per week).  This compares to 62.5% in Kent, 65.2% in the south east and 62.3% nationally.  24.0% of Maidstone adults are reported as being inactive (less than 30 minutes per week) compared to 22.9% in Kent, 22.3% in the south east and 24.9% nationally.


2.6     Excess weight (combining overweight and obesity) in Maidstone’s adult population is similar to the local and national averages.  Obesity in children aged 10-11 is similar to the local and national averages.  Maidstone Borough Council aspires to be a place where adult and child obesity is better than average and the Making Maidstone More Active review will lead to a service design that enables that to be the case.


Making Maidstone More Active


2.7     This name ensures the review is outcome-focused and serves as a useful reminder that the work is about more than just the contract end date of Maidstone Leisure Centre. By giving the review a recognisable name, momentum can be maintained for the duration of the review and the component parts of the multi-level delivery approach can be linked together.


Survey – September 2019 onwards


2.8     The review will comprise a public survey and a series of forums, to enable a mix of quantitative and qualitative data to be collected.


2.9     The residents survey will be the first step of the review. This aims to collect information on current physical activity behaviours, attitudes towards physical activity and opinions on how the services offered locally can better support residents’ abilities to be physically active. The Leisure team is working with the Policy and Information team to design the survey and ensure that it meets MBC standards.


2.10 The survey will be available to complete online, enabling completion on smart devices at any time.  It will be tailored to:

·         individuals who consider themselves active

·         individuals who do not consider themselves active

·         adults responding on behalf of their children

·         people responding on behalf of an organisation or group


2.11 To drive responses to the survey, the leisure team will attend public venues and locations, community events and local networking events.  These attendances will be used to collect data in the field, promote the review as a whole and engage with the public to get a sense of their thoughts and opinions on leisure provision in the borough.  The venues and occasions where attendances will be planned, include:


·         Maidstone Leisure Centre

·         The Mall shopping centre

·         Fremlin Walk

·         Mote Park

·         Cobtree Manor Park

·         Kent Life

·         Libraries

·         Village centres

·         Park run events

·         Sports events

·         Community events

·         Involve groups forums and

·         School events

A number of community attendances are already booked in the calendar.  The Leisure Manager can update committee on these at the meeting.


2.12 Data will be collected in person using tablets.  This ensures the data goes straight into the database and data security is more easily managed.  For respondents who cannot access the form online we can fill it in with them over the telephone.  Respondents who prefer a written version of the survey can be sent one, although we will aim to keep this method to a minimum.


Maidstone in Segments


2.13 Sport England has 19 market segments which represent society in terms of people’s sporting behaviours.  The segments are based upon propensity modelling, a statistical technique which matches the probability of displaying a particular behaviour to the market segments.  The full list of segments is outlined in appendix 2. These segments will be used to identify which segment each adult respondent falls into and which sports and physical activity behaviours they are likely to exhibit.  The table below shows the three most common and the three least common segments in Maidstone.












The Larger Segments

Segment Name and Number

Percentage of Maidstone population

Segment Title

Age Range

About them

Segment 6 –


13% - This segment makes up the largest proportion of the Maidstone population with 14,714 in total in the borough.

Settling Down Males


Sporty male professionals, buying a house and settling down with a partner.

Tim doesn’t do as much sport as he used to because of work but still finds time each week to be active.Tim does more cycling than other physical activity and would like to do more of it. We also know that Tim is likely to be a member of a club to play sport and likely to take part in competition.

Segment 11 - Phillip

10% - The second largest proportion of the segments.

There is a total of 11,374 Phillips in the borough.

Comfortable Mid-Life Males


Mid-life professional, sporty males with older children and more time for themselves.

Philips sporting activity is above the national average levels and participation in cycling is above the average for all adults. This segment would like to do mostly more swimming, closely followed by more cycling. The main motivations for Philip are enjoyment, keeping fit and socialising, all to a greater extent than other segments.

Segment 13 - Roger and Joy

8.1% - The third largest proportion of segments with 9,162 in the borough.

Early Retirement Couples


Free-time couples nearing the end of their careers.

These residents are slightly less active than the average adult population with 66% of this segment having done no sport in the last 4 weeks compared to 60% of all adults. These residents do mostly keep fit/ go to the gym as their physical activity and swimming. Roger and Joy would like to do more swimming and the greatest barrier reported for this segment is ‘health, injury or disability’.

The Smaller Segments

Segment Name and Number

Percentage of Maidstone population

Segment Title

Age Range

About them

Segment 15 - Terry

2.1% - The Second smallest proportion of the population with 2,318 people in Maidstone.

Local Old boys


Generally inactive older men, low income and little provision for retirement.

Terry participates in Keep fit/gym the most, but less than the average adult does. Angling and Golf are the only two sports which Terry participates more than the average adult amount. Terry would like to do more swimming.

Segment 16 - Norma

1.1%- The lowest proportion of the population with 1,209 in Maidstone.

Later Life Ladies


Older ladies, recently retired, with a basic income to enjoy their lifestyles.

When Norma does sport it is more likely to be Keep fit/gym or Swimming, however these levels are much lower than all adults. Norma would like to do more swimming.


2.14 When reviewing the segments data we will be mindful of Maidstone’s ageing population and seek to obtain a greater number of responses from the older segments as these will be make up a greater proportion of our future population.


Obtaining views from everyone


2.15 Respondents’ data will also be cross referenced with Acorn data which will also enable additional statistical conclusions to be drawn. 


2.16 The equalities impact assessment for the review identifies the need to obtain responses from respondents who identify as displaying a key demographic.  We will ensure we have a representative sample of the community with focus on all key demographics and work with local organisations and groups to achieve this.  Where we see under-representation of key groups we will obtain more responses to address this. 


2.17 In addition to the protected characteristics we will include deprivation as a characteristic to be monitored.  We will ensure respondents from the borough’s more deprived communities are statistically represented in the survey responses so that the review encapsulates their views and experiences.  We will do this by targeting community attendances in those wards.




Forums – January 2020 Onwards


2.18 The data collected from the survey will allow us to pick out themes that residents have highlighted. These will create a basis for discussion points during our forums.


2.19 There will be a minimum of one forum in every ward and the halfway point of 13 forums will trigger a report to ERL committee.


2.20 Forum groups will be assembled through open invitation and selected invitation to achieve a blend of people and views at each one.


2.21 Additionally, forums will be held for identified target groups, including LGBT, BAME, disability, age, to ensure that if views from these demographics are not collected in other forums they can be collected here.


2.22 ERL meetings can be used, where possible, to discuss thoughts and issues with representative bodies from the local area.





Do nothing.


3.1     Maidstone Borough Council does not have to carry out the methods of leisure review outlined previously. There could be no new information to come out of this review that we don’t already have in our own databases or could gain from national governing bodies’ databases.


3.2     We could take less time completing the stages of the review and continue to devise some options for the future of leisure with information we already have.


3.3     This option will go against the resolved action of the 5 March 2019 Heritage, Culture and Leisure committee meeting.  This option is not recommended.


Complete the survey and forums independently of each other


3.4     The survey and forums could be completed separately and spend the whole review period doing both and combine the data at the end of the review period.


3.5     This would prevent the survey data being used in the forum design phase and would prevent lessons learnt in one area being used to inform another area.


3.6     There is also an option not to complete a public survey but this would remove the open involvement that the survey gives to all residents and individuals with an interest.  It would also be less transparent.  This option is not recommended.


Carry out the review as proposed by the timeline at appendix 1


3.7     The leisure team has worked with colleagues and devised the proposed structure and timeline as the best way to gather data, responses and views from respondents. 


3.8     The timeline includes a survey launching in September 2019, and a series of forums beginning in January 2020.  It also includes an all-member briefing workshop in January 2020.


3.9     This review timeline fully utilises the staffing resource of the two-year fixed term leisure project officer appointed in July 2019 and will help build relationships between the leisure team, community groups and residents.  This is the preferred option.





4.1     Appendix 1 shows the proposed delivery timeline for the Making Maidstone More Active review.  It is based on a resident-centred approach whereby everyone is able to take part and submit views, leading to an exploration of those views in greater detail via a series of forum workshops.  The timeline also includes the flexibility for additional survey periods should they be needed.


Community engagement


4.2     The leisure project officer is already contacting community groups and organisations to publicise the review and build relationships which can be used to support forum development at a later date.  The success of the review is dependent upon successful stakeholder engagement. A large proportion of the stakeholder engagement strategy includes social media engagement.


Marketing plan


4.3     Our marketing plan identifies they key methods for driving awareness of, and responses to, the Making Maidstone More Active review.  These include social media channels, Borough Insight articles and local press and radio in addition to the community attendances mentioned in paragraph 2.10.


4.4     We will work with Maidstone Borough Council’s communications team to generate content for social media posts and update articles during the review period.


Encouraging and attracting responses


4.5     The survey will be hosted on the Maidstone Borough Council website where FAQ information and response statistics will also be found.  By providing statistics on the number of responses so far on a ward by ward basis we will encourage stakeholders to ensure others in their communities respond to the review survey.  We will also use anonymised highlight testimonies and comments from respondents as thought-provoking statements to encourage other people to respond and have their say as well.


4.6     Tangible incentives and prizes can also be used to increase survey responses.  These can be tailored to certain demographics and used as tools for encouraging responses from demographics whose representation in the response rates is lower than desired.


4.7     The email address, which relates directly to the Making Maidstone More Active review project, is already in operation.



5.       RISK


5.1      The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Council’s Risk Management Framework.  That consideration is shown in this report at 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.6.  However, we are satisfied that the further responses to those risks shown at 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 and 4.1 are sufficient to bring their impact and likelihood within acceptable levels.  We will continue to monitor these risks as per the Policy.




6.1     Following approval for a sports and leisure review from Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee on 5 March 2019 the leisure project officer has been initiated the engagement with stakeholders.


6.2     The leisure team has engaged with Sport England to learn more about its Local Delivery Pilot project which comprises similar projects carried out in other local authority areas in the UK.  These pilots have provided insight into the best ways to build relationships with stakeholders.  In addition, they have learnt the best ways to get good data and understand problems in depth.


6.3     National, and regional partners and organisations will continue to be consulted and engaged with during the review period.





7.1     At the time of writing the Making Maidstone More Active survey is still in development with the policy and information team. 


7.2     Following agreement from ERL Committee the finalised survey will be launched on the Maidstone Borough Council website and its launch can be publicised.  Community attendances to promote the review and gather responses can commence.


7.3     Operational oversight of the project is by the Making Maidstone More Active Project Board, which comprises the relevant council heads of service.







·         Appendix 1: Making Maidstone More Active Review Delivery Timeline

·         Appendix 2: Table of Sport England Market Segments




The following background papers are to be made available with this report:

·         Background Paper 1: Future of Leisure Provision in Maidstone report from Mike Evans to Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee on 5 March 2019.