An Aberdeen community centre chief has expressed concerns that the city council is trying to take “too much control” of social hubs.
Paul O’Connor was to address a Town House meeting of councillors today to raise concerns a report seeks to overexert influence on how the city’s 21 community centres and 16 learning centres are run.
However a leading councillor said the proposed changes “won’t have a significant impact”.
The council gives each community centre £11,065 a year as part of a £743,058 annual budget. It also allocates funds to learning centres from a £762,878 annual fund.
In turn, those centres provide a wide range of activities from children’s clubs to social afternoons for pensioners.
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On Monday the council tabled a report which proposes replacing the existing lease and management agreements between centres and the council with a new lease which the council could end with a year’s notice to “protect the council’s interest”.
Mr O’Connor said he is unhappy with the proposals and met council representatives to discuss the report.
He said: “The report talks about control all the way through. It sounds like they want to take too much.
“The proposal would allow the council to introduce new conditions and, should they be broken, punish the centres, with no way of appealing.”
Mr O’Connor said he is concerned the new agreement would compel centres to achieve goals laid out by the council’s local outcome improvement plan (LOIP).
He added: “Every centre in Aberdeen is already achieving the aims of the LOIP, but the centres put people at the heart of everything they do. There isn’t a need to change that.”
However John Wheeler, convener of the council’s operational delivery committee which was to discuss the report today, said: “The centres do fulfil the aspirations of the LOIP currently. This would formalise that.
“The report details a proposed change in contract between the council and the centres and has language that sounds more imposing than it is, but the relationship the council has with the centres will stay the same, with partnership working.
“We will not be expecting centres to jump through hoops.”