The launch of a new committee to deliver services across the north-east has been described as a “game-changer” by its chairman.
Councillors and organisations gathered yesterday for Live Life Aberdeenshire, which is the new name of the Aberdeenshire Council’s sport and cultural services.
The new sub-committee of the local authority’s communities committee has seen external industry experts recruited to drive the new partnership forward.
The authority had previously hoped to create an arms-length body in the form of a trust to run sports centres, museums and libraries to save money.
However, councillors halted the proposal after finding out it would no longer be exempt from business rates.
Aberdeenshire Council shelled out more than £370,000 on the trust that didn’t come to fruition.
Councillors have said the unique business unit will allow staff to deliver services in a more responsive and flexible way.
A weekend of taster events has been planned.
Under the theme “New Year, New You, New Us” it will be held next weekend, January 26-27, to showcase some of the existing and new activities being developed.
As part of the changing way of working, a sub-committee of the communities committee has been created.
David Cook, recently retired assistant principal of Banff and Buchan College, is one of the externally recruited industry experts volunteering their time to drive forward Live Life Aberdeenshire.
David, who has taken on distinguished roles in the charity and business sectors, for which he won UK Manager of the Year in 2010, will chair the sub-committee.
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He said: “I have always been passionate about the contribution sport and culture can make not only to quality of life but also to people’s fundamental health and wellbeing.
“I am pleased my experience, which includes marketing and funding, will be put to good use and I look forward to helping lead the development of Live Life Aberdeenshire and the benefit this will bring to local communities.
“This is a big game-changer.
“The council is very brave bringing in external people at such a high level of a committee to make some changes to the way things happen in sport and leisure.
“Decision-making will be made more locally, instead of corporate decisions being made elsewhere.”
Councillor Anne Stirling, chairwoman of the communities committee at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Since the publication of our ten-year strategies for Culture and Sport in April 2018, we have been working hard on a new model of delivery which will allow elected members and staff to best ensure the needs and demands of Aberdeenshire residents are met and our strategic aims achieved.
“A considerable amount of work is ongoing by staff across several council services to make this possible and residents will reap the benefits in the improved quality of service that will be achieved.”
Live Life Aberdeenshire is due to run for 12 months and it will be reviewed by Aberdeenshire Council after its year of operation.
A statement of ambition on how the local authority will work with the new committee was also signed yesterday.