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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/07/2001
SCOPING REPORT – TOURISM DEVELOPMENT



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ANNEXE 2
SCOPING REPORT – TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Introduction

1. This review will examine the nature and effectiveness of the Council’s involvement in the provision of services to manage and develop tourism in and around Waverley.

2. The review will seek to answer the following key questions:

Since the provision of services in tourism management and development is not a duty that the Council must fulfil, is there support from stakeholders for the use of resources in this way? What interests are served by the Council’s tourism related activities and what would be the effect on them of a variation in the level of service? Is the work that the Council is currently engaged in effective in meeting the objectives set out in the Leisure Strategy Update 1999 and the Tourism Strategy? What scope for performance improvements can be identified and how can these be measured? Service Coverage

3. The Council’s current involvement in tourism management and development includes:

The provision of a tourist information centre (TIC) at Farnham Locality Office – one of only two such TICs in Surrey; The production and promotion of a Tourism Strategy for Waverley; The organisation of courses, events and the publication of material to support the extension and improvement of visitor services in Waverley, in particular bed and breakfast accommodation; The production of promotional publications such as a destination guide, venue guide etc; Practical support for the work of many organisations working in the Borough to improve the vitality and success of local areas – e.g. Farnham Visitors Council, Go Godalming, etc; Direct involvement in projects such as the establishment of Farmer’s Markets, planning applications concerning tourism matters, improvements to signage etc; Liaison with local, regional and national agencies whose work has a bearing on service delivery in Waverley. 4. The net cost of the tourism service as shown in the 2001/02 budget book is 83,340.

5. The review will examine each of these areas of activity to test the extent to which they are justified and the extent to which they are efficient in using the resources currently made available. 6. In this way it will be possible to meet the requirements the best value review process in respect of the ‘fours Cs’, in particular as follows:

Challenge

7. The provision of services for tourism development and management is a matter at the discretion of the Council. In areas where tourism is obviously a major economic driver and impacts on every area of Council activity (such as seaside resorts) the local authority concerned has little choice but to be actively involved in all aspects of tourism and managing its consequences. However, in an area such as Waverley it is not self-evident that tourism development is a necessary Council function. The extent to which the Council needs to be engaged and the benefits which arise from this (as well as the consequences of not being involved) therefore need to be tested.

8. This process will involve seeking the views of those involved in promoting the economic well-being of the area, local businesses, town and parish councils, as well as members of the public at large.

Compare

9. Comparisons with the performance of other agencies and local authorities involved in tourism development will need to be made to test Waverley’s effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.

10. Performance of the TIC is already subject to bench-marking exercises and detailed studies have recently been undertaken which will provide a useful starting point for this work. Other comparisons will be made with local authorities of a similar geographic nature and state of tourism development (i.e. not authorities representing areas primarily driven by a tourism economy).

Consult

11. Consultation processes will concentrate on those organisations and individuals that have a stake in the nature, extent and quality of performance of the tourism development work that the Council is engaged in. This will include town and parish councils, local businesses, other agencies promoting tourism and economic development, and individual users of the tourist information centre (where customer feedback processes are already in place). Consultation is expected to include the use of questionnaires and focus groups.

12. The Council’s website is another important mechanism for providing information to potential visitors, and its performance in this respect will need to be measured. It may also be possible to use the website as a tool for consultation with ‘potential’ visitors to Waverley.


Compete

13. The role of the Council’s tourism and development service is not to provide the facilities or services which will attract visitors, but is, among other things, to advise the Council and others on the implications of its actions as they impact on tourism and visitor management, to assist visitors and, sometimes, to seek to limit the development of tourism and visitor numbers where this would be detrimental to the environment. This service could be provided by an external basis, although there is no common-place model for this. Options for alternative delivery mechanisms will need to be examined as part of the review process.

14. The operation of the TIC is integral to the operation of the Farnham Locality Office that was subject to a Year 1 FSR. The implications and recommendations of that review will need to be taken into account in examining the services offered by the TIC. It will not be possible to take unilateral decisions in respect of the TIC which have consequences which conflict with the outcome of the previous FSR.

Links with Appropriate Waverley Strategies

15. This Fundamental Service Review will relate to other Waverley Strategies and Plans, particularly Corporate and Service Plans, the Community Strategy and any specific service strategies. Those that are particularly relevant to the Leisure Reviews are as follows:-

Community Safety Strategy
Local Plan and Replacement Local Plan
Economic Development Plan
Local Agenda 21 Strategy
‘A Fresh Future’ – the Four Year Plan 1999-2003
Equal Opportunities
Leisure Strategy
Tourism Action Plan; ‘Visitors mean Business’
Surrey Youth Strategy

16. In addition, Waverley has a statutory obligation to prepare and submit an Asset Management Plan along with its Capital Strategy. This is designed to demonstrate that the Council is taking a strategic approach to the use of its property assets in the provision of its services. It is therefore essential that the use of property for the provision of services forms an intrinsic part of all FSRs.

Timetable

17. A provisional outline timetable is provided in the Gantt chart attached to this report. It is intended that the review be completed before 31st December 2001. The review has three main phases:

Phase 1 – Data Collection/Information Gathering

This phase will include:

Establishing the role for Members and other stakeholders in the reviews themselves – probably through an early workshop; Establishing the mechanism for testing stakeholder views about the Council’s role in the service and then implementing this; Identifying the appropriate consultation mechanisms and the extent of the consultation process and then implementing; Using the Excellence Model to examine the service; Identifying and gathering relevant performance data; Bench-marking with other local authorities and similar service deliverers, in particular in relation to the TIC where bench-marking processes are well-established; Investigating current examples of good practice and effective service delivery models and subjecting them to critical examination. Phase 2 – Analysis

This phase will include:

Analysing responses to the ‘challenge’ and consultation exercises; Analysing the outcomes of bench-marking, Excellence Model and performance measurement exercises; Identifying the key issues for change to improve performance and the mechanisms by which these can be measured; Testing options for performance improvements with key stake-holders; Phase 3 - Recommendations This phase will include:

Preparing the report of the review team Discussing the implications of change with Members Seeking approval for changes which are considered desirable Service Review Group

18. The service review group will consist of:

19. Other staff from within the Environment and Leisure Department and the Chief Executive’s Department may need to be involved depending on the nature of the work which the review group is undertaken.

Resource Implications

20. A particular difficulty for this review is caused by the vacancy of the Tourism Manager post. Discussions are currently taking place as to how this post may be filled given its part-time nature of 13 hours per week. Even if filled in the next two to three months the allocation of 13 hours per week would allow insufficient time for the post-holder to participate fully in the review and to conduct any significant front-line work. At present the review team lacks the breadth of expertise to properly conduct the review, and this is likely to necessitate the involvement of consultancy assistance.

21. Additional resources will be necessary to meet the costs of consultation and research work, including additional benchmarking processes which cannot now be accessed through the tourist boards of which Waverley has ceased to be a member.

comms/executive/170 17690