The Department completed and published a value for money and policy review report of the local authority swimming pool programme. The report examined, among other things, how the programme has worked to date and what changes are required to ensure its effective and efficient delivery in the future. The The Value for Money and Policy Review Report of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme was published in 2008. The Review of the Programme was carried out by the Department to examine, among other things, how the programme has worked to date, and what changes, are required to ensure its effective and efficient delivery. The Minister has accepted the broad recommendations of the report and these recommendations will be used to assist in formulating future policy in this area and will be incorporated into any new round of the programme.
In terms of performance and effectiveness of the Programme, the Review found that the current round of the programme has been particularly successful. Under the current round, 40 projects have been completed and opened to the public, 6 other pools, which have been allocated funding, are under construction throughout the country and another 11 are at various stages of development.
The Report recommended that the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme should continue as a significant element of the Government's sporting infrastructure programme. From the data available, it is seen to be effective in generating high and increasing levels of participation in the sport. It also promotes greater efficiency in the operation of pools by requiring stronger viability testing and design by local authorities.
Among the main recommendations in the Report are the following:
- An increase in the maximum grant rate for a new project from €3.8m to €4m - unless the project is in or within the catchment of a RAPID area where the maximum grant rate will be €4.5m.
- For refurbishment of an existing pool, a grant rate of 80% (or 90% in or within the catchment of RAPID areas), subject to a maximum grant of €2m, to apply.
- Pools in schools /colleges which provide a reasonable level of public access to be eligible for refurbishment grant aid, at a level commensurate with the level of public access, provided the proposals are supported by and submitted through the relevant local authority (ineligible under the current round)
- A new grant of €150,000 for the provision of enhanced disabled facilities in existing pools or pools under construction/reconstruction, where enhanced disabled facilities are proposed.
- A change in the approval process whereby the current Feasibility Report and Preliminary Report stages should be combined as one initial application requiring Ministerial approval. Similarly, approval of Contract Documents should also include approval of Grant leaving the local authority to complete the Tender process itself and proceed immediately to construction.
The Report concluded that there are significant sporting, recreational and social cohesion reasons for continuing the programme into the medium term and this is recognised by the Government with the provision of €184m under the National Development Plan 2007 - 2013.
A copy of the Report is available here Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme pdf format
Grant-aid from the Exchequer is made available to local authorities and bodies supported by local authorities, towards the cost of providing new swimming pools or refurbishing of existing pools. The closing date for receipt of applications under the current Programme was 31 July 2000 and since then some 57 applications have or are being dealt with. A Value for Money and Policy Review Report of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme has been completed and published. The Review of the Programme was carried out by the Department to examine, among other things, how the programme has worked to date, and what changes, are required to ensure its effective and efficient delivery. The recommendations in the Report will be used to assist in formulating future policy in this area and will be incorporated into any new round of the programme.
Levels of Grant-aid
Under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme grants of up to a maximum of €3.8 million are available towards the refurbishment of existing pools or the provision of new pools, subject in either case to the total grant not exceeding 80% of the eligible cost of the project or, in the case of projects located in designated disadvantaged areas, 90% of the eligible cost.
Pools must be constructed to standards set down in the Department's Procedures for the Planning, Approval and Financing of Swimming Pools and Technical Guidelines - copies of the Guidelines are available, on request, from Sports Unit, Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, New Road, Killarney.
If you require further information on the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, you can contact us at:
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme
Telephone No: (+353 64) 6627362