Cash strapped Pembrokeshire County Council will take the first steps to outsource the running of its leisure, tourism and cultural services to a charitable trust, cabinet decided today (Monday).

The move comes after consideration of five cost-cutting options, proposed by specialist firm Winckworth Sherwood, in a nine week public consultation.

Cabinet heard that the public’s favourite option was to retain the status quo and retain the services under the council’s control.

However cabinet heard that this option would almost inevitably result in cuts to service delivery in the future.

Cabinet members voted to support, in principle, the consultants’ preferred option of the creation of a charitable-trust to deliver culture and leisure services.

This includes leisure centres, swimming pools, synthetic sports pitches, athletics tracks, indoor tennis centres, libraries, museums, archives, and support for the arts.

The trust would be independent from the council, which would only be able “to influence rather than control” it.

Further more detailed work will now be undertaken on issues of governance, financial issues, staff terms and conditions and continued member oversight.

Cabinet also agreed that the leader and chief executive should appoint councillors and officers to a task and finish group which would report back to Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Further work will also be undertaken on setting up a non-charitable subsidiary organisation which would manage tourism services.

See Wednesday’s Western Telegraph for the full story.