Public sector services are provided for the public and collectively paid for by the government. Their operation is ultimately accountable to elected bodies, including local council and parliament. The public sector regards the provision of leisure service as a social service to the community rather than as a profit-making venture. Consequently local authorities usually provide subsidised, or in some cases free, services for the communities they serve. In so doing they cater for the needs of gropes such as school children, young mothers, the unemployed the disable and the elderly.
The public sector can be at one of two levels: national government or local government. The latter includes county councils, metropolitan councils, unitary authorities and district council.
Historically, national government has seldom been a direct provider of leisure facilities in the UK its main task is to make the laws which govern their provision and provide assistance to a wide range of organisations representing the leisure and recreation industry. The government has four main functions:
Planning and control: setting the boundaries for leisure provisions to ensure that development of the industry is in line with government policies
Marketing: promoting the benefits of leisure activities.
Financial provision: providing funding through distribution of government monies
Co-ordination: ensuring that the activities carried out by different government organisation and departments do not affect conflict.
Most of the functions are carried out through the department of culture, media and sport.
Sports councils play an important role in the development of sport and physical recreation. Government responsibilities in sports and recreation are largely channelled through five sport councils:
The UK sport Council operating as UK sport.
The English sport council operating as sport of England
The sports council for Wales
The Scottish sport council operating as sport Scotland
The sport council for northern Ireland
Most local authority’s leisure and recreation services are subsidised by local taxes. The two main sources of income are the council tax which is paid by householders, and business rates, which are paid by commercial organisation. Both of these taxes are paid directly to local authorities. Local authorities may also generate income by charging for the facilities, products and services they provide. Charging for admission is the most common form of revenue. Public sector organisation sometimes makes profits but do not have profitability as their main objectives.
The private sector
The privet sector is made up of a variety of commercial operators owned by individuals or companies. Whose main aim is to generate a profit from the service and products which they provide for their customers. The main activities the private sector in the leisure and recreation industry takes place in:
Catering and accommodation
Health and fitness
Many privet sectors in leisure organisations such as rank, Ladbroke, and virgin are household names and make a major contribution to the wealth of the United Kingdom.
Leisure and recreation facilities commonly provided by the privet sector include golf clubs, night clubs, theme parks, health and fitness clubs, night clubs, restraints and pubs. In general privet sector companies are unlikely to get involved in the non-profit making area of the leisure and recreation industry.
Private sector operators can locate where ever they want. Consequently in areas where there is a small market there will be a lack of operators while in areas where there are large markets there is a great deal of competition and numerous firms will jostle beside each other to win customers. There are two private sector organisations
Non limited businesses
The two organisations operate in slightly different ways and have slightly different products to offer.
Sole traders: These are people who set up and run a business which they own themselves. The business is normally small with few or even no staff. Being a sole trader can be a precarious business as the owner can raise money only from conventional sources such as personal savings, loans and mortgages, and is also personally liable for any damage or debt incurred by the firm’s activities. The advantages are that the trader owns the company and can keep all the profits and make all decisions. To operate legally the sole trader simply needs to declare trading to the Inland Revenue and exhibit a notice of trading on the premises.
Partnerships: Sometimes a group of people get together and contribute funds and expertise in order to set up in business as a partnership. Partnerships can accommodate up to twenty people. To be recognised they have to sign a deed of partnership. Like sole traders the partners are personally responsible for the liabilities of the firm, to extent that if one partner dies or breaks the agreement the remaining partners are liable for any actions of that partner.
Private limited companies: these are privately owned companies where control is passed to a board of directors. The chief benefits are that the owner/ directors are not personally liable for any business debts or any damage caused by the firm unless they have been negligent of laws such as health and safety. In addition in a limited company the staff owner are paid a set salary and can not use the company funds for any personal expenditure.
To be legally recognised, limited companies must have a certificate of incoporporation. This is obtained by producing a ‘memorandum of association’ (which describes the name, address objective and capital of the company) and ‘articles of association’ (which describes the powers and responsibilities of the directors the accounts, share the transactions and company meetings).
The voluntary sector
Across the UK many thousands of voluntary organisations exist ranging from national bodies to small local groups. It is estimated that there are more than 200 national voluntary leisure groups, with combined memberships of over 8 million people. These include
* Youth and community groups
* Sports clubs and association
* Conservation and heritage groups
* Touring groups
* Social clubs
* Arts associations
And we could add to these the thousands of small local clubs and other groups.
Despite the huge and unrecorded number of voluntary clubs and organisations, almost all are guided by the same set of principals and organise themselves in similar ways. Voluntary organisations work on limited budgets. They need to minimise the costs to their members but at the same time they must work in credit if they are not to become bankrupt. In other words they need to keep running costs to a minimum, keep membership fees within the pocket of their members and constantly seek other sources of income such as grants.
Charities and trusts: Charities used to always be seen as non profit making organisations that raise money for good work, using volunteers. Because of a relaxation of the laws governing the meaning of charitable status it is now much easier to register as a charity. There are also significant financial and tax advantages for private public organisations. Organizations like this despite there good work are perhaps Quangos in sheep’s clothing and best thought of as in the public sector. In some cases this approach is taken to extremes and organisations as much of the appearance of private sector organisations. For example National Trust shops in both the high streets and on their properties, which are very similar to companies in the private sector. In the leisure sector National Trust is probably the most successful example of a non profit making organisation.