GLL’s position as sport and leisure’s leading charitable social enterprise is built upon a solid foundation of services they provide to partners, key stakeholders, and customers.
GLL helps build active and sustainable communities through partnership working. They work to a social agenda and are committed to providing accessible community facilities for all. They believe in offering value for money.
They have been operating leisure centres since 1993 and it’s probably what they are best known for. Their key services are leisure, libraries, health, education, and sports development.
There are five centres in the London borough of Camden located at St Pancras, Oasis Sports Centre in Covent Garden, two centres in Kentish Town, and Swiss Cottage Sports Centre.
The Challenges Faced
Following feedback from Camden residents and members of the leisure centres, Camden wanted to ensure that in using the sports facilities offered by their partner organisation GLL Better Leisure Centres, concessionary customers received services at a level and quality that full members received.
Some of the objectives for GLL included:
- Increase the take up of facilities by concessions customers.
- To encourage as many concession customers to use the facilities as possible
- To ensure that Camden residents, including concessions are sold the membership option that best meets their needs and expectations, and made fully aware of all the options and prices (including the cheapest alternative).
- To perceive and treat concession customers equitably and afford the same degree of customer care, guidance, advice and support in order to make an informed decision about the service option that best meets their needs and pocket
- Management and front of house staff to understand, embrace and own the Council’s diversity policy
- Management staff to understand the barriers to participation that concession customers are likely to face.
Innovative Actions Taken
GLL in partnership with Camden sought an organisation that would be able to deliver training to enable this to happen. enei were commissioned to undertake this project in the following way:
enei’s approach is to begin with an inception meeting, which was called to clarify the scope of the project and expectations re success criteria.
This was followed by the familiarisation process which in this instance took the form of a data review, and a mystery shop at each of the venues to determine response to queries about membership and use of facilities at the sports centres.
The information was then discussed with the head of sports at Camden Council and the GLL Area Manager for Camden. Courses were devised for each of the centres which would include feedback from the mystery shop varying with each centre.
The course was delivered to front line staff, supervisors and managers within each centre.
The course consisted of:
- Training about Camden’s Equality and Diversity policy
- The business case for Diversity and Inclusion
- An activity where the attendees could put themselves in the shoes of residents or members of the centres called, ‘Can you easily?’ where they were given characters with a range of characteristics who were likely to come into the centres and want to join. They were asked questions and had to step forward if they could easily do the activity identified. There was a total of 12 steps but not everyone based on their characteristics could take 12 steps forward. There was a debrief in terms of the characters and why they may have had difficulties in taking the steps.
- The next activity then involved the attendees working in triads to role play, taking each character through the membership process and identify what worked well and where there were areas of difficulty. This part of the course was powerful in bringing to the attention of the attendee’s difficulties they had not anticipated in providing their service.
- They had an overview of the law and Unconscious Bias. Time was included at the end of the course to consider what actions they could take individually and what actions they could take as a centre, taking into account feedback from the mystery shop in relation to their centre.
- They were able to identify the best questions to ask in relation to helping the customer make the best choice for the service they wanted in relation to their need
- They were able to learn a little bit more about what facilities they had in place for their customers e.g. in relation to women only facilities or what concessions were available for someone who was doing an apprenticeship?
- The centres are looking to undertake post course mystery shopping to ensure training has been embedded
Evidence of Impact
- The Area manager arranged gender re-assignment training
- The website was amended to show all the concessions and eligibility criteria with costs on the same page
- Two centres identified language barriers as an issue and ways they could provide a service with translation using technology.
Dawn and colleagues from enei have been flexible, accommodating and extremely professional throughput all stages of the concessionary training process, from understanding what the needs were to delivering a well tailored, balanced and informative programme of course tuition. From my own first hand experience of the training and the feedback from colleagues, the mystery shop analysis as well as the insightful training was very well received and very much made the staff think differently as to how to approach customers who may fall into the concessionary group. In light of the training we employed enei to complete, GLL sort to conduct a series of mystery shops both pre and post training to better understand the impact of the training and I’m pleased to say that there has been a marked improvement on the Centre’s % scoring across Camden
David White Area Manager GLL