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Title: A level playing field: social inclusion in public leisure
Authors: Hodgkinson, Ian R.
Hughes, Paul
Keywords: England
Public sector management
Leisure facilities
Social inclusion
Partnerships
Trusts
New leisure trusts
Public services
Performance
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: HODGKINSON, I.R. and HUGHES, P., 2012. A level playing field: social inclusion in public leisure. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 25 (1), pp. 48 - 63.
Abstract: Purpose: The transfer to partnership in public sector management has created significantly new modes of service delivery, and is suggested to be the best means of ensuring that disadvantaged groups are socially included. The purpose of this paper is to examine New Leisure Trust (NLT) structures in public leisure provision relative to direct, in-house managed facilities and privately run Leisure Management Contractor (LMC) facilities. In particular, NLTs receive significant government funds and subsidies through tax breaks that are not forthcoming to rivals, which raises questions as to whether NLTs deserve such aid for delivering upon the social inclusion agenda of the government. Design/methodology/approach: The research involved a national survey questionnaire to 1,060 public leisure service providers in England. Empirical testing through multiple analysis of variance and regression analysis was applied to the dataset. Findings: The authors find that NLTs do not follow social orientation strategies to any significantly greater degree than rivals, nor seem to create social inclusion to any greater degree. Further, NLTs have the least to gain in terms of business performance from creating social inclusion, whilst in-house (in particular) and LMC facilities stand to gain the most. Practical implications: Though each approach to provision examined places a considerable strategic emphasis on being socially oriented, they are not effective at increasing the social inclusion of recreationally disadvantaged groups. Originality/value: This paper calls for the current public leisure management playing field to be levelled in a rebalance of opportunity and investment through the removal of anti-competitive measures. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Description: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/14768. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. The definitive version is available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513551211200285
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1108/09513551211200285
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/14768
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513551211200285
ISSN: 0951-3558
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Business School)

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