The Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme (LASPP), as operated by my Department, provides grant aid to local authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools.
While my Department provides capital funding to local authorities for the construction of swimming pools, it has no role in the arrangements for the operation of pools. I understand that any financial support for operational shortfalls comes from the resources of the relevant local authority. Furthermore, I am informed that the Local Government Audit Service has undertaken a Value for Money study to understand the strategies, procedures and reporting arrangements employed by local authorities to manage and monitor the operations of swimming pools and recreational facilities in their control. This study also examines the management arrangements in place. I understand the publication of the report is imminent.
In relation to the future funding of swimming pools, the National Development Plan (NDP) confirms the establishment of a new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). It is intended that the Fund will be for larger projects where the proposed Government contribution exceeds the amount currently available for individual projects under the Sports Capital Programme. The fund will initially focus on the National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities. While the detailed terms and conditions of the new scheme are currently being finalised in my Department, it is envisaged that applications for new swimming pool projects will be accepted. An announcement in relation to when applications will be accepted will be made shortly.