A WEEK before BH Live announced plans to make about 200 people redundant, BCP Council abandoned plans to give it a multi-million pound bailout.

At the end of its meeting last week, the council’s cabinet had been due to approve about £9 million to help the organisation manage its financial struggles.

But concerns, initially raised by members of its scrutiny board, prompted a decision to “investigate the issues in further detail” before agreeing to provide any funding.

Earlier this week it was announced that BH Live, which runs leisure facilities across Bournemouth, would make about 200 of its employees redundant due to the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Its chief executive, Chris Symons, said “really difficult” decisions had had to be made to secure the future of the organisation.

Last month a confidential report was published ahead of BCP Council’s cabinet meeting, proposing millions of pounds in funding to support the organisation.

But concerns over the plans were raised by its scrutiny board which asked that more detailed analysis be carried out before any proposal is approved.

“The Unity Alliance cabinet brought a paper forward on BH Live that we believed needed significantly more work,” councillor Drew Mellor, the leader of the Conservative opposition said.

“The external due diligence partner that we initially called for agreed with us and as a result the cabinet accepted our cross-party scrutiny recommendation to look at this again.”

The scrutiny board’s suggestion was supported by cabinet members although council deputy leader, councillor Mark Howell, said it was likely a similar approach would have been taken anyway.

“The situation was moving very quickly,” he said. “The paper was drafted two weeks before the meeting before new information came to light.

“With this our thinking as a cabinet had already been along the same lines as the board.”

A council spokesman said the report had considered the financial impact on a range of similar organisations operating in the area.

“It is recognised that the leisure sector has been particularly hard hit nationally as a result of lockdown but also that our leisure service operators locally make a significant contribution to the area’s economy,” they said.

“The cabinet meeting concluded with a recommendation for the existing cross-council working group to investigate the issues in further detail before deciding what action the council may be required to take.”