The City of Wolverhampton Council (CWC) owns and operates The Towers Outdoor Residential Pursuits Centre (Towers) near Betws-y-Coed in North Wales. The Towers offers outdoor education activity to school pupils from Wolverhampton and other schools, outside the Wolverhampton area, to support learning and personal development, as outlined in the National Curriculum. The Centre was operating at an annual loss in the region of £200k, which CWC effectively subsidises. The Council recognised that it could not continue to operate the Towers on this basis and committed to a detailed review and future options appraisal (utilising the 5 case model) to minimise the subsidy element and provide the most appropriate outdoor education offer to the children and schools of Wolverhampton. C.Co was commissioned to undertake this work.

The approach

To determine the most appropriate solution for the Council, and indeed the Towers Outdoor Education Centre, C.Co undertook a combination of engagement with other providers; engagement with customers and non-customers alike; benchmarking against other providers; consultation with employees and other key stakeholders such as the Friends of Towers Group. A pragmatic solution and recommendation was presented back to the Council and structured using a tailored 5 case model.

The outcome

Our experience of change and transformation projects, linked to the commercial agenda, enabled us to develop a Council-led solution that delivered efficiencies and cashable savings, whilst enabling the service to focus on the development of new business and income opportunities.