Examination of Witnesses (Questions 340-343)|
12 DECEMBER 2006
Q340 Chairman: That is true.
Mr Caborn: That is something that
we have to manage and manage properly.
Q341 Adam Afriyie: While we are on
the subject of the English Institute for Sport, we had an excellent
visit to Loughborough University. It was incredibly encouraging
compared to what my colleagues saw in Australia.
Mr Caborn: I assume you did not
go to Australia.
Q342 Adam Afriyie: No, I did not
make itwhich is a shame because it was obviously a fascinating
visit. When we were at Loughborough University we saw some lovely
signs saying "EIS" and it seemed to exist in a virtual
way but not in a physical and tangible way to a large degree.
Why is it that the English Institute of Sport is divided into
nine centres as opposed to a single, tangible centre with which
people can identify?
Mr Caborn: If you wish me to speak
for another half an hour, I can do! Under your previous administration,
one of the very good things that John Major did, if I may say
so, was to go out to Australia and look at what they did in their
Australian Institute of Sport (which I have visited on many occasions
now)and he brought that back to the UK as a single entity.
When that was put under some discussion as far as athletes were
concerned and those that support the athletes, it was decided
that they would move into a regional structure. Quite honestly,
if you go to the AIS now in Australia, you will see they have
done exactly the same: they are moving into the regions. This
is an interesting point: some of them have linked that to universitieslike
we see Bath, like we see Loughboroughor, if you then look
at Sheffield, the EIS there is a stand-alone with universities
supporting that. We are still going through a bit of a learning
curve but the principal decision to move from the central organisations,
like you have in Australia, to the decentralised ones for each
of the regions, was a decision taken against a background of consultation
with governing bodies and athletes.
Q343 Adam Afriyie: And you are satisfied
that it is value for money when you have got the administration
and bureaucracy associated with those nine centres, and, like
I say, they do not appear to exist in any markedly tangible form
but rather in a virtual form.
Mr Caborn: I should tell you after
Beijing and the 2012 Olympics deliver the medals. The only thing
I can say to you is that, if you speak to Kelly Holmes, she will
say that she came from being one of the best to the best,
both in Paris when she ran in the IAAF the year before the Olympics
in Athens and when she took two golds in Athens. She puts that
down to her six or nine months or whatever it was at the EIS in
Sheffield. That took her from being one of the best to the
best in the world. That is the delivery at the end of the day.
But it is a very finite line if you are going from being one of
the best to the best, and it is whether we can wrap around
our athletes that type of service. Whether we have got it right
at the moment I am really not an expert to say. We will look at
Chairman: Minister, on that very positive
note, we will bring this session to an end. Thank you very much
indeed for your attendance.