Written evidence from UK Sport (OLL 07)

Summary of Key Points

The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics represent a once in a generation opportunity to put sport at the heart of British social, cultural and economic activity, with the Games acting as a catalyst for lasting positive change.

At the heart of our national ambition for a successful Games must be the desire for British athletes to compete and win on home soil as never before. Home athlete success is crucial to the future legacy of the Games - not only in terms of providing the vital feel good factor and national pride engendered by sporting success, but also the 'virtuous circle' where success today provides the role models and inspiration to the athletes of tomorrow, and helps to inspire the population at large to participate in sport.

London 2012 has already been the catalyst to significant positive change: in terms of the simplification of the sporting landscape introduced in 2006, leading to greater understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the various strategic funding bodies, and also to greater investment in our elite athletes by UK Sport through the additional funding secured initially from the Treasury in 2006 and more recently from the 'Team 2012' private sponsorship initiative.

It has also led to a more focused approach to performance and what it takes to ensure you can be the world's best - a good example being the introduction of UK Sport's 'Mission 2012' process, which seeks to monitor sports' performance but also identify ways in which solutions can be identified to address challenges and maximise the impact of public funding on excellence in Olympic and Paralympic sport.

As a result British athletes secured record results at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, demonstrating the real progress being made. UK Sport's investment strategy demands that success is build on a solid foundation of talent recruitment and development. A crucial legacy for the Games will be to ensure that such success is not only secured in London but also in 2014, 2016 and beyond. This will require ensuring that we sustain and resource a robust and world class high performance system in the UK post 2012.

Alongside this is the ability to build on the back of a home games a legacy of the UK's ability to host and stage world-leading sporting events that will ensure the success of the proposed 'Decade of Sport'. As the lead strategic body working with sporting and regional partners, UK Sport is, in the lead up to 2012, supporting over 80 world class events across 40 different sports and in over 20 towns and cities across the UK.

The enquiry is specifically interested in the use and management of the Olympic Park and venues after 2012. This includes the opportunity for Major Sporting Events to be staged in the Park's world-class facilities post the Games, as well as the potential for NGBs and other sporting bodies to base themselves at the Venues.

The challenge this presents is to have as much certainty as possibly on funding going forward. For an Olympic and Paralympic Major Events legacy to be felt on the Park, the ability to secure regional commitment (from London in particular) to help underwrite and fund future events is paramount. For NGBs in particular it is very difficult for any commitment to be made around venue use without any knowledge of what the likely funding available is to sustain their high performance programmes.

There will also need to be surety about the ongoing technical viability of the stadia for use as high performance venues. This includes not only meeting the training requirements of elite athletes and the competition requirements of International Federations but also being able to sustain the infrastructure needed around major events (eg. athlete, official and spectator accommodation).

About UK Sport

1. UK Sport is the Non-Departmental Public Body charged with "leading sport in the UK to world class success". It is the strategic lead body for investment in high performance sport in the UK, with responsibility for delivering medal success at World and European Championships and - ultimately - the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It also has strategy lead responsibility for the bidding for and staging of World Class Sporting Events in the UK; and for the strategic delivery of the UK's International Relations and International Development work in sport.

2. For the 2009-2013 cycle, it has invested 304 million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding directly in support of Olympic and Paralympic National Governing Bodies' World Class Performance Programmes; with this figure supplemented by a further 6.5million raised in 2009 from VISA sponsorship the new Team 2012 partnership between UK Sport, LOCOG and the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations. In addition it is investing 89 million in partner bodies such as the English Institute of Sport and dedicated programmes to support its NGB investment.

3. This funding is invested using UK Sport's successful 'no compromise' approach, which seeks to target funding primarily at those sports and athletes most likely to achieve medal success on the world stage. It is supported by strategic programmes in crucial areas such as Research and Innovation, Coaching, Sports Science and Medicine and Talent Identification and Confirmation, as well as areas such as our International Influence work, which seeks to ensure that UK officials have an increasing say on the way sport develops and is ruled at international levels.

4. UK Sport's World Class Events programme invests an average of 3.75m of National Lottery funding per year supporting the bidding for and staging of major international events - 23 in 2009 including the World Cup Track Cycling, European Show Jumping and Dressage, English Open Table Tennis and European Curling Championships. National Lottery funding typically levers significant additional financial support to major events: the 16m invested through to 2012 will enable a 50m programme.

5. UK Sport works in partnership with many different sporting bodies to achieve its ambitions - including the National Governing Bodies of Sport, the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations, The Home Country Sports Councils and Institutes, the Youth Sport Trust, UK Anti Doping, sportscoach UK and the British Athletes Commission.

High Performance Success and the Link to Olympic Legacy

6. Following on from the exceptional performances of our athletes in Beijing (4th in the Olympic Medal Table with 47 medals 19 gold; 2nd in the Paralympic Medal Table with 102 medals, 42 gold), British sport has enjoyed another successful season in 2009, with 43 medals being won in World or European competition in Olympic disciplines and 149 in Paralympic.

7. This sustained success means that we are on track to deliver a legacy of sporting success in 2012 and meet our proposed medal targets of Top 4 in the Olympics and retaining 2nd in the Paralympics whilst winning more medals across more sports than at any time in the modern era.

8. Additionally we are seeking to ensure there are creditable performances from athletes in all Olympic and Paralympic sports - seeking to raise the profile of each sport, inspire a new generation of athletes and create a performance pathway that will enable that future talent to succeed.

9. This investment is underpinned by dedicated programmes that support UK Sport's direct funding of NGB World Class Performance Programmes. Using the London Games as a catalyst, in the past three years UK Sport has led the development, in partnership with the EIS, of a world leading Talent Identification and Confirmation programme, seeking to unearth new talent not just for London but for competition over the next ten years.

10. These include the very successful 'Sporting Giants' campaign that sought athletes for Rowing, Handball and Volleyball, the 'Girls4Gold' campaign that aimed to find young women athletes for five different Olympic and Paralympic Sports, and 'Pitch2Podium' which works to ensure that young footballers and rugby players who do not make it in their professional games have another chance in Olympic sport.

11. The schemes have worked. For example, from nearly 4,000 applicants for Sporting Giants, there are now 34 rowers, 11 Handballers and 7 Volleyball players on the World Class Programmes of their sports - a direct impact of London 2012.

12. Alongside this, there is also positive change to the provision of sports science and medicine through the English Institute of Sport, following its strategic review in 2008 and the agreement that the provision of services would move to a 'demand led' model. NGB satisfaction with the EIS's services is currently running at 88%, with 94% of sports saying that services have either improved or stayed the same in the past year.

13. UK Sport continues to provide sports with a world leading Research and Innovation programme that ensures our technical equipment and training support is at the cutting edge. This includes partnerships with major British engineering companies such as BAE Systems and MacLaren F1.

14. The London Games is also allowing greater focus on people development, which means we are able to develop greater expertise, experience and intellectual property in the British system that should prove of lasting value beyond 2012. UK Sport is running schemes such as its Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme, International Leadership Programme and Women in Leadership Development Programme, all of which are targeted at improving the quality of people working in the British system and underpinning our athletes' performance

15. All NGB and support service investment is now monitored through UK Sport's 'Mission 2012' programme. Its aim is to take a regular and forensic look at each sport's performance programme and form a view of its successes and challenges in three key dimensions:

The athletes (performances, development, well being, health)

The system (staff, structures, facilities, processes, knowledge and expertise)

The climate (underlying culture, feel and day to day experience for athletes and staff)

 

16. What all the above evidence provides is a snapshot of the very real and positive change that has been brought about in the UK high performance system since London won the right to host the Games in 2005. The legacy in this respect is 'now': with the Games turbo-charging activity that might not otherwise have happened at the speed and scale required for the step change that has taken place.

17. Athlete success in 2012 will have a direct impact on the wider legacy of the Games. The athletes that win will not only make the nation proud but also provide genuine role models for aspiration, dedication and fulfilment that can inspire young people in particular and touch their lives in a positive manner few other activities can match. Programmes such as the Changing Lives initiative run in schools by the Youth Sport Trust are already testament to how athlete role models can impact on young people.

18. In addition the exposure that sports will get through the shop window of 2012 will provide the opportunity for more people to understand and be excited by sport, and be a catalyst for them to try it. Athlete success can be a major driver of participation - creating a 'virtuous circle' for investment and strategy whereby the next generation are inspired to take up sport, leading to some in turn reaching the very highest levels.

19. The ability to sustain this beyond 2012 is dependent on the retention of the necessary personnel - not only athletes, but also coaches, science and medical practitioners and other athlete support personnel. It is dependent on their being systematic approaches still to areas like Talent ID and Research and Innovation, on the UK maintaining a rigorous approach to monitoring governance and ensuring best practice across NGBs. And it is dependent on there being a continued programme of world class events to allow our athletes to continue to benefit from home advantage - with the 2014 Commonwealth Games being an obvious next objective.

20. More than anything however it is dependent on sustained resources beyond 2012. The success we have enjoyed since 2005 and the potential we are now seeing for British sport in 2012, and the impact that it can have on wider goals for participation as well as social benefits, will only be delivered as legacy if the opportunity is there for the UK system to be robustly maintained after the excitement of the home games has passed.

World Class Events and the Use of the Olympic Park and Venues after 2012

21. UK Sport's events activity prior to 2012 is focused on working in partnership with NGBs to deliver a significant programme of major international events that help prepare the UK for hosting London 2012. This is in terms not just of athlete performance but also building the UK's event staging expertise through the training and experience of judges, officials, volunteers etc.

22. These events will also help to engage the general public in the build up to the Games, with the proximity and (it is to be hoped) success of British athletes at World and European Championships acting to inspire people both to get involved in sport but also look forward to the Games themselves.

23. Separately UK Sport has also begun work with sports formally to identify major hosting targets for the period 2013-2018, and we will be prioritising these in the coming weeks and will happily share this with the Committee at the appropriate time.

24. The post Games legacy for major and mega sporting events could be very exciting. The proposed 'Decade of Sport' for the UK includes a wide range of confirmed events for the post Games era - including of course the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014,the 2014 Ryder Cup, the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup and culminating it is hoped with the Football World Cup in 2018. Around these mega events UK Sport is to integrate a strong programme of World and European Championships from Olympic and Paralympic sports.

25. Whilst we are interested in supporting events that use and demonstrate the legacy of London 2012, it is important to stress that UK Sport has a UK wide remit and decisions on the locations of major events will be driven by a range of factors not just post-Games usage.

26. Therefore it is essential that when considering the use of the Park and other venues after 2012 that the offer from these venues is as strong as it possibly can be, in what is a competitive market across the UK. They must be viewable objectively as viable locations after 2012 to host major events, rather than be enforced as venues as a result of a post-Games desire for use.

27. This means ensuring that the venues are themselves technically compliant with the highest international specifications, and able to accommodate world class athletes, as well as all the necessary officials and volunteers and spectators.

28. Primarily however it means the city having a financial model that supports the staging of some of these larger international events. There is no doubt that the Olympic Park will have the potential to stage major events post-2012, but this will only be possible if regional bodies are prepared to help underwrite the bids for NGBs, provide the necessary contributions towards the funding and infrastructure for the events and ensure that the appropriate partnerships are in place to allow International Federations to feel confident in awarding the event.

29. Outside of major event competition, the use of the venues and the Olympic Park in particular can only really be considered in parallel with NGBs, and in particular their future plans to operate high performance plans on or around the Park. Provision of EIS services for example, is demand led, with the practitioners basing themselves where the athletes and their coaches are in training, rather than creating a site and expecting use. Similarly NGBs will want to consider the benefit of basing their elite programmes at the Olympic Park in some capacity over their existing provision and ensuring that it is of maximum value to them in terms of 'critical mass'.

30. While there is some consideration already by the larger NGBs in particular about how the Olympic Park might deliver future benefit, a key driver in shaping this will be the confirmation of high performance funding post-2012. At the moment this is not possible - following current funding cycles the decisions made by UK Sport about its allocation for the Rio Cycle (2013-2017) would be made in late 2012 / early 2013; and this would be pending decisions by Government on the amount of resource available.

31. Overall, the view from UK Sport would be that the Olympic Park in particular does have potential future use as both a competition venue and high performance centre, but until there is certainty on the resources available to sustain and support this it is unlikely that more detail can be given at this stage.

Conclusion

32. The Committee's investigation does not explicitly cover the impact of the success of our athletes on the legacy for the London Games. But there is no doubt, as this evidence has explained, that not only will that success be a vital part of the Games' themselves, but it can and should act as a catalyst to future engagement and participation in sport; offer potential social and other benefits, engender national pride and ultimately create a virtuous circle for sports policy, whereby the next generation of world class athletes is inspired by those of London 2012.

33. The key factor in all of this, including the ability to continue a programme of world class events in the Decade of Sport that can follow 2012 and use the Olympic Park and other venues, is sustainability of resources. With funding levels continuing after 2012, there is no reason why the British system at the elite level cannot continue to deliver. But like a flower that needs constant watering to survive, our long term prospects for sporting success after London will wither if the tap is turned off in 2013.

January 2010