Written evidence from Sport
England (OLL 20)
1. Sport England
1.1 Sport England is a Non-Departmental
Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture Media and Sport
(DCMS), and charged with creating a world-leading community sport system.
1.2 Our aim is to grow and sustain
levels of adult sporting participation, and to nurture those with talent to
achieve their potential. As part of our ambition, we are focussed on delivering
the following strategic outcomes:
o One million people doing
more sport by 2012/13
o A major contribution to
the 5 hour offer to children and young people
o Reduce 'drop off' in
participation between the ages of 16 and 18 in nine sports
o Increase participants'
satisfaction with their sporting experience
o Improve talent development
systems in at least 25 sports.
1.3 We receive approximately £250 million per annum
- £135 million of Exchequer and £116 million of Lottery funding. All of our
investments and efforts are focussed upon our outcomes which, when met, will make a significant contribution to the delivery
of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy.
2. Delivering a lasting sporting
2.1 The Government's legacy action plan, published
by the DCMS in June 2008, committed to using the 2012 Games to "make the UK a
world-leading sporting nation". Key ambitions include:
young people through sport: offer all five to 16
year-olds in England
five hours of high-quality sport a week and all 16 to 19 year-olds three hours
a week by 2012.
people more active: help at least two million
more people in England
be more active by 2012 ( one million through sport and one million through
Achievement: aim for fourth in the Olympic medal
table and at least second in the Paralympic medal table in 2012.
2.2 Through the investment of almost £880million of
funding over four years, and the continued provision of expertise in sports
development, Sport England is contributing to two key aspects of the legacy
2.3 Firstly, we have a target of getting one million
people playing more sport by 2012/13. Our definition of sports participation is
based upon sustainable, regular participation which incorporates three sessions
of 30 minutes, moderate intensity sporting activity per week. The Government's
additional target of one million people being more physically active is being
delivered by the Department of Health.
2.4 Secondly, we are working alongside the Youth
Sport Trust to offer all 5 to 16 year-olds in England five hours of high-quality
sport a week, and all 16 to 19 year-olds three hours a week by 2012. While the
Trust leads on in-school and curriculum-based activities, Sport England is
responsible for club and community activities outside the school gate. It is
only by linking the two that the five hour offer can be achieved.
2.5 We also have a
significant role to play in the development of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
venues. Not only are we investing in the infrastructure and facilities of the
Olympic Park, we are also providing design and development expertise, to ensure
that the relevant venues are suitably adapted for community use once the games
3. Maximising the sporting legacy
3.1 We believe that a successful sporting legacy
will only be achieved if a strategic approach is taken to investment and
delivery, maximising the potential of all organisations involved to deliver a
single vision - to create a world-leading community sport system. This
o Building and maintaining a strong infrastructure
and network of governing bodies, facilities, clubs and providers - to both
provide opportunities and stimulate demand for sport.
o Ensuring opportunities for people from across all
sectors of society to take part in sports which are attractive, convenient and
o Providing research and evaluation to partners -
allowing us to track the progress/success/impact of our initiatives, and share
o Understanding the changing landscape and the many
different ways in which people want to consume sport.
3.2 Our focus goes beyond 2012. As we look towards
the golden decade of sport, we want to fundamentally change the sporting
behaviours of a nation - ensuring more people are taking part and reaching
their potential. We believe that a true Olympic legacy should be judged over a
much longer term, as we begin to see the benefits of the considerable
investment made in sport in this country really take effect. If the right
investment has been made in the right places to deliver genuine sustainability,
we will see a community sport system developed in this country which has the
capacity to handle levels of participation which far outstrip the current
figures and targets that we have in place today.
3.3 Sport England's role in delivering this
vision is to act as a national, strategic commissioner
of outcomes, establishing shared overarching goals relating to participation
and enabling partners to deliver those effectively. We add value to the sport
sector through our unique ability to look right across the community sport
landscape, identifying what works best, where and why.
3.4 Our centres of
excellence provide both strategic and operational expertise on specific areas
of development (such as planning, research, coaching, talent development and
inclusion) in addition to regional and local knowledge, and connectivity to
3.5 One example of this is in Rotherham
where we helped the local authority adopt a strategic approach to developing
their facility stock. Rotherham Council took the decision to replace its ageing
facilities with new purpose-built, state-of-the-art leisure centres. They
recognised that new sports participants were turned off by the poor state of
the facilities, poor location and inaccessibility. Using Sport England's tools
- such as Active Places - and working with the Amateur Swimming Association -
they were able to understand consumer demand for sports facilities in their
area, and develop a carefully planned approach to all sports provision.
Their decision to rationalise and provide higher quality facilities in the
right places, resulted in more people accessing leisure facilities.
3.6 The delivery of a
participation legacy will require not just shrewd investment in, and
development of, an effective sporting infrastructure - but also the delivery of
real behavioural change. We, and our partners, must ensure that the awareness
and understanding of the benefits of sport are there for all to see, and the
sports themselves must engage with their existing, and future, participants in
a way that many of them have not done previously.
3.7 Simply 'build it and they will come' is no longer
an appropriate way of addressing the challenge of getting more people into
sport. What is needed to meet 21st
Century demands for sustainable change is a requirement for sport to put the
customer first, understand their needs and create a package that meets their
needs. All of this will take time, and it is important that steady progress is
not only recognised, but understood as we move ahead to 2012.
3.8 National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs)
3.8.1 We believe that the
National Governing Bodies of sport have the ability to make the greatest
contribution to our outcome of getting one million people playing more sport,
which is why they sit at the heart of our new strategy.
3.8.2 In December 2008, we
announced our investment of £480
million of Lottery and Exchequer funding over four years (2009-13) in 46 NGBs. Included in this funding cycle, and for the first
time ever, are all Olympic and Paralympic sports, including handball, goalball
and wheelchair basketball, in addition to sports which have a participant base
of 75,000 or more.
3.8.3 We have given national governing bodies
greater autonomy over the development of their strategic plans and the public
investment made in them - recognising their expert knowledge of their sport and
3.8.4 The money each governing body has received is
an investment - with an expected return in the form of delivery of outcomes and
value for money. It is not acceptable for initiatives and outputs to be
delivered without a clear and demonstrable impact on the participation levels
in that sport. It is this which will make the greatest contribution to our
target of one million people playing more sport by 2012/13.
3.8.5 Through the bi-annual measurement of their
performance, and annual publication of an overall rating on a sport-by-sport
basis, we are developing a sustainable culture of delivery and accountability
throughout community sport. Earned autonomy and accountability now go
hand-in-hand for the NGBs that we fund.
3.8.6 If governing bodies are going to reach their
targets, each one will have to adopt a level of market awareness not previously
seen in community sport. Innovation is critical if
sport is to not only maintain its popularity and appeal in uncertain economic
times, but also provide the opportunities to meet future levels of demand.
3.8.7 They must look beyond their traditional models,
networks and customers, pushing the boundaries of their conventional offer. Pay
and play models, without the
tie of membership fees or a structured, regular commitment, have increasing appeal to
the consumer, as do shorter and more convenient forms of traditional sports.
Those which have minimal or no cost associated with participation are also
seeing a rise in popularity, and it is essential that other sports look at how
they can adapt to the requirements of the marketplace.
3.8.8 To support the NGBs, and learning from the
customer-focus of other sectors, Sport England has developed a new piece of research
that provides real insight
into the satisfaction levels of sports participants at every level. Increasing satisfaction lies at the heart of
sustaining participation because the quality of the sporting experience on
offer is a key factor in attracting and retaining participants. All too often, people drop out of sporting
activity because of a poor experience they have had, whether that is lack of
available coaching, expensive memberships - or a poorly run facility.
satisfaction survey enables NGBs to understand the quality of the sporting
experience they are providing to their participants, as well as providing them
with information on the areas of greatest importance to their existing, and
3.8.10 This is the first time sport has taken a
market based approach to attracting and retaining participants and will prove
invaluable to sports seeking to grow their numbers.
3.9 Children and Young People
3.9.1 Choice and engagement are key to encouraging
young people in sport and preventing them from dropping out at the critical
16-18 point. We recognise how important it is to ensure that young people
develop a lifelong sporting habit at a young age. To achieve this, sport needs
to be seen as an intrinsic life choice. In the same way sport must take a
market-based approach to reach out to more adults, governing bodies must
understand the specific needs and aspirations of young people, if we are to
make a generational step change.
3.9.2 As part of the Government's Five Hour Offer,
Sport England works in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust to deliver the
Government's PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP).
3.9.3 One programme in which we are investing
£13million per year, is Sport Unlimited, which will provide 900,000 11-19 year
olds access to high-quality taster courses in an array of sports. We have
already seen considerable success in year one, with 177,000 young people
completing the courses. Success is attributed to the scheme being young person
led, offering a wide range of sports - from football to ultimate Frisbee - and
using social media to engage.
3.9.4 We are also investing £4 million per year in
34 NGBs to deliver an additional half million new 5-19 club
participants/volunteers by 2012/13.
3.10 Targeted Sport England investment
While our strategy, and therefore our funding, is primarily focused upon NGBs,
we recognise that they cannot deliver the ambitious targets that they have been
set without assistance from other areas of the community sports landscape.
Local government, higher and further education and the third sector, in
addition to many individual projects and community groups across the country,
provide much of the investment and opportunities required to grow participation
at a local level. We are conscious of the continued financial constraints
within which many of these are operating, and within our funding strategy we
have made up to £65 million available via open funding streams and other lines
Launched in April 2009, we have made available up to £30 million of lottery
funding per year through our Themed Rounds, which aim to both address barriers
and create new opportunities for participation in sport in under represented.
Our first two are already in place, focussed upon encouraging rural communities
and getting mums and women from deprived communities to be more active.
£7 million for Small Grants, and £3 million for Sportsmatch per annum to ensure
that the foundations of sport - the clubs and community groups - can grow and
£5 million for our Innovation Fund invests in original projects that have the
ability to change or enhance the patterns of people's participation habits in a
way that has yet to be seen in the mass market.
In addition to our open funding streams, we have invested £10 million of
funding into specialist National Partners (such as the Women's Sport and
Fitness Foundation, Sporting Equals and sportscoach UK) to engage and attract
those areas and groups traditionally underrepresented in sport, and which
require specialist support.
To aid local connectivity, something which we consider essential in ensuring
that we achieve our outcomes, we have invested £10 million (£200,000 each) in
the County Sport Partnerships (CSPs), whose role it is to lever more funding
into sport, connect NGBs with local authority and other local community
initiatives and clubs and coaches to support the sporting infrastructure.
3.11.1 A world-leading community sport structure
has high-quality, well maintained facilities in the right places, which are
also well-managed and utilised effectively. The arbitrary building of many more
facilities in this country would not necessarily provide the benefits that many
people believe. There are many impressive developments across England which simply do not address
the needs of the local community.
now need to move the debate on beyond the numbers and look at the needs of
today's participants. If a facility is not being used, it may be because it is
poorly located or doesn't offer the right facilities, and as a result is
operating at a growing deficit. It may be better for a local authority, or
other provider, to consider alternative options, for example redeveloping
or consolidating existing sports facilities or building new ones fit for the
needs of the 21st century.
3.11.3 As well as providing expertise, we continually
invest in facilities across England,
including new build and upgrades to community sports pitches, changing
facilities, tracks, stadiums and courts. £10 million has already been allocated
through our Sustainable Facilities Fund this year and nearly £100 million is
being invested via the 46 NGBs. In many cases we also provide strategic advice
as to the design, location and sustainability of those projects, and no
investment is made without a clear justification as to the need for, and
suitability of, a facility.
3.12.1 In 2005, when London
won the bid, sports participation in East London
was amongst of the lowest in the country. With high levels of social and
economic deprivation, poor transport infrastructure and a dearth of adequate
sports facilities, growing participation in East London
was one of the biggest challenges facing the legacy partners. However, our
experience to date is that those involved in maximising the opportunity to grow
participation are making steady progress and most understand the need for a
3.12.2 Our involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic
host city has focused upon working with the Mayor to develop a sports
participation London-wide legacy strategy - 'A
Sporting Future for London'. This plan emphasises the
importance of Sport England's approach by linking the Mayor's investment in
sports projects with NGB plans, to ensure that it complements activity already
The Mayor has allocated £15.5 million over four years in the run up to the
games and we are working closely with our partners to ensure that this
investment achieves maximum impact.
4. The use and management of the
Olympic Park and venues after 2012
4.1 As well as investing over £50 million in the
park facilities, Sport England's role is to work with the partners to ensure
the design and development of the facilities is both sustainable and accessible
to the community once the Games is over. Just as importantly, we must ensure
that the park facilities complement other facilities in the five host boroughs
and genuinely increase participation without displacing users from existing
4.2 Sport England is the only national body
with a strategic view of facility provision across the country. We have over 20
years experience of investing in, and advising on, the design and development
of sports facilities that attract and enable all sectors of society to play
sport. Our unique role and experience enables us to advocate excellent
facilities and planning models, sharing best practice and lessons learned. We advised
Manchester City Council on how the Commonwealth Games facilities would meet the
needs of the community without displacing users from other providers, a model which
provides a clear example of successful planning for community use post-games.
4.3 We are directly investing National Lottery
funding in three Olympic and Paralympic
o £40million in the Aquatics Centre - ensuring the
50-metre pools can be adapted in size and depth, allowing elite training and
children's swimming lessons to take place at the same time.
o £10.5million in the VeloPark - where modifications
post-games will create a superb hub for track, bmx, off-road and road cycling.
o £900,000 in the white water centre at Broxbourne -
which will provide a challenging and enjoyable experience for tens of thousands
of community users every year.
4.4 In addition, we are supporting a number of NGBs
that have permanent stadia in the park to ensure that their facilities are
built to the governing body standard for both club and elite development. One
example is our support for England Hockey's concerns regarding adequate hockey
facilities for competition post-games. We have now ensured that the
specification for Eton Manor provides hockey with a suitable post-games
competition venue for community and elite use.
4.5 To build and maintain sustainable community
facilities in the park a long term view is essential - and we have been
encouraged by the willingness of Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) to take
that. Its introduction three years ahead of the games, and the subsequent
re-examination of the Legacy Masterplan presents an opportunity to ensure the
vision for the park is focused not only on the requirements for games-time, but
also for the community post-2012.
4.6 We strongly believe that developing a plan of
how the facilities will operate across the five boroughs not only during the
games, but for five and 25 years after the games is vital if we are going to
grow and sustain participation in East London.
We have been working with each host borough to assess the current standard,
type and suitability of existing facilities, developing a strategy, which
focuses on how the park facilities can best be developed to provide
complementary provision to the facilities they already have in place.
5 Delivering and measuring progress
towards meeting sports participation targets
5.1 One million doing more sport
5.1.1 A major focus for Sport England is to fulfil
the Olympic and Paralympic pledge to get one million people taking part in more
sport by 2012/13.
5.1.2 Significant progress has already been made
towards meeting targets to increase grassroots participation in sport, as
demonstrated by the Active People Survey.
5.1.3 The survey provides by far the largest sample size ever
established for a sport and recreation survey and allows for levels of detailed
analysis and accuracy previously unavailable. It identifies how participation
varies across the country and between different groups of the population.
5.1.4 Latest data continues to show an increase in grassroots
participation in sport:
o The third Active People
Survey (December 2009) shows regular participation at 6.93 million - 10% more
than recorded in the first Active People Survey in 2005;
o Between 2007/8 and 2008/9,
115,000 people played more sport;
o In London 54,000 people are playing more sport
5.1.5 Six months into the NGB funding agreements,
12 out of 33 sports with growth targets have seen an increase in overall
participant numbers, with six sports already
meeting their growth targets for year one. In addition to cycling and athletics, which have
delivered a combined increase of over 240,000 weekly participants, boxing,
table tennis, canoeing and netball have all met their year one target.
o Participation in athletics
(including running and jogging) has grown from 1.61 million adults in 2007/8 to
1.74 million adults in 2008/9, an increase of 128,000 participants.
o Cycling participation has
grown from 1.77 million adults to 1.88 million adults, an increase of 113,000
o Participation in canoeing
and kayaking has grown from 43,500 adults to 62,900 adults, an increase of
19,000 participants. This appears to have benefited from a larger number of
people taking domestic canoeing or kayaking holidays this summer.
o Tennis participation has
increased from 487,500 adults to 530,000 adults, an increase of 43,000
participants. Significant increases in participation occurred in the three
months since Wimbledon.
5.1.6 The Active People
Survey also reports on our aim to increase the numbers of young people (16-19
year olds) participation in regular sport. While we have not witnessed
significant increases in participation amongst this age group, results show
that we have managed to reduce the numbers of young people dropping out of
5.1.7 In addition to the increase in adult participation,
evidence shows that in 2008/09 our School Club Links enabled 1.5 million to
take part in sport at accredited clubs - an increase of 130,000 on the previous
year. On average schools had links with seven different clubs in 2007/08
compared to five in 2003/04 and 32% of pupils participated in club sport in
2007/08 compared to 19% in 2003/04.
5.1.8 It is worth highlighting that to build a
sustainable grassroots legacy, we must not only provide opportunities for
people to participate, but also change behaviour, which requires sustained
investment, innovation and resources over a long-term period. The inspiration
of the Olympic and Paralympics provides a unique opportunity to raise the
profile of sport and appeal to a wider range of people, it is for all those in
sport to capitalise on this.
6. Looking ahead
6.1 While progress is undoubtedly being made in
putting in place the foundations of a world-leading community sport system that
will underpin a lasting sporting legacy, there are challenges ahead of which we
must be mindful.
6.2 The challenge of any mass participation event
such as the Olympics and Paralympics is not the boosting of grassroots
participation, but the sustaining of it. With our long-term definition of
legacy must come a long-term vision, which we must instil in our partners,
particularly those in whom we have made significant investment.
6.3 The recession
6.3.1 The impact of the recession on the grassroots
sports participation legacy remains unclear.
6.3.2 Sport must be mindful of the economic
challenges faced by many of its customers. As referenced earlier, sports with a higher cost of
participation, such as golf, sailing and snowsport, appear to be facing
challenges in retaining participants, and indicators also suggest that many
people are opting to do free leisure activities or switching from formal club
settings to informal, activities such as pay and play. For those sports
particularly affected, revising their offer to take account of the changing
economic environment could help them maintain and even grow their participation
base. Equally for other sports, the economic downturn presents an opportunity
to engage a new demographic and reach out to new participants.
6.3.3 There are however some
positive signs with lottery sales, gym membership and sports that have low cost
barriers to entry such as cycling and running, experiencing strong growth. Evidence
from the past twenty years suggests that participation can increase during
times of economic downturn, perhaps due to changing working patterns and more
6.3.4 Longer term, two of the most significant threats is reduced funding
for sport facilities and provision, through spending cuts at local authority
level and within the education sector, and the increase in non-domestic
property rates, water rates and the Community Infrastructure Levy. All of this
could have a direct impact on access to facilities and resources available for sports
activity and development throughout the country. Both government and ourselves
must assist local government as much as possible in making the case for
continued sports investment, and providing the leadership and conditions for
that investment to provide maximum value.
6.3.5 Our role is to make sure that our investment
works harder, that is why we are encouraging NGBs to take a market-based
approach, why we are making sure local government spend is aligned to NGB plans
to maximise opportunity and avoid duplication, and why we will be ruthless with
6.4.1 It must be remembered that enabling and
motivating people to take part in more sport requires mass behavioural change
which takes sustained time and effort, and continued commitment from a range of
6.4.2 The 'decade of sport' presents all those
working in sport with the opportunity of sustained change - where people of all
ages and abilities are taking part, where people are enthused to stay involved
and introduce more people to their sport and that those with talent are
nurtured to achieve their potential.
6.4.3 The progress being made is steady, and we can
expect that to change pace as more and more initiatives and projects start to
mature and deliver. What is needed now is for the vision and the investment to
be maintained and the transformational change in sporting participation
6.4.4 With the vast majority of sporting partners
in support of and committed to our current strategy to build a world-leading
community sport system, we are confident we will deliver. Through sustained
funding and continued co-operation between partners, the foundations are being
built to deliver a successful 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It also measures the
proportion of the adult population that volunteer in sport on a weekly basis;
club membership; involvement in organised sport/competition; receipt of tuition
or coaching; and overall satisfaction with levels of sporting provision in the
local community - in essence many of the component parts of a world-leading
system. In addition to providing NGB measurements, it
also provides the performance measure for the local government indicator NI8
for sport and recreation, adopted as a priority with Local Area Agreements for
82 upper tier local authorities.
 The sports participation indicator measures the
number of adults (aged 16 and over) participating in at least 30 minutes of
sport at moderate intensity at least three times a week.
13 of the funded sports are either not moderate
intensity or have too small a sample size for their growth targets to be
measured through the Active People Survey.