Examination of Witnesses (Questions 282
WEDNESDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2005
Ms Sue Campbell CBE
Thank you very much for coming. We have already produced a report
on the agenda of the BBC and we are now going into a number of
other areas in more depth. One of those is sport. I think you
heard some of the evidence that the BBC were giving and I wonder
if you could start by giving us a brief summary of what UK Sport
aims to do.
Ms Campbell: I can try. We have three main objectives.
Our first is we are responsible for what we call world class success.
In other words, we take responsibility for the preparation and
development of Olympic and Paralympic athletes moving towards
the Olympic and Paralympic Games over each four year cycle. That
involves supporting the athletes with funding and all of those
things around the athlete: the coach, the sports science, the
sports medicine, everything that is required to ensure that our
athletes can compete against the best in the world on equal terms.
The second area of work is what we call world class standards.
We are responsible for all the drug testing on all sports across
the United Kingdom and we are also responsible for drugs education.
We have a campaign called 100 per cent me in which those athletes,
particularly high profile athletes, who are determined to keep
sport clean are our role models. We are advocating education and
support for young athletes to make sure that people do not end
up in a situation where they are taking drugs because of poor
advice or poor information. The third area is we are the UK government's
arm in international sport development. We call that worldwide
impact and our job is to ensure that the representatives of this
country are on international sport federations, are properly supported
and that we attract major events to this country. Once they become
mega events like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, they
are a matter for government. In the last seven years, we have
brought over 100 world or European events to the UK which gives
our athletes home advantage and which sports can use to drive
participation in their sports.
How does the BBC impinge on you? Do you work with the BBC? How
does the BBC come into your life?
Ms Campbell: We have a number of ways that we
work with the BBC. Probably the one that is best known is the
sports summit that we have done with the BBC. That was done both
with Sport England and ourselves at UK Sport and the BBC. It was
an opportunity for us all to do some active listening to the people
who are out there doing sport at the grass roots level. It was
an opportunity to get some new, innovative thinking about sports
policy, about the way we are implementing strategies on the ground.
It was very successful. It is not something we do annually. We
have done it biannually and that was a very good piece of collaborative
work. It was not just a talk shop. People did leave very clearly
with pledges and commitments to action and many of those have
been followed up. It did have a significant impact on behaviour
as well as on consultation. In terms of our relationship generally
with the BBC, we are both public sector bodies in the sense that
we are there to ensure success in the sporting arena and our remit
is not only to ensure success but to make sure that success cascades
down to greater participation. That relationship with the BBC
and our ability to broadcast and promote that to many millions
of young people is critical to us, so I would say we have a good
relationship with the BBC.
There are a lot of national broadcasters these days. Is it still
necessary for the BBC to retain events of national importance
like the Olympics?
Ms Campbell: We believe very strongly that it
is. We believe winning the 2012 Olympics will be a profound moment
for sport in this country. It is an opportunity for us to really
demonstrate the power of sport to affect so many other agendas
beyond just the sporting agenda, particularly its impact on education,
on community cohesion and on health. It has the power to change
many things. We are very eager that the 2012 Olympics is not just
a wonderful festival for a number of days in London in 2012 but
over the next six or seven years and beyond 2012 we use the opportunity
to really galvanise the nation. The BBC's ability to reach people
freely in large numbers has to be something that we all need to
exploit to maximise this fantastic opportunity.
You would not get that same advantage by definition with pay for
Ms Campbell: We feel that the route would not
be the same. Please do not ask me those tough questions about
minority sport. You had a very important conversation about minority
sports. There are some sports that would be viewed as minority
in terms of audience but would not be minority in terms of participation.
Of the sports going into the Olympics, many do not get significant
TV time. This could be an opportunity to both widen the range
of opportunity and to get more people interested in those sports.
What kind of sports?
Ms Campbell: There is slender coverage for sports
like volleyball and basketball. Gymnastics gets a little bit of
coverage but if you look at the 26 sports, one of our challenges
to the BBC going forward was how we widen that menu of sports
that they cover because I think it is critical. They are our public
broadcasting body. They must find a niche where others will not
go and I think they have the potential to provide a wider vision
of sport for young people and perhaps to translate that into a
stronger educational push for young people. We are very keen to
encourage them to widen that remit.
Q287 Lord Maxton:
I would like you at some point to define what you mean by "a
sport". What is your linkage between yourselves and other
sports bodies, the Sports Council in Scotland, Sport England and
Sport Scotland, and presumably Sport Wales and Sport Ireland,
because it seems to me you do not have any role in what you have
just said in terms of participation in sport at the grass roots
level. Would I be right in saying that?
Ms Campbell: Yes. We have now in England three
distinct bodies that are supporting the delivery of the bigger
agenda. We have an organisation called the Youth Sport Trust supporting
the delivery of the new PE and school sport national strategy
which the government is now putting £250 million a year into.
It is about galvanising school participation in school sport.
We have Sport England and its equivalents in Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland that pick up, if you like, from the school gates
and are responsible for all of that community sport, whether it
is the development of clubs and coaches or using sport for intervention
purposes in communities for community cohesion or health intervention
strategies. They take responsibility for that. Then, UK Sport
picks up those athletes that come out of the national programmes
into the British, UK programmes. We are responsible for those
athletes that are going to compete wearing the GB vest.
Q288 Lord Maxton:
At the Commonwealth Games you will not be covering Scotland?
Ms Campbell: No. Scotland, Northern Ireland,
Wales and England all have representatives on our board. We work
very closely with them on that level just below that, so that
would be the Commonwealth Games level, before they step into GB.
Our aspiration would be that they all produce very strong Commonwealth
Games teams and our job is to make sure they are all as strong
as they can be, but they would all state that one of their major
objectives of their own performance strategies is to get as many
people into the GB teams as they can. Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland are very committed to working jointly with us and we have
very good relationships with them.
Q289 Lord Maxton:
My concern is participation. There may come a time when all sport
is available to all people but at the moment it is widely available
to the BBC.
Ms Campbell: One of the things we have not exploited
well enoughand this is our responsibility; I know people
talk about these schemes but we have probably not consistently
delivered themis the potential of elite athletes as role
models in our communities, working much more effectively. We have
been working on a scheme called Changing Lives. One of the other
things that is very clear to us is, as elite athletes come off
what are now sponsored by state investment programmes, where they
have perhaps had eight years investment from us for athlete support
grants, they step in and the moment they step out of sport they
step into a vacuum unless they have some other career that they
have been developing in parallel which we try to encourage them
to do. We started a scheme where those athletes that retired from
Athens have had the opportunity to work with us for a year, where
half their time is spent going into schools for us and half their
time is spent helping them develop vocational and educational
Q290 Lord Maxton:
How do you do that with premier league football? Have you a similar
scheme for taking the big name footballers out of Chelsea and
Arsenal and putting them into schools?
Ms Campbell: We have not been responsible for
the soccer, rugby union, tennis elite programmes to this point.
The Secretary of State announced in September that as of 1 April
next year we will take responsibility for all elite sport and
that will mean we will look to work with premier league, people
at the LTA, cricket and rugby union to see where we can support
and add value to some of the work that they are doing and to see
if we can share some of the good work they are doing with other
sports and the good work other sports are doing with them. We
still have a lot to do.
Chairman: We are concentrating very much
on the BBC.
Q291 Lord King of Bridgwater:
You were listening to the evidence and you heard my question about
cost inflation of trying to cover sport. You have a budget of
Ms Campbell: We have 50 million a year, 29 million
from the Exchequer and the rest from the Lottery.
Q292 Lord King of Bridgwater:
For instance, on cricket, the concern is that being denied terrestrial
television will stop a lot of young people from getting the interest
in cricket that they might. You will be promoting young people
in terms of youth teams in cricket and other sports you want people
to be interested in. Have you considered putting money into supporting
the BBC in their bidding to try and get some terrestrial coverage
which would be in line with your objectives as set down in the
Ms Campbell: We are extremely challenged to
achieve our objectives using the 50 million we have and it depends
where you put your priorities. I would suggest that the four home
country sports councils, whose primary responsibility is to increase
participation in the wider sense, might consider it. In terms
of our budget, to do what we are doing, we are going to be extremely
pressured between now and 2012 to produce the level of performance
we want to.
Q293 Lord King of Bridgwater:
It is a question of duplication. Your description of what you
are doing for the Olympics is exactly what Lord Moynihan has told
us his British Olympic Committee are doing in making sure that
we have the athletes and everybody ready to perform. There was
recently some comment about a survey that you are doing on various
matters. Is that right?
Ms Campbell: We are the body that receives all
the public sector investment that goes into elite sport. The British
Olympic Association funds itself essentially through sponsorship
and commercial investment. Any public sector investment, any money
directly from the Exchequer or any money from the Lottery will
be going through UK Sport and it is UK Sport that is both leading
and developing the planning of that process.
Q294 Lord King of Bridgwater:
There is duplication, is there not?
Ms Campbell: I think it is a partnership. I
do not think it is duplication. What BOA does extremely well is
support the team in its holding camp prior to the Games and looks
after the team after the Games. Our job is to take care of the
athletes over the four years before they go to the Games.
Did the fact that the BBC was given such active and positive support
for the Olympics bid have quite an impact on the decision?
Ms Campbell: The BBC is very highly regarded
by the IOC. It has given it an award for its coverage in Sydney.
Between the Olympics and Paralympics, virtually every other broadcaster
exited but the BBC was there and did an outstanding job on the
Paralympics. Its commitment to this bid was very important, yes.
The work that Lord Coe did was outstanding and one of the strengths
of what he did was he made all of us play team sport for the first
time and the BBC were part of that team.
Q296 Lord Kalms:
Can you tell me a little bit about your organisation? How big
an organisation is it? How many people? What is the structure?
You get this allocation from the National Lottery of 21 million.
Is it a block grant to you or is it a conditional grant? Do they
suggest how you distribute their block allocation to you?
Ms Campbell: On the organisation, I went in
as the reform chair two years ago. We are now down to 70 staff,
working in those three areas of work. We had a lot more than that.
A great deal of our time is spent out with the governing bodies
of sport, helping them with the development of their performance
requirements. We put considerable investment into coaching, into
our elite coach programme. We are developing sports scientists
for the future and we are nurturing new sports medics who can
work to support our athletes through injury. We work very closely
with the home country institutes in sport. They provide all the
service delivery, all those services around sports science and
medicine. Our structure is that we have a board made up of the
home country chairs and independent, individual members. Below
that we have the three sections working both across the UK in
terms of making sure we have collaborative working in the home
countries and with the governing bodies, making sure we deliver.
Q297 Lord Kalms:
Is the allocation you get from the National Lottery conditional
or is it entirely up to you to allocate?
Ms Campbell: The DCMS would say we have a very
clear agreement with them about what our priorities are. Those
priorities are in those three areas that I have talked about.
We get a percentage of the lottery as a right at the moment and
how we use that percentage is against that mission and that programme.
We have a very good relationship with the lottery. The BBC have
an important role here. We have been able to promote to the public
very clearly that it is lottery investment that supports those
elite athletes. A lot of those interviews done on BBC television
talking about the impact of lottery investment have unquestionably
helped support lottery programmes.
Q298 Bishop of Manchester:
You spoke about the significance of the coverage by the BBC at
Sydney as being influential in the decision by the IOC to choose
London. Presumably therefore there are high expectations of the
BBC's coverage for the forthcoming Olympics. Does it worry you
at all that the BBC sports department is to move in what might
be regarded as a fairly crucial phase? We were hearing this morning
that the intention was that they should move and be in place in
2010. Bearing in mind that such projections are not always what
turn out to be the case, do you feel that this is a matter of
concern to you or are you sufficiently confident in the ability
of the BBC to be able to do very good coverage, wherever it happens
to be, even if it is in between venues at the time?
Ms Campbell: We have every confidence that when
the BBC covers something it does an extremely good job. It did
a tremendous job from Sydney and Athens. I heard them talk earlier
about some of the work they did, for example, on the Paralympic
World Cup which is a new event happening in Manchester. To be
honest, if the BBC had not supported that, we would not have got
the sponsor or the event and it would not have been the enormous
success it has been. We are confident that where they sit, in
terms of their headquarters, should not influence their outside
broadcast ability. Most of their outside broadcasts do not happen
in London. To a large extent, one of the great messages that Lord
Coe is very keen to project is that this is not a London Olympics.
This is an Olympics for the United Kingdom. In some ways, you
could argue it is a good thing that there is some dispersal of
Q299 Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve:
You are a great fan of the BBC but you heard our earlier discussion
about the system of bidding for sports rights. Do you have general
comments on the way in which that bidding works? Does it concern
you when the BBC fails to win or does it concern you when they
bid against other terrestrial broadcasters and the price goes
Ms Campbell: The rights holders, which largely
are the governing bodies of sport, are caught between maximising
audience and maximising income. For those sports that use much
of that income they get in grass roots development, it becomes
a critical decision. All of us feel that there is overall insufficient
investment in sport in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the governing
bodies get a certain amount from Sport England, Wales, Scotland
and Ireland and ourselves. They are constantly wanting to do more,
particularly around grass roots development. Sometimes that ability
to sell the jewel in their crown in order to generate money to
invest in grass roots is a judgment call they have to make and
I think it is a very difficult one for them at times. We are eager
that there is a balance between supporting what is the growth
of commerciality in sport, which brings with it many problems
but many bonuses too, and ensuring that we do provide the showcase
that we want to encourage and engage lots of people of all ages
and aspirations in sport. I would not say we rejoice one way or
the other. For us, it is a balancing act all the time about trying
to get those two right. Does it always turn out the way we would
like? Probably not. We do not intervene. It is very much for the
governing bodies and the rights holders to do their own negotiation.