EMD UK – Written evidence (NPS0065)


  1. How can local delivery, including funding structures, of sport and recreation be improved to ensure that people of all ages and abilities are able to lead an active lifestyle? For example, how successfully do local authorities and other bodies such as Active Partnerships, Leisure Trusts, local sports clubs and charities work together, and how might coordination be improved?

In a fragmented, complex, and confusing landscape, where structures and process differ in various areas this will always be difficult to join up unless there is a reason to do so. That reason might be legislation or stronger mandates of specific partners in order to make this happen as if left to do so organically it is unlikely to happen. Key bodies such as those mentioned above should already be working together and if there were replicable structures in local areas that included the key interfaces of (for example) the local club, venue, authorities, coaches/instructors on one hand and local participants on the other then these should feed into county structures and then national. All the structures and partners must enable an interface to work effectively.  Streamlining of services would also be useful, allowing for simple go to services that are not replicated elsewhere. For example, where funding is concerned, there is no one single source locally or nationally that provides all relevant information. There are numerous funding searches which do not show all available funding streams and therefore it is harder for local providers to find what they need and apply.

  1. How can children and young people be encouraged to participate in sport and recreation both at school and outside school, and lead an active lifestyle? If possible, share examples of success stories and good practice, and challenges faced.

In school physical activity has been debated for a long time. The only way to absolutely engage young people to participate in PE and sport/recreation at school is to invest in the training, timetabling and equipment in order to make this a mandatory and positive experience. Primary schools often have no PE specialist, this needs to change as at present, teachers who like sport are often given the lead in this area. They then tend to focus on the sports they like. Providing appropriate training, mandating daily activity and giving this the attention it deserves would be one way. However, at a young age, this should be less about sport and more about movement and key developmental activities, with sport being the added extra for those who want to partake. A good example of this is schools who do the daily mile and the impact this has on pupil learning, also, schools who have trained staff as PE teachers, so they have the experience to deliver in this area. Extra provision is of course invaluable with third party providers coming into school, but it is sporadic and leaves some pupils at a disadvantage.

It also needs to be fun at a young age. Consideration to be given to moving away from traditional/ competitive sports with a more wholesome approach in offering a broad range of opportunities such as sport, movement, dance, fitness, walking etc.

In secondary age pupils, PE to be given more timetabling and variety. Also, variety on offer, perhaps pupil led, for extracurricular activities.

  1. How can adults of all ages and backgrounds, particularly those from under-represented groups, including women and girls, ethnic minorities, disabled people, older people, and those from less affluent backgrounds, be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles? If possible, share examples of success stories and good practice, and challenges faced.

We need to have proper engagement and research by talking to under-represented groups, find out what interests them and what their pain points are. Deliver activities which address all of these. Hyper-local activities and online delivery have roles here. We need to get the details right and also engage real people as role models/ ambassadors/ influencers.

A few great examples to look at and which were funded by Sport England and the National Lottery Tackling Inequalities fund via EMD UK include:

The Move It or Lose It Club https://bit.ly/39nM4ec

Synergy Dance https://bit.ly/3iVqHUB

Keep Fit Association DVD for older people with long term health conditions

Medau DVD for care homes

Para Dance UK https://bit.ly/3r39JGz

  1. Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, the Government’s 2015 sports strategy, outlines five outcome priorities: physical health, mental health, individual development, social and community development and economic development. Are these the right priorities and how successful has the government been in measuring and delivering these outcomes to date?

These are the right priorities, but the measurement is not clear or accurate. Government or Sport England need to help NGBs in robustly measuring the impact their activities have on each of the five outcomes. If this were done effectively, particularly around health, it would unlock commitment and resources from the health sector. Uniformity on measurement would also help.

  1. Is government capturing an accurate picture of how people participate in sport and recreation activities in its data collection? How could this be improved?

The twice a month measure in Active Lives might not give the best data set, consideration to be given to reverting to weekly participation.

  1. How can racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and ableism in sport be tackled?

High profile TV coverage, more campaigns backed by high profile people, harsher punishments for those who are deemed to have crossed the line in terms of comments / actions made, especially when done by high profile people. But also, normalising these things so they are less taboo or brushed under the carpet.

  1. What can be done to improve and implement effective duty of care and safeguarding standards for sports and recreation actives at all levels?

A common framework and standards approach. But this has to be about action, not just to tick boxes and so needs an element of flexibility. Education, informing, influencing are all key areas of action as well as robust policy and process. Sharing best practice. The CPSU and Ann Craft Trust have been brilliant in driving this area forward, but all sector partners have a responsibility to be proactive in this area. Talking and listening to what young people want, as well as a review of barriers for organisations. Sharing of resources (including staff) would help here as well to ensure all organisation have access to those with experience and specialism in this area. Often lead safeguarding roles are wrapped into other roles and so there is a disparity in the time given by any one organisation to this area of work against competing priorities. This is where shared staff might be advantageous.

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges facing elite sports in the UK and what can be done to make national sports governing bodies more accountable? For example, accountability for representing and protecting their membership, promoting their sport and maximising participation.

This should all be linked to the Code for Sports Governance as that is where the accountability exists, the refresh of this may open up opportunities to add more areas in.

  1. What successful policy interventions have other countries used to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to participate in sport and recreation, and lead more active lifestyles?

No response.

  1.         Should there be a national plan for sport and recreation? Why/why not?

We think we need a national plan for sport and physical activity, not recreation. It should build on Sporting Future and must be genuinely cross-departmental (as Sporting Future was intended to be but failed). Whilst it would be hard to implement a national plan, some structure is needed to give guidance for organisations so working towards same overarching goal.


29 January 2021