On November 25th 2015 George Osborne delivered the long awaited spending review setting out departmental spending from 2015 to 2020. Although many across the sector believed that due to this time of austerity sport would be one of the areas in which cuts would continue to be made, the Chancellor chose to protect the sector throughout the life of this parliament, underlining the importance placed on sport, recreation and physical activity when trying to rebuild a nations health and prosperity.
In the autumn of 2015, DCMS introduced “ A New Strategy for Sport “
Initial consultation was followed by the long awaited document which seized the opportunity to engage with the many leaders and deliverers of sport and raised many pertinent issues of how best to move sport forward across the UK. Responses to the document have now been tendered, and the long awaited ‘Sporting Future’ strategy is now upon us.
The Investment Strategy.
The strategy covers many different topics, however investing in local communities and creating financial sustainability remains a key driver for the overall success of this policy, and therefore takes precedent in the second in our series of conferences taking place in 2016. It is clear that a co-ordinated approach is required in order to increase physical activity. Investment in infrastructure across local communities, transport, public health, housing and green spaces in order to create and promote improved health and accessibility has already begun. The forthcoming investment in the recently announced “Healthy Towns” initiative aims to be a shining example of how Local Authorities and wider stakeholders can work together to deliver regenerated environments that in turn promote healthy lifestyles.
Commissioning is a central part of the approach to redesigning the transformation of services because it offers a means of joining up resources to focus on improving outcomes for individuals and communities. During 21014/15 Sport England and CLOA undertook a joint project that supported local authority sport and leisure professionals to engage more effectively with commissioners and commissioning. CLOA and Sport England are now building on the momentum of Phase 1 by working with a further 17 organisations to explore a number of scenarios and themes across a broad geographical spread. Our conference will seek to provide greater insight into the outputs of these phased approaches, along with continued knowledge transfer from future phases.
Whilst the Chancellors decision to further support sport & activity is a major success, it is more important than ever that the money being made available is used as wisely as possible. it is crucial that Government and the sport industries work together to consider new ways of ensuring the long term financial sustainability of the sector, building on - but not relying on public funding. It is vital that organisations who are reliant on single source of income take active steps to diversify this income, “KPI 19” specifies the need for an “Increase in the amount of non public investment into sports bodies which are in receipt of public investment”, there are many challenges towards achievement of this goal and capacity building is required across the sector from County Sports Partnerships to local sports providers and all associated organisations.
Sport England are exploring options to drive the commercialisation of sports where investment has traditionally been difficult to attract. Many clubs have great foundations to generate revenue but lack the required competency and resource to do so as they are experts in delivering their sports, but respectively in some cases lack the necessary businesses acumen. Some parts of the sector have been successful in sourcing alternative income streams, however many areas such as social impact bonds, crowdfunding, and private sector partnerships are yet to be successfully harnessed. These topics and others, along with the guidance, skills and individuals that support them will feature heavily in the lead up to the conference during the pre-event debate and the physical conference.
Social Investment should clearly be playing more of a role in the sporting landscape. There are a growing number of institutional investors looking to invest capital into programmes that can deliver measurable social and financial returns. The UK Governments' support of this was underlined with the introduction of the social investment tax relief in 2014. We have also seen the rapid growth of the social impact bond (SIB) market with 32 SIB’s currently operating across the UK. The outcome based commissioning models applied with these funds provide a wealth of opportunities to invest in, and scale sports interventions that are focused on tackling specific social challenges based around health and wellbeing.
Investment In Sport & Activity - The Economic Impact of Sport.
The conference and associated pre and post event debates will seek to ensure all attendees are up skilled in understanding and capitalising on these opportunities. The conference will not only work to highlight the financial benefits of increased and sustained participation in sport, but will also seek to provide a platform to greater understand the new ways of ensuring the long-term financial stability of the sector. The conference will seek to detail the varying investments being made across Local Government on infrastructure and regeneration projects related to creating environments where active travel, active communities and population health improvements are the highest priority. The conference and the pre and post conference online debate, aims to ensure greater collaboration and continuous communication on all the pressing issues related to investing in increasing activity and improving the health of our nation.