Frequently asked questions
What facilities does the SFC cover?The current community facilities that the SFC can be used for are swimming pools, sports halls, artificial grass pitches and indoor bowls centres. However, this will be extended to other facilities such as indoor tennis centres in the future.
How does it work?The SFC uses information on who uses facilities and applies this to the population profile of the local area. This ensures that the calculations are sensitive to the needs of the people who live there. Read more
The SFC turns this estimation of demand (visits per week) into the amount of facility which is needed to meet the requirements. Dependent on the facility, this number is expressed as square metres of water, badminton courts, artificial grass pitches or bowling rinks.
The SFC also gives a target total for the number of facilities that are needed to meet a population's sports facility needs. This number is based on the local population, national participation rates and the national average for facility usage.
Other features of the SFC include population profiles of individual local authorities, changes in sports participation rates, and the costs of facilities (including regional variations in building rates).
It’s important to remember that the SFC helps with the demand side of the facility provision equation and does not consider any existing supply of facilities.
What data does it use?The SFC uses survey information for the different facilities to estimate who uses what and how often. This builds up a profile of usage, which can be then applied to estimate how much demand any given population would generate. Read more
The data on who uses facilities has come from:
- Active Lives Adult survey
- Active Lives Children and Young People survey
- National Benchmarking Service
- Indoor Bowls User Survey
- AGP User Survey
- National Halls and Pools Survey.
The building costs of facilities used in the SFC are for average facilities that we endorse. The costs exclude the following:
- Site abnormal costs such as poor ground, difficult access and long service connections
- Land costs.
The SFC automatically applies the Building Cost Information Service’s Pricing Adjustment Factors to these costs. These variations are on a county and London borough basis.
What are the SFC’s limitations?The SFC can be used to estimate the demand for swimming pools, sports halls and artificial grass pitches for the population of any area, such as that of an entire local authority. Read more
However, there are dangers in how figures are subsequently used (e.g. by comparing them with the current supply of facilities for strategic gap analysis).
The SFC should not be used for strategic gap analysis as this approach is fundamentally flawed. This is because the SFC has no spatial dimension, with the figures it produces representing total demand for the chosen population.
It’s important to note that the SFC does not take account of:
- Facility location compared to demand
- Capacity and availability of facilities – i.e. opening hours
- Cross-boundary movement of demand
- Travel networks and topography
- Attractiveness of facilities.
For these reasons, the total demand figures generated by the SFC should not simply be compared with facilities provided within the same area.