Understanding the context
Having a shared vision and strategy for sport in a local area, being clear about what outcomes you want to deliver and who the partners are to help realise these is essential to ensuring all local communities have access to the best possible sporting opportunities to help grow participation.
Creating a vision and strategy will require the investment of time and resources, but this does not have to be onerous and the benefits can be significant, with the goal being an effective approach across key stakeholders to improve sporting outcomes and provision for local people.
In today’s challenging economic climate when limited public sector resources have to work harder to deliver improved outcomes, having clarity on what you want sport to achieve in your place and how it could support wider outcomes is more important than ever. The benefits of a shared vision and strategy are significant:
- A collective effort where all partners are focused on delivering the vision and outcomes
- Resources and activity are aligned across organisations to achieve increased participation
- To help attract new investment and make it clear what the priorities are for future allocation of resources
- Having an agreed set of measures to monitor progress and demonstrate impact, including wider outcomes.
To help you scope out a vision and strategy for sport in your place, issues to consider include:
- Why you are developing the vision and strategy – be able to articulate the benefits to help gain partner buy-in
- What the parameters are: is it a strategy only for sport or does it form part of a broader strategy, for instance, the physical activity strategy for the place? Will it be focused on sporting outcomes to grow participation or will it also embrace the wider outcomes sport can help realise?
- The local market insight you and partners have, including consumer views – this will help ensure the vision and strategy is built on strong evidence of need
- Who is sponsoring the work, for instance, the local Cabinet member responsible for sport. Who is responsible for driving the development of it?
- Who the key partners and organisations needed to help develop the vision and strategy are. Consideration should be given to both sporting and non-sporting partners; how do you ensure the people you get involved can represent their organisation’s views with authority?
- How you will keep key political leaders and strategic players involved and updated, so their views shape the vision and strategy and their buy-in is achieved
- Applying project management discipline to the process, since the development of a strategic vision is essentially a project
- The timeline for the work
- Whether you need to bring in external help for some stages of the vision and strategy development, or whether the partners involved undertake the work themselves
- The partnership structure through which you can manage the strategy process – does something already exist that can be used or built upon, or do you need to create something new?
- How you will handle wider consultation with the community and other stakeholders that may not form part of your immediate strategy group. What arrangements will help you achieve buy-in as widely as possible?
- The mechanisms to turn the strategy into a joint delivery plan, and how delivery, monitoring and review will be managed.
The above considerations are not an exhaustive list, but are a good starting point to help scope out the project.
How can Sport England help?
To help you and your partners we have a range of tools to support you in developing your vision and strategy for your place, and in particular to help you develop a strong needs and evidence base to work with. This includes:
- Sport England’s Youth and Community Strategy 2012-17 (PDF), which provides the national policy framework for sport to help inform your local vision and strategy
- Active People Survey (APS), which provides a rich picture of 14-plus sports participation in England. The evidence it provides can be used to support strategic planning for sport at a local authority level. Active People Interactive enables you to interrogate the wealth of APS data that exists to build up a detailed and specific picture of participation in your local authority area, including particular sports
- National Governing Body (NGB) Whole Sport Plans Summary Document, a concise summary of NGB whole sport plans including funding, programmes and products. This gives a high-level overview of NGBs’ plans for 2013-17
- Research into the factors influencing participation: a growing bank of insight about the most effective ways to motivate and support people to take up sport
- Culture and Sport Outcomes Framework, a web resource providing guidance for councils and their partners on how to create a local outcomes framework to demonstrate the contribution sport makes to better outcomes for individuals, communities and places and how sport delivers on local priorities
- Local Sport Profile , a comprehensive store of relevant, accurate and up-to-date data which can inform strategic planning and development of sporting opportunities by local authorities and other partners. It provides key non-sporting and sporting data to help you set the context for your developing your vision and strategy
- Mini Sport Profile, which provides a summary of the key data for your area from the Local Sport Profile, plus maps of modelled super output area data for sports participation and obesity
- Sport Market Segmentation, which will help you and you partners better understand your local markets and the local population’s likelihood to play sport. This will help you consider how your strategy could be focusing on particular geographical areas or communities to help grow participation
- Making partnership work better in culture and sport (PDF), a simple guide to help you get the best out of partnership working that can support your vision and strategy process.
What's the result?
By using the material from these tools and taking a strong partnership and consultative approach you will be able to achieve a vision and strategy for your place that:
- Gives you and partners a shared clarity for what you want sport to achieve for your place
- Is outcome-focused
- Is underpinned by strong local evidence of need
- Is able to measure and demonstrate improved sporting outcomes through increased participation
- Has the buy-in and commitment of all the key partners that can help deliver the vision, particularly leaders, including political leaders, of key local organisations
- Provides opportunities for joint investment with these partners around shared outcomes
- Provides the platform and clear priorities to secure future resources and investment
- Is able to measure and demonstrate sports contribution to improving wider outcomes.