Effective investment models
The right investment can play a vital role in creating new and improved opportunities for people to be active, enable innovation, encourage collaboration and reduce inequalities across sport and physical activity.
Achieving the ambitions of this strategy will be about more than money, and certainly more money than we’ll have at our disposal.
As well as using our own funds carefully and creatively, we need to attract other sources of investment into sport and physical activity.
Openly available grant funding plays an important role, and so can increasing access to different forms of finance - from loan schemes to crowdfunding - which can be more relevant to new partners and prove more financially sustainable.
Distributing funding in new ways, and working with partners with the right connections, can help ensure funding reaches those that have not found out previous programmes easy to access or relevant.
What we'll focus on
- Ensuring ‘doing business’ with us is a positive experience, meaning we’re efficient, accessible, connected and proportionate in our processes and expectations, whilst accountable for public funds
- Simplifying access to available funding, including our open funds
- Continuing to diversify and develop our investment approaches beyond our traditional grant programmes, so our offers reflect the realities of the market, the needs of partners, and understand impact
- Enhancing our understanding of the operating environment and local context of the organisations we invest in
- Taking advantage of this 10-year strategy period to invest in capacity and capability that will underpin solutions to the big issues.
Evidence shows activity and experience rely on the capacity, connections and support of the millions of volunteers and professionals in our sector and beyond.
But we also need to understand and harness the great work and best practice we’ve seen to meet the possibilities of the next decade, including unleashing the power of diversity, ensuring more people have access to help from those who relate to their experiences, training and qualifications fit for the future, better career choices and clubs and groups contributing more to the social fabric of their communities. To do this, the focus on the people within the workforce must be clearer and more prominent.
We need to confront challenges such as the lack of diversity, falling volunteer numbers, skills shortages, championing enjoyment for children and young people and ensuring safe environments for sport and physical activity.
But we also need to understand and harness the great work and best practice we’ve seen to meet the possibilities of the next decade.
What we'll focus on
- An unrelenting emphasis on diversity, inclusion, skills and behaviours, to open up and increase volunteering and employment opportunities for people from a broader range of backgrounds and experiences
- Working with others to take an honest look at the support and experience for volunteers within our sector, focusing on what’s needed to make giving your time easy, meaningful and supported, now and for the future, and in doing so, reducing drop-out rates
- Supporting the development of people and skills, with a focus on networks of clubs, groups and local leaders to realise their community’s ambitions for physical activity
- Working with others to empower children and young people, their families and communities to be part of the changes they want to see for themselves by championing youth social action, creating new youth employment pathways and supporting social entrepreneurship
- Broadening the diversity of leaders within the sector whilst supporting existing and aspiring leaders to develop the skills, relationships and knowledge they need to lead effectively both now and in the future
- Advocating and supporting the professional regulation of the sport and physical activity sector to ensure it’s respected both domestically and internationally as a safe, credible and well-governed industry.
Applying innovation and digital
Times are changing, and so are people’s expectations. Innovation, including digital, is key to making sport and physical activity accessible and relevant to many more people. We must ensure that in the face of opportunity and change, innovation is applied to the big issues that are holding many more people back from being active.
This means we need to continue to develop inclusive and sustainable digital solutions that prioritise improving the experiences of people taking part, while being ready to learn and adapt as things evolve.
We’ve already come a long way, with community-developed open data standards and a host of new startups that didn’t exist four years ago. The Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated progress, with sport and physical activity offers rapidly adapting and moving online to support thousands of people to stay active safely.
But no one can say the journey is anywhere near complete. The task for the next decade is to ensure a sport and physical activity sector that’s connected to, and at ease with, the modern world.
Sport and physical activity offers have rapidly adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic and moved online to support thousands of people to stay active safely.
Over the next decade, we want to see a sport and physical activity sector that’s connected to, and at ease with, the modern world.
What we'll focus on
- Stimulating and actively encouraging innovative solutions focused on people who struggle the most to be active. This will include finding ways to encourage a whole range of people and organisations to help us solve the challenges they face
- Helping to tackle digital exclusion through our partnerships and investments
- Continuing to advocate for the importance of digital literacy skills and the adoption and development of data standards by the sector. We’ll ensure a commitment to open data is applied as a foundational block of our work with partners to tackle the big issues
- Collaborating with partners to explore digital solutions that can improve the experiences of people getting active, so they remain relevant and engaging.
Collaboration is essential to unlock the value data, insight and learning can add over the next decade.
The speed at which we learn and apply knowledge is critical - we need to continue capturing and creating data and insight at pace, keeping up with change, otherwise our understanding and ways of working will become obsolete before they’re put into practice.
As well us all needing access to high-quality data, insight and learning, we need the confidence to apply it, so we can make the most of the opportunities ahead.
What we'll focus on
- Building the right connections across a diverse set of organisations so we can learn together and understand what’s needed and what works. We’ll support these communities to build practical skills and the confidence to act on what they learn
- Identifying patterns and issues, addressing gaps in our understanding and focusing on the areas that make the greatest difference to inequalities. We’ll further develop our view of the future and what’s driving changes in behaviour
- Making it easier for everyone to access and use data, insight and learning by creating data standards, tools and processes. We’ll support people to create their own insight, while also improving the guidance and advice we give for evaluation and learning
- Being brave and calling out some big issues, especially why some people or parts of society find it hard to be active. We’ll advocate on behalf of those who don’t have a voice and continue to make the case for the value of sport and physical activity at an individual, local and national level, placing movement for all at the top of the agenda.
To realise the ambitions in this strategy, the sector will need strong, brave, collaborative, empathetic and innovative leadership. But leadership goes beyond those labelled as ‘leaders’ and their daily working practices – it’s also about how ambitions and intentions are enshrined into ways of working.
We’ll need a sector that embraces good governance in a way that goes beyond compliance and ensures a safe, well-run and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.
Put simply, good governance means not only having a fit for purpose structure and system in place, but making sure those leading an organisation use it wisely and effectively.
One of the greatest successes of the last few years has been our work, jointly with UK Sport, to develop and implement the Code for Sports Governance, which when launched in 2016 set a new standard in governance for sporting organisations.
Nearly 300 organisations have adapted to meet the requirements in the top two tiers of the Code for Sports Governance (Tiers 2 and 3), while thousands more have met the minimum (Tier 1) level
Since then, we’ve seen hundreds of organisations adapt to meet its requirements in order to receive public money, and in the process, transform how they’re run. We now have more diverse boards, with greater independence and a broader range of skills that are leading organisations being more transparent about what they do and how they do it.
We’re beginning to see more and more organisations taking the Code and applying it, voluntarily, within their own regional, county and local structures. More organisations not formally subject to the Code are deciding it’s in their interests to embrace it and meet its requirements. We want to help support that to continue.
Good governance extends beyond the structures of sport.
It should also drive and ensure the creation of a safe, well-run and enjoyable environment for sport and physical activity at every level, where the welfare of everyone involved is the paramount concern.
While we’ve seen considerable improvement and change, we’ve also witnessed continued examples of where this hasn’t been the case. From sports clubs and teams through to informal activity and exercise, everyone has the right to take part safely and be free from harassment, bullying and discrimination.
Developed alongside UK Sport, the Code for Sports Governance set a new standard in governance for sporting organisations.
What we'll focus on
- Completing the first formal review of the Code for Sports Governance by spring 2021, looking across all aspects of the Code but focusing primarily on changes related to equality, diversity and inclusion. This also means ensuring the Code is accessible and usable by organisations at all levels
- Supporting organisations we don’t currently fund or work with, particularly at grassroots community level, to improve governance and help them become more sustainable, collaborating with others to design and implement support packages
- Prioritising an understanding of safeguarding and the delivery of effective welfare policies and actions - ensuring organisations we partner with and invest in demonstrate a duty of care towards everyone involved in their sport or activity, including coaches, support staff and people taking part.