DCMS Sports Legacy Plan

Posted: Tue, 18 Sep 2012 22:20

The Sports Minister Hugh Robertson today set out the 2012 Legacy Plan in a written Ministerial Statement ahead of the Recess. Normally statements put out in this way are just to hit a deadline. I can imagine there was a desperate need to head into the September recess with some form of statement in the public domain.

What we have is enclosed in the attachment. We will try to analyse the document more fully but here is a quick assessment.

First we have to say it is not a strategy or a plan - but a list of what is happening. Very little is joined up across government and there are no targets. We know the present government dislikes targets but it makes this plan impossible to measure. Having said that we welcome many aspects of the points on the list.

1. Elite funding - Yes it is good the government has committed to the Rio Cycle of funding for elite sport via UK Sport. It would have been political suicide to do anything else for such a small overall £cost. Not surprising it is No1 in the list - a good decision. But the detailed discussions will be contentious about where the money goes. We have long argued here at STT that we need a public debate about the public priorities for elite funding. many NGBs now get nothing as we target Olympic Gold and many who have received money for London will miss out. What are the priorities and why? Where is the Policy debate?

2.World Class Facilities. Yes the Olympic Park plans and the other legacy plans for the venues are good. They were integral to the planning from 2005. Below the headlines though we still need major capital expenditure on a consistent level of world class facilities across the UK. We are still well short of a decent number of 50m pools, indoor tennis and other venues. This is a mixed picture with local government cuts impacting on capital projects over the next decade. One to watch!

3. Can't argue with the facts of the major events list. Many were in place primarily from 2005 onwards on the back of our Olympic success and the skills we learned in the bidding process. There was also a UKSport strategy and support. There are new pressures in the future.. funding support for bids and we are still awaiting the Major Events Bill we were promised. Endorsement Income needs sorting sooner rather than later too on other major events. The loss of RDA funding won't help in long term planning for more events and pressures on Local Government budgets will make it harder to underwrite bids.

4. The £135 m Legacy fund - is doing what they said it would. Always a list of initiatives but each worthwhile in their own way. Again not a strategy as such but a reasonable list of initiatives. We look forward to the evaluations of these.

5. The Sport England Youth Strategy. To be welcomed. Most of the ideas contained here head in the right direction. With additional lottery funding the spotlight is now on sport to see if it can deliver. This is worthy of a separate and much more detailed response.

6. Join In. Another initiative that created ANOTHER one stop shop for volunteering. Nice brand and reasonable success in 2012 given the timescale. But it could do with integrating. Again worthy of another article about how not to drop another initiative in a crowded space without getting buy in from existing partners. There are many other volunteering initiatives.

7. School Games. Of course replaces the old School Games which were a different beast. Again an idea forced onto the sector from above without much enthusiasm. It could be made to work on top of a decent PE & Sport delivery mechanism in schools - but... that was cut of course.

8. Quite rightly there are no major claims for PE in this section. A fairly meaningless statement instead. The weakest part of any legacy claim by a mile. This massive black hole in government policy really does make it hard to claim any great legacy. It needs sorting soon and could be done for £150m a year.

9. The £8m for disability sport has been announced so many times it is a bit embarrassing . To be fair there is now more of an emphasis on disability sport and the inclusive agenda from school age through to Paralympics. This was by far the weakest area before so improvement is welcome. However, the list of initiatives again do not add up to a coherent strategy or a level that will make an enormous difference. With a bit more work we could start to use the Paralympic legacy and changed attitudes. The work of partners like EFDS will start to take shape

10. International Inspiration was a quite success of the 2012 legacy. We are pleased to see it continue. It is part of our soft diplomacy too.

The overall conclusion remains cautious. With the new legacy role for Seb Coe his task will to turn this and the other departmental plans into a coherent strategy and to free up the monies needed to pay for school sport and ensure all this is not undone by local authority cuts across the country. A tall order for Seb and Legacy/ momentum/ sustainability or whatever phrase you prefer. Until we have some targets or measurement this remains a list. We will work hard to add some flesh to the bones laid out today!

Tags: Legacy, Dcms, Sport, 2012, Seb Coe


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