Government Reshuffle Impact on Sport

Posted: Wed, 05 Sep 2012 09:46

So the reshuffle has happened and the Westminster village has had its day of excitement. For those of us who have been inside the 'bubble' we know of the excitement and disappointment felt by so many MPs in one day. The atmosphere is amazing for political junkies who watch every move.

So what has that got to do with a sport think tank. As you can imagine we believe it's pretty fundamental to the direction (or lack of it) for the next two years (the average life span of a Minister).

One of the main reasons for setting up the THINKTANK was to try and create some longer term thinking and consensus to avoid the two year cycle of initiatives. It is early days but we hope to start to make a difference.

So who has moved and what does it mean for sport. Quite clearly we always look first to see who is Sports Minister and SoS at DCMS. At the time of writing we know Maria Miller has been appointed as SoS to DCMS with the additonal Women and equality brief. We could call this a part time appointment - but it's seems all governments attach this brief to another departmental SoS. It is more that PMs haven't taken the women & equalities brief seriously. The main worry for sport is that Maria Millet has no known interest or expertise in sport. I served with her on an Olympic Bill and was impressed with her performance on marketing and brand. I am not sure I remember much else. This means she probably has no baggage and may be willing to learn and be influenced by the sector. No knowledge is common for Ministers. It is not always a bad thing. We shouldn't be too quick to judge. However, I don't expect her to take on Gove over School Sport as her support for localism probably means she supported the cuts.

At he moment we think Hugh Robertson will stay at DCMS. Hugh understands sport and knows he sector well. There is a growing consensus that whilst the sector likes Hugh they have been underwhelmed by delivery and willingness to fight his corner with colleagues. Ihope the success of the Olympics and a new SoS where he may have a better relationship might improve matters. I sincerely hope so. I want Hugh to go down as a successful sports minister.

The other moves are equally interesting. Hunt has been rewarded with a move to Health (one I predicted) which has come as a surprise as equally he could have even been sacked! He has expressed some support in the past for health getting involved in sport & physical activity and of course squeezed some money from DoH for the School Gameses Coordinators. That money may not be so much at risk now as Hunt would want the school games to be one of his legacies at DCMS.

We have lost Tim Loughton the schools minister/ school sport. Gove stays with Laws moving into Education to support him. Don't expect any change of direction in education. This could be a big worry.
Elsewhere there are changes in the Health team and we will wait to see how the portfolios work out there and in places like the Cabinet Office. We await to hear about Nick Hurd for example.

One other nice story is the elevation of Paul Deighton of LOCOGI wondered what he would do next. He was of course responsible for part of the Olympics - the show! There has been some misunderstanding in the press about his role at LOCOG and confusing the roles of the ODA and the ODA budget with his. However, all we need to know is that Paul is a serious player and a nice guy. This probably means he will get frustrated and be gone within 24 months. Just a hunch.

There will be more implications with Ministers in other departments - DCLG and DECC for example. We will look at these in more detail later this week.

(these are the personal views of Director Andy Reed)

Tags: Government reshuffle, sport policy, Gove, hunt, Robertson


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