Our Policy Focus

As you can imagine there are hundreds of potential topics we can cover at the Sports Think Tank and to some degree we do try to cover many of them. However, using our patrons and Advisory Group we try to maintain a series of core issues where we will concentrate our time and efforts. Of course this changes over time but these are the core for 2020 and we are in the process of updating for 2021-22

We are always reviewing our priorities!

We are looking for support for each of our topic areas - for a lead sponsor.

We exist to research, explore and create evidence based policy ideas. We have created a new page to host the conclusions we have come to through our forums and Advisory Group. This is the simple version of the 'Asks' we have created by policy area. If you have suggestions and ideas why not head over to our Innovation Centre!


We recognise that creating an Active Nation requires a whole system approach and at the heart of this is building activity back into our daily lives. Much of this will be delivered through planning and an active environment as the new Sport England strategy has recognised.

Working with our Partners David Morley Architects (DMA) we will provide thought provoking leadership and solutions as this issue becomes increasingly integral to the Place based approach of Sport England.


It is right that most of the Sport and Physical Activity sector is working hard now in survival mode. But there will be a time in the near future when the country emerges from the Coronavirus and people will want to return to 'normal'


The referendum decision to leave the EU was a landmark moment in the political history of the United Kingdom and the consequences of the decision to withdraw will have far reaching consequences for the sports and leisure sector.


Duty of care across many sectors has been brought into sharp focus in recent years. The Government, in its sports strategy, highlighted the need for change in the sports sector, putting the sector under more scrutiny than ever before. It comes amid a spate of bullying allegations against coaches, mounting concern over the use of medication, and the effects of head injuries in some sports, as well as the child sex abuse scandal in football.


Sporting Futures set the sport and physical activity agenda along a new pathway. It is journey we have supported and have enjoyed working with DCMS and Sport England on bringing to life. We continue to with these partners with advice, guidance and thought leadership.


School Sport and PE remain a controversial area of sports policy. The scrapping of the County Sports Partnership, a key Labour sports policy promise, under the Coalition Government to allow schools to spend their new School Sport Premium funding as they want, continues to create political debate. Furthermore, with alarming rises in the levels of child obesity, ongoing arguments about the place of sport and activity within a crowded curriculum and increasing issues with holiday hunger and inactivity, how sport, fitness and PE should be undertaken within and around the the education system, remains a significant issue in sports policy.


Sport:80 are our technology in sport partners.

Technology is playing a part in encouraging participation in a way it never has before, and every indication is that its influence will continue to grow, with more than 50,000 health, fitness and physical activity apps now available. We look at the impact of data, digital and tech.


The truths we know about working life are undergoing some dramatic changes. New behaviours and emerging technologies are changing how work is organized and the activities we engage in. This is driven by a number of themes that are expected to fundamentally change working life. Join us and explore.


If we are to 'Build an Active Nation' we need the quality sport and physical activity infrastructure to allow it to happen - especially in our climate!

Here we will promote what that national infrastructure model should look like and how it can be achieved.


As we develop greate systems thinking in our approach to tackling inactivity we believe more attention needs to be given to the role of economic development and creating an inclusive economy. Poverty and inequality are drivers of poor health so without the links we won't make progress.


During the Covid Pandemic the closure of Gyms and leisure has had an a devastating economic impact on the sector.

However, whilst the short term impact has been severe it has exposed some fundamental issues in the current model

Our physical activity and sport eco-system will thrive and prosper ONLY if we can promote more effectively, the rich diversity of opportunity that exists and find new and innovative ways to engage more people in our communities.

What if the savings in not operating say 30% of that facility stock could be re-invested in other ways?

In re-imagining and re-purposing the remaining facilities so that they had wider appeal.
In up-skilling or re-skilling the enthusiasts and empathisers in our workforce to deliver different and improved services to our communities.
In improving the digital connectivity of our communities so that they could be inspired, motivated or nudged along the behavioural change journey.
In encouraging the greater use of open space for 'free' activity or 'led' activity.
In supporting and exploiting the passion and energy that exists within voluntary sports clubs.
In thinking about the whole system as a contributor to physical activity connecting health care, social care, education and travel with the physical activity and sport landscape, so that moving about more was available to more, understood by more and ultimately became a habitual part of more people's lives.
If our focus was on elevating the value of exercise in the minds of our communities, and we promoted the depth and breadth of opportunity that exists to be physically active, then I am certain that our society would thrive and that would include the facility assets that would be cherished by even more.






Over the last decade we have taken an interest in the debate around the UK Sport investment approach often referred to as No Compromise.

We lobbied over the last few years to refocus the approach to be relaxed and have been grateful that progress was made in 2019 with a new policy focus at UK Sport to include potential. This does allow for more sports to benefit from investment and more athletes to be identified earlier.

UK sport believe their new strategy will help sustain medal success while enabling more communities to inspired by their success.

We Remain vigilant and will monitor the strategy and its impact. We still believe a national debate about an 'acceptable' medal target should be held.