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Published in Sports Management 11 Jul 2016 issue 124

NGBs need to collaborate – they can’t own participants

James Hope-Gill,

Chief Executive,

Skateboard England


The Sport England move towards targeting activity over sports participation marks the “biggest shift in government policy on activity in a decade” said Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in her opening address at the Flame Conference 2016. She emphasised that the physical activity sector needed to work in partnership to take advantage of this policy shift.

We know that being active has enormous health, social and economic benefits and I believe that NGB’s also need to work in partnership with the wider sector to address the challenges we face. It’s now not just about playing sport, but about being “active” in an ever changing social landscape. No longer can NGB’s “own” participants or customers. We all move across or are involved in different sports at any one time, and throughout our life will take part in many different sports and physical activities. 

Sport England’s huge shift in policy means both NGB’s and the sector as a whole need to embrace this culture change. Working together across the sport and physical activity sector is essential as we will be more effective when we approach these new challenges and opportunities as one.

Skateboard England is a very new NGB with no resources, yet with Olympic inclusion on the horizon we have huge potential for participation increases. We know that partnership working is essential for us to engage the community – we cannot deliver alone and are actively looking to create partnerships so that we can be part of the health and wellbeing solution, in addition to becoming a credible and legitimate sport producing medals for GB on the international stage.

Governance change can be scary, but productive

Richard Saunders MBE,

Chair,

CSP Network


I recently read a fascinating article “The Future is Bleak without Good Governance” where Lord Colin Moynihan talks about our sector falling behind the times and how governance is essential to the future of sport. At the same time both the government’s and Sport England’s strategies have highlighted the need for good governance for any organisation receiving public funding in the future.

CSP Network, the charitable umbrella body for County Sports Partnerships, has just come to the end of an 18 month governance review process and as a result have recently announced the change from a previous representative structure, to a skills based and balanced board with the appointment of a number of highly competent internal and external board members.

In 12 months the whole board will have changed – that may sound scary but in reality we are now in a position to focus on what we need to do, and have taken the opportunity to bring in some proven external skills and flair to help make sure that the impact CSPs can have will grow.

We have had the support of Sport England and excellent guidance from Campbell Tickell, governance specialists who have run a 12 month governance support package of seminars and webinars for CSPs and led our final CSP Network recruitment programme.

We have also been working for over 12 months on defining and understanding what the next generation of CSPs should look like and while we await the outcome of the DCMS CSP appraisal process it feels good that the fundamental building block of the Network’s governance has been reviewed, changed and implemented.

This has been a positive process and feels very timely as we enter a new phase in sport and physical activity.

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