Sport England
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New horizons beckon for Sport England

New insights into people's behaviours and motivations will be among the considerations as we begin the vital process to shape our new strategy for 2017-2021.

Hockey players

We believe that, with a new Government in place, now is the right time to form and refine a strategy that reflects our ever-expanding research and learnings, while taking guidance from Ministers to help shape our thinking. We want to give Ministers, partners and key stakeholders the time to influence this crucial next stage in getting more people than ever playing sport.

Consulting with you

There will also be opportunities for all of our partners and stakeholders to contribute to the process and help shape our thinking, and we are beginning some of these discussions on an informal basis.

There will be a formal consultation phase beginning in September 2015 when, in addition to an online public consultation, we will run a series of independently-facilitated workshops across the country for our key partners.

The consultation responses will be reflected in our new strategy which we are aiming to publish early in 2016.

Why a new strategy?

Our current and previous strategies have increased the number of people playing sport. Since 2005/06, we have seen two significant jumps in the numbers (between 2007 and 2008 and 2012) and we have largely retained those increases.

It is worth remembering that we are the only host nation ever to have increased the number of people playing sport off the back of an Olympics.

But the growth is relatively fragile – as the last set of Active People Results showed, a drop in the number of people doing a single sport can turn the figures in the wrong direction. We need growth across the sport and activity sector, and that means change. Carrying on as we are is not enough. We also need to tackle some of the stubborn inequalities, such as the gender gap that sees fewer women than men being active despite the desire to do so.

Changing way we do things

We know more than ever before about how and why people play or don’t play sport, their attitudes to sport and activity and how they fit activity into their daily lives.

Alongside our strategy development, we are reviewing how we measure people taking part in sport. Since 2005, our Active People Survey has been a robust and accurate way of measuring people's participation in sport and activity.

Over the last eight years, we have made small changes to the survey, but modern methods of data collection mean we now have the opportunity to learn even more and get even better response rates from respondents. And a new way of surveying people will also reduce costs in the medium term.

We are also keen to test a wider set of questions that really probe how and why people do or don't play sport. These include:

  • Understanding changing attitudes and perceptions
  • Tracking opportunities to play – both real (capacity in the system, supply and provision) and perceived (awareness of the opportunities that exist)
  • Satisfaction with the quality of the experience and the extent to which it meets different audiences’ needs.

We are confident that with a new and fresh approach, we can ensure even more people develop a sporting habit for life. And we look forward to starting this exciting journey with you.


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