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Sports Strategy

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

I am today publishing the Government’s new sport strategy “Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation”.

This new strategy for sport and physical activity represents a significant shift in Government policy on sport. It moves beyond merely looking at how many people take part and instead considers what people get out of participating in sport and what more can be done to tackle head on the flatlining levels of participation and high levels of inactivity in this country. It also considers the value of broader engagement in sport, whether through volunteering, watching sport, or enjoying the shared pride that comes from sporting success

Through this strategy, Government is redefining what success in sport means, with a new focus on five key outcomes: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development. In future, funding decisions will also be made on the basis of the social good that sport and physical activity can deliver.

There are several demographic groups whose engagement in sport and physical activity is well below the national average. Government will focus on these under-represented groups, including women and girls, disabled people, those in lower socioeconomic groups and older people. Government will also broaden Sport England’s remit so that it becomes responsible for sport outside school from the age of five, rather than 14.

This strategy sets out how we will transform the way in which success is measured by replacing the Active People survey with a new survey called Active Lives. This will enable Government to capture how active people are overall—rather than how often they take part in any particular sport. A new set of key performance indicators will be used to test progress towards the five key outcomes.

Government is reaffirming its commitment to Olympic and Paralympic success but also extending that ambition to non-Olympic sports where we will support success through grassroots investment in those sports, and by sharing UK Sport’s knowledge and expertise.

This strategy sets out plans to introduce a new, mandatory governance code that will be rigorously enforced and will help tackle doping, match-fixing and corruption wherever they occur in sport. We will make the sport sector stronger and more resilient through changes in governance, developing the workforce, and reducing the reliance on public funding. We will also introduce a new “duty of care” for all athletes and participants, to make sure that sport is safe for and inclusive of everyone.

It is Government’s ambition that all relevant Departments work closer together to create a more physically active nation, where our children and young people have access to the best sporting opportunities available and people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy the many benefits that sport and physical activity bring, at every stage in their lives.

I am grateful to all those who contributed to the sport strategy consultation which ran through the summer of 2015 and received over 3,000 responses. The responses to the consultation showed that the sector is united in our ambition to be a truly successful and thriving sporting nation. This strategy sets out our plan for achieving this.

The strategy is being deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sporting-future-a-new-strategy-for-an-active-nation

Attachments can be viewed online at http://www. parliament.uk/writtenstatements.

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