The 165-page document presents policy calls, ideas and proposals from 29 physical activity sector organisations. Contributors wrote about what they would like the UK’s political parties to champion around sport and physical activity in their forthcoming manifestos and first 100 days in office.
The policy calls from all organisations are wide-ranging and include raising standards, enhancing participation and suggestions on how to redirect existing funding to more specific proposals – such as elevating the status of PE within the school curriculum, as well as including active environments in planning policies and changing the Highway Code.
Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Loughborough University, supported the Sustainability in Sport chapter of the policy, which outlines role of higher education in sport policy. He commented: “At a time when finances are stretched thin for local and national governments, having resource-neutral, deliverable policies for sport, exercise and wellbeing are critical for the health of the nation. The higher education sector has a key role to play in providing the research-based evidence that helps inform and shape policy.”
The Chapter highlights the University’s work to drive sustainability, equity and inclusion, injury prevention and rehabilitation which includes the Sport for Climate Action and Nature research cluster, Black in Sport Summit, the Sports Technology Institute as well as the cross-cutting research led by the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences that is part of the newly launched National Rehabilitation Centre.
Professor Jo Maher, Loughborough University Pro-Vice Chancellor for Sport, supported the Children and Young People chapter of the policy. In her previous role as Loughborough College Principal, she sets out how skills and education can be improved within the sports and physical activity sector.
Kim Leadbeater MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport, who authored the Foreword, commented: “It is not hyperbole to claim that physical activity remains one of the most under-used resources we have at our disposal when tackling some of our most persistent challenges, from easing the pressures on the NHS, tackling crime and improving economic productivity to finding ways to level up.”
Andy Reed OBE, founder and director of Sports Think Tank, said: “We know there is no shortage of reports, ideas and policy asks produced by the sector. They all add to the case and are very welcome.
“But we felt there was still some space for organisations who don’t always get heard but have something useful to add. It has also become clear that the sector will not be able to rely on additional government spending. Indeed, the predicted department spend is likely to fall during the current cycle.
“So, we asked our contributors to produce policy ideas that remain resource-neutral for the government over the budget cycle. While it is easier to ask for large policy wins, with resource implications, we felt using the principle of marginal gains – so well used in sporting circles – was a fresh, much-needed approach.
“We aim for the work we have done to collect these policy ideas to be the start of an iterative process involving both the contributors and policy makers.”
The organisations who contributed their policy ideas ranged from national governing bodies of sport, universities and colleges, charities, industry bodies and consultants to architects and commercial companies.
The full list of contributors is: Youth Sport Trust, Play England, Activity Alliance, Women in Sport, Sported, UK Sport, The Active Partnership Network, Sporting Equals, Loughborough College, UK Coaching, StreetGames, Intelligent Health, British Judo Association, British Canoeing, Loughborough University, Active IQ, Sportily, Sport for Development Coalition, State of Life, David Morley Architects, Max Associates, SLC, Fitmedia, Data Sport 80, Oaks Consultancy, Farrars Building Chambers, Sports Communications, Henham Strategy.