April policy update
1. Red tape
Just over a year ago, the Alliance was asked by the government to provide ministers with a compendium of all the regulation and burdens facing sport and recreation. The result was Red Card to Red Tape, a 200-page report documenting the array of bureaucracy facing clubs, coaches, governing bodies and volunteers as they went about their jobs.
Twelve months on, the Alliance can now update you on just how much progress has been made in cutting back the thicket of red tape which the sector faces.
Red Card to Red Tape: One Year On tells the story of the battles won, the debates still going on and where there is more work to do to. Spare five minutes to take a look and see what the Alliance is doing to help the sector, how you might help and how much more there is to be done.
As the Alliance continues to encourage the government to eradicate bureaucracy in sport and recreation, you now have the opportunity to contribute your views and concerns directly, through the Red Tape Challenge website, where the government has asked specifically for input from grassroots sports and recreation clubs.
If you have any gripes which hinder you offering sport and recreation in your community, let them know - you can add your comments in to any of the four sections of the website even if your concerns do not fit neatly into their categories. You can also send in your general comments by email if you prefer.
Visit the Red Tape Challenge website to have your say. The deadline is the first week of May.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport hosted a meeting in April on the subject of corrupt betting, with a panel composed of Darren Bailey of the FA, Matthew Hill of the Gambling Commission and Susannah Gill of Betfair.
Each were invited to give their views on the threat to sporting integrity posed by corrupt betting practices and they discussed what further action was required from government, the sport sector and betting industry to deal with the risks.
Discussions covered the Sport Betting Group’s Code of Practice, the preparations in place for the Olympic Games, the need for effective information sharing and the education of athletes.
The panellists also discussed the challenge of working with nations who have less robust regulatory frameworks and offered views on the discrepancy in public funding for anti-doping initiatives compared to betting integrity measures.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance will be represented at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences taking place this year. An excellent opportunity to engage with MPs, Peers and other policy makers, the Alliance will be working to secure meetings and speak on behalf of the sport and recreation sector.
To ensure that our presence is as valuable as possible, we would like to hear what issues you think we should be focusing on and to whom we should be speaking. We would also like to know if you your organisation is attending, as this will not only help to coordinate our lobbying efforts but also ensure we don’t miss the opportunity to catch up with you.
3. Policy changes
The Treasury is currently consulting on proposals to amend the taxation regime for remote gambling in the UK, to move towards a system based on point of consumption rather than point of supply. This means that overseas gambling operators based in places like Gibraltar and Malta would now have to pay tax on any gross gambling profits generated from customers in the UK.
As the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has already announced similar plans to change its regulation towards a taxation system based on point of consumption, the Alliance wants to take this opportunity on behalf of the sports sector to remind the government of this outstanding policy proposal, and that the two should complement each other.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is consulting on proposals for the new Gift Aid on Small Donations scheme due to be introduced in April 2013.
Under the new proposals, charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) will no longer be required to submit Gift Aid declarations for donations under £20 and up to a value of £5,000 in total. The idea is to reduce the administrative burden on charities and CASCs who wish to raise Gift Aid from small donations, like bucket collections.
The Alliance sits on the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme’s working sub-group and will be completing the HMRC consultation on behalf of its members - asking for a flexible scheme that enables as many CASCs and charities to benefit as possible.
Contact David Foster to with your comments or take a look at the Alliance’s consultation tracker to find out more.
4. Outdoor pursuits
The Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group (VSCG) whose members include the National Trust and Forestry Commission, has published the third edition of Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside – which sets out principles and guidance for owners and managers of both urban and rural open spaces to follow.
Whilst the countryside can clearly carry higher levels of risk, they can be reduced to an acceptable level by following these VSCG principles. Sport and recreation organisations may find this publication useful if land managers have concerns about their responsibility.
To find out more about the book and to order a copy, visit the VSCG website.
Outdoor apparel company The North Face has created a funding opportunity to encourage more young people to take part in outdoor activities, focus on sustainability initiatives, or help create a connection to nature that will empower the future leaders of tomorrow. Financial support of up to €2,500 will be awarded to organisations which meet their criteria.
Visit the Explore Fund website to find out more. The entry deadline is 2 July 2012.
The European Commission has published a study that examines criminal law provisions related to match fixing in all 27 European Union members states.
It found that whilst some member states focus on general offences of corruption or fraud, others have implemented specific offences in their criminal codes (Bulgaria and Spain), sports laws (Cyprus, Poland and Greece), or special criminal laws (Italy, Malta and Portugal). In the UK, betting-related match fixing is punishable under the offence of cheating at gambling under the Gambling Act 2005.
Suggested recommendations include overcoming loopholes in existing legislation, improving police and judicial cooperation, encouraging international cooperation, enhancing the exchange of information and best practices and encouraging further research on key issues.
The European Commission has launched its 2012 call for Preparatory Action proposals in the field of sport. Preparatory Actions refer to pilot projects funded by the Commission to prepare its actions and priorities for the future.
The total budget available is €3.5 million and this will be used to support transnational projects across four different themes:
- The fight against match fixing
- The promotion of physical activity, supporting active ageing
- Raising awareness of how to promote sport at municipal level
- Joint grassroots sport competitions in neighbouring regions and member states.
The application deadline is 31 July 2012, and successful projects will run from 2013 and end no later than 30 June 2014. Project proposals must involve public or non-profit bodies from at least five EU countries.
On 16 May the Alliance will be running a workshop at its offices on Understanding European Affairs, covering the issue of the ever-growing European and international dimensions of sport. Presented by various European experts, the session will cover:
- the role of the European institutions and how they work
- why Europe is relevant for sport
- the key personnel in Europe
- jargon busting and how to be effective in Europe.
The workshop is FREE and will run from 2 to 5pm. Contact David Foster if you wish to attend.
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