June policy update
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1. Active people
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Sport England are proposing to bring the Taking Part and Active People surveys together. Proposed benefits include improved value for public money, data coverage of a wider portion of the population and the introduction of new measurements to support the new youth and community strategy.
The Alliance’s view
The Active People survey provides good longitudinal data showing sport participation in the UK, but more could be done to survey people online and through mobile phones. It could also provide more specific data for individual national governing bodies.
If you have any thoughts on the survey or would like to feed into the Alliance’s response, email James MacDougall.
The Government’s departments have updated their business plans for 2012-13 covering issues from encouraging competitive sport in schools and improving local sports facilities to implementing the new planning system and cutting back red tape. The full plans can be found on the Number Ten website.
Key highlights affecting sport and recreation can be found on the Alliance’s website.
Contact James MacDougall for more information.
3. Policy developments
The Government has announced its equalities policy in the area of age discrimination following last year’s consultation. The Alliance asked for two specific changes to the proposals, which will be introduced in October.
The Alliance’s view
The original policy allowed sport to be targeted at certain age groups only if there was a physical difference between participants or if international sport federation regulations stipulated it. Whilst this was well meant, the Alliance asked for an exemption to be made, as without doing so it may have been difficult for sports to target participation in 16 to 24 year olds.
The second change the Alliance asked for was to include intellectual games in this exemption which will allow, for example, junior and senior chess competitions to go ahead.
The Cabinet Office is continuing to ask the public on their views to reduce red tape in its Red Tape Challenge website which is now calling for feedback in the area of civil society – giving time and money, running voluntary organisations and social investment.
The Alliance's view
Unlike other sections of the challenge, this area is not prescriptive. Anything that stops your clubs, dance schools, classes, community initiatives and volunteers doing what they love to do can be added to the themes and the Cabinet Office will review them in the autumn.
Visit the Red Tape Challenge website to have your say. The closing date is the end of September.
Following a period of consultation earlier in the year, the Government has published its draft bill for the small donations scheme. The idea of the scheme is to reduce administrative burdens on charities by no longer asking for Gift Aid declarations on donations of under £20 and up to a total value of £5,000.
The Alliance’s view
The draft legislation has taken on board some of the concerns of the sector but some still remain about the strict eligibility criteria and whether this will act as a barrier to small charities hoping to benefit from the scheme.
For more information on charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs contact David Foster.
4. Outdoor pursuits
The Alliance is working with the Forestry Commission to improve opportunities for sport and recreation in the public forest estate, with plans to create a set of principles for woodland managers to allow them to understand the needs of sport and recreational events and activities.
Three surveys have been launched to gather the information needed to create these principles, which will be discussed at the second working group meeting in July. The Alliance will also hear from the chair of the Forestry Commission who is keen to hear about the work of the Alliance and the Independent Panel on Forestry report will also be discussed.
The Sports Betting Group (SBG), which is chaired and administered by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, will soon launch a dedicated website and a six-step code of practice to help governing bodies protect their sports from the threats posed by corrupt betting.
To make sure that your sport is fully prepared to deal with the ever-growing dangers posed by corrupt betting, visit the SBG website or contact David Foster for more information on how the SBG can help.
The European Commission’s plans for online betting and gaming regulation was announced at a review in June. The Commission has proposed a three-pronged approach to protect consumers and citizens, prevent fraud and protect the integrity of sport.
Twenty-seven commissioners will now consider the proposals through the Commission’s collegiate process, discussing areas of interest from conflicts of interest from sponsoring to consideration of the effects of specific risky bets. Full proposals are due in the autumn.
Contact David Foster to find out more.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance hosted an event at the House of Commons in June at which the Shadow Secretaries for Sport and Health spoke.
The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP and the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP addressed an audience comprised of Alliance members and gave their thoughts on the way forward for sport and physical activity policy. Topics of discussion included the Olympic legacy, school sport, governance and equality.
The chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport, which is supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, has called for greater recognition for the value of dance in schools in a recent Lord’s debate.
The Rt Hon Lord Pendry argued that young people have “wide-ranging interests that we need to recognise if we want to keep them engaged and motivated in sport and education.” He also criticised the decision by the Department of Education to reduce funding for school sports partnerships and praised the work of the Youth Sport Trust.
To read the transcript of the debate in full, visit the Parliament website.
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