Subject: Proposal for a Preliminary Investigation into the Sporting Legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Report Number: 5
Report to: Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee Date: 3 September 2008 Report of: Executive Director of Secretariat
That the Committee agree to carry out a preliminary investigation into the 2012 sporting legacy with terms of reference as outlined at paragraph 3.20.
This report sets out a proposal for a preliminary investigation into two areas with a view to influencing the London Legacy Plan for Sport which is expected to be published in mid-October 2008. It follows the Committee’s agreement at its previous meeting to undertake various site visits in order to gather information for an investigation into the 2012 sporting legacy.
The two areas that would be investigated are:
What is being done, and what more could be done, to ensure a 2012 sporting legacy for young Londoners. It is proposed to focus on this area because the Mayor has indicated that ensuring the 2012 Games sets in place a lasting legacy for youth sport across the capital is a high priority; and
The provision of public swimming pools in London. It is proposed to focus on this area because the Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey MP, has indicated that the London Legacy Plan for Sport will need to cover the provision of sports facilities in London including public swimming pools.
It is proposed that the Committee produces two short reports from this investigation: one on the 2012 sporting legacy for young Londoners; and, another mapping the provision of public swimming pools in London. These reports would set out the Committee’s findings and recommendations and would be published in early October so they could inform the content of the London Legacy Plan for Sport.
Following the publication of the London Legacy Plan for Sport, the Committee could decide to undertake a further detailed investigation on the 2012 sporting legacy. This could focus on a specific aspect of the legacy plan or involve monitoring its impact in producing a sporting legacy for the capital.
The 2012 Games are expected to deliver a sporting legacy in terms of both increased grassroots sports participation and improved high-level sporting performance across the UK. The first of the Government’s five legacy promises is “to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation.”1 It wants to see two million people more active by 2012, and the Great Britain team finishing fourth in the Olympic medal table and at least second in the Paralympic medal table at the 2012 Games.2 In June 2008 the Government published its legacy action plan which included the practical steps intended to realise this sporting legacy.3
In the capital, the Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey MP, is overseeing the production and implementation of a specific London Legacy Plan for Sport. The London Development Agency (LDA) is developing the plan which “will capture sports development and participation opportunities across London, from grass roots and community sport, through to talent identification and elite sport.”4 It will map out the roles of the key stakeholders, identify gaps in sports provision and infrastructure, and propose actions to address these gaps. It is due to be published in mid-October 2008.
This report proposes a preliminary investigation into two areas relating to the 2012 sporting legacy to generate findings and recommendations that can influence the London Legacy Plan for Sport before it is published. These two areas are covered in more detail below. There have been informal discussions with Kate Hoey MP about the Committee’s possible work on the 2012 sporting legacy and she has indicated that it could be a helpful contribution to her own work.
1. 2012 sporting legacy for young Londoners
The Mayor has indicated that ensuring the 2012 Games sets in place a lasting legacy for youth sport across the capital is a high priority. This will directly involve the LDA. In addition to leading on developing the London Legacy Plan for Sport, the LDA has a specific 2009/10 mayoral budget priority of increasing its work with young people by funding youth community groups that develop community sports projects.5
The Government is mainly focusing on achieving a sporting legacy for young people by providing more physical education (PE) and sport through schools and colleges. It is seeking to offer all 5 to 16 year olds five hours of sport and all 16 to 19 year olds three hours of sport a week by 2012. Its PE and Sports Strategy, supported by a network of sports co-ordinators based in every school and college, is key to delivering this goal.6 Since 2003 it has invested £1.5 billion through this strategy and recently reported that the number of young people doing at least two hours of PE and sport a week has increased.7
However, there remain challenges to achieving a sporting legacy for young people. In its previous report on the 2012 sporting legacy for people with disabilities, the Committee highlighted that only a small proportion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools were receiving two hours of PE a week and that trainee teachers received no preparation to teach PE to children with disabilities.8 The Government itself has highlighted the large numbers of young people who give up on sport once they reach the age of 16 years old or leave school.9 Recent research has shown that teenagers in other countries such as Canada and Australia are more interested in participating in sport and also have higher levels of sporting ambition than teenagers in the UK.10 This national picture seems true for London as well. Whilst 29 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds in the capital are participating in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least three times a week (including through clubs, schools or colleges), a greater proportion (35 per cent) are not even participating in just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.11
There are even greater challenges to realising an increase in sports participation levels amongst young people at risk of exclusion, outside mainstream education or at risk of underachieving. Certain groups of young people are over-represented in these categories: those with numeracy and literacy needs, young black and minority ethnic people, young people with disabilities, young carers and young offenders. The Government is seeking to reach many of those who are reluctant or unable to participate in sport including people from minority communities and deprived areas.12 In London, Sport England has prioritised increasing sport participation amongst certain groups including “young people in settings outside of the school and college curriculum”.13 It is proposed, therefore, that the Committee focus in particular on young Londoners at risk of exclusion and what is being done, and what more could be done, to ensure they are part of the sporting legacy.
In order to gather background information for this project, Members have already visited Newham Sports Academy to hear from local young people receiving support to develop their sporting abilities. The Academy, launched by the London Borough of Newham in association with the former Olympian Tessa Sanderson, identifies talented young sportspeople from the London Borough of Newham, which has high levels of deprivation, and provides them with high-level coaching and other assistance.14 Members heard from some young people about the benefits of the Academy and also from Tessa Sanderson and other staff about the work of the Academy. It is seeking to bridge the gap between grassroots and elite sporting bodies, helping develop local talented young sports people who might not otherwise receive any support.
Further visits to a pupil referral unit for teenagers excluded from mainstream education and a centre for young Londoners not in education, employment or training are due to take place on 3 September 2008. These will provide an opportunity for Members to hear from other young Londoners about their participation in sport. The opportunity for a further visit to hear from young offenders involved in a project that encourages them to take up diving is also being explored. All the visits will provide an opportunity to talk to young people, and also the staff who work with them, about any barriers they face to participating in sport and what might help them become more active.
Alongside these site visits, further desk-based research would be undertaken into what is being done, and what more could be done, to help ensure a 2012 sporting legacy for young Londoners. The Committee could also write to relevant organisations for their views on encouraging sports participation amongst young Londoners. This would provide a more detailed evidence base from which to draw any conclusions.
Written views and information could be sought from organisations not already involved directly in the development of the London Legacy Plan for Sport to provide different perspectives. They could include local sports clubs for young people in London (e.g. those who have applied for London Summer of Sport funding), all pupil referral units in London, and charities and other organisations who work with young Londoners. At the same time, the LDA could be asked about its response to the 2009/10 mayoral budget priority of increasing its work with young people by funding youth community groups to develop community sports projects. All organisations would be contacted in early September and asked to provide any written submissions by late September.
The findings from the visits, the desk based research and any written views and information submitted could be drawn together in a short, tightly focused, report with recommendations to the Mayor and the Commissioner for Sport. This would be published in early October so it could influence the London Legacy Plan for Sport.
2. Provision of public swimming pools in London
The Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport is reportedly keen to ensure the London Legacy Plan for Sport covers the current and future provision of public swimming pools in London.15 Swimming is also central to the Government’s legacy plans for sport. In June 2008 it announced a new £140 million fund to encourage local authorities to provide free swimming to people over 60 years old and rejuvenate and maintain public swimming pools.16
Many people have expressed concerns about the quantity, quality and accessibility of the UK’s public sport facilities such as swimming pools. Recently Derek Mapp, the former Chair of Sport England, said he suspected that if previous research showing under-investment in sports facilities was repeated now, it would show “despite having had the prize of 2012 for three years, we …have gone backwards.”17 In 2006 the Audit Commission highlighted the decline in the number of new sports centres and swimming pools being built and the increasingly poor state of existing public sports facilities.18
There are a total of 560 swimming pools in London19 but these do not necessarily meet the capital’s needs. Although these swimming pools include public pools operated by London Boroughs and pools in state/independent schools that might be available for local community use, the proportion of the capital’s swimming pools which are commercially operated is higher than in any other area of the country.20 This means that many may not be easily accessible to all Londoners especially those on low incomes. In the future, there might also be fewer public and school swimming pools in the capital. Some public swimming pools are scheduled to close (e.g. Ilford swimming pool21) and some school swimming pools might disappear as a consequence of the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme. London Swimming has suggested that in order to meet London’s needs around six multi-use public pools needs to be built by 2012.22
Some information about the provision of public swimming pools across the capital exists but more information is needed, particularly in relation to future provision. It is, therefore, proposed that the Committee commission a series of maps from the GLA’s Data Management and Analysis Group, in consultation with London Swimming which holds data on swimming pools in the capital. It is understood following informal discussions that such maps would be a useful contribution to the London Legacy Plan for Sport. Specifically the maps would show:
areas of London without public swimming pools within 20 minutes walk of local residents;
the location of public swimming pools in London against public transport users’ data; and
the future provision of public swimming pools in London (e.g. anticipated provision because of known closures, existing and anticipated provision against future population predictions and the provision required if the capital was to meet national targets).
The Committee’s mapping work on public swimming pool provision could be pulled together in a short report with recommendations to the Mayor and the Commissioner for Sport. This could also be published in early October so it could influence the content of the London Legacy Plan for Sport.
Other scrutiny work on the 2012 sporting legacy
The Committee has already produced various reports relating to the 2012 sporting legacy, and the opportunity to follow these up through this preliminary investigation and/or any subsequent work on the 2012 sporting legacy will be kept under review.
The impact of the 2012 Games on Lottery funding in London (February 2008). This highlighted that diverting funding from Lottery good causes in London to shore up the budget for the 2012 Games may actually harm small grassroots sports organisations who are expected to help deliver the 2012 sporting legacy.
London Olympic and Paralympic Games: A sporting legacy for people with disabilities (September 2006). This identified a risk that disabled people might miss out on a 2012 sporting legacy given the barriers they faced. For example, the sidelining of children with special needs in mainstream school sports provision, an inadequate and uncoordinated transport system, and the absence of a clear pathway to international competition.
A Sporting Chance: Improving opportunities for young Londoners (November 2003). This provided a brief overview of the availability and options for young people in the capital to access sport. Part of the evidence base included a detailed submission from the London Pools Campaign about swimming pool provision in London.
Various select committees have also produced reports that relate to the 2012 sporting legacy and these will be taken into account as appropriate.
In its most recent report on preparing for the 2012 Games (April 2008), the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee queried the likelihood of the Great British team doing better in 2012 than in recent Olympic and Paralympic Games. It also expressed support for the concept of actively looking for talented sports people rather than waiting for them to appear.23
In its recent report on preparing for 2012 sporting success (July 2008), the Public Accounts Committee identified a risk that, unless the activities of a wide range of public, private and voluntary bodies were properly co-ordinated, the focus on winning medals could distract the Government’s attention from encouraging ordinary people to participate in sport. It suggested there was no clear evidence that elite sporting performance influences people to take up sport and highlighted that Olympic medallists in certain sports (e.g. rowing) do not represent the make-up of the wider population, with many coming from privileged backgrounds.24
Proposed terms of reference
The proposed terms of reference for this preliminary investigation into the 2012 sporting legacy are:
To explore what is being done, and what more needs to be done, to ensure a 2012 sporting legacy for young Londoners, setting out the findings in a short report with recommendations to the Mayor and the Commissioner for Sport; and
To map the provision of swimming pools in London to identify any gaps in current provision and what will be required to ensure adequate provision for 2012 and beyond setting out the findings in a short report with recommendations to the Mayor and the Commissioner for Sport.
This would be a preliminary investigation into two areas relating to the 2012 sporting legacy which seeks to influence the London Legacy Plan for Sport before its expected publication in mid-October. Because of this timescale, a very detailed investigation is not proposed at this stage. However, it is suggested that the Committee considers the possibility of further work on the sporting legacy once the London Legacy Plan for Sport is published.
If the Committee published two short reports in early October, these could inform its discussion with the Commissioner for Sport at the meeting on 14 October 2008.
The proposed timetable for this preliminary investigation (covering both areas) is:
(9 July site visit to Newham Sports Academy)
3 September site visit to pupil referral unit and centre for Londoners not in
education, employment or training
3 September – early Possible further site visit to hear from young offenders
October Written views and information sought from relevant bodies
Mapping of swimming pool provision in London
Pulling together the findings on each area in a short report
14 October Meeting with the Commissioner for Sport
Formal approval of the Committee’s two short reports
mid-October Expected publication of the London Legacy Plan for Sport
Post October Possible further Committee work on sporting legacy focusing on
a specific aspect of the Legacy Plan or monitoring its impact
Section 59 Greater London Authority Act 1999 (as amended) (the GLA Act) requires the Assembly to keep under review the exercise by the Mayor of his statutory functions.
Section 54(1) of the GLA Act enables the Assembly to arrange for any of its functions to be discharged by a committee or sub-committee of the Assembly or by a single member of the Assembly.
There are no direct financial implications arising from this report. Any costs incurred during the completion of the preliminary investigation will be met from within the existing scrutiny budget for 2008/09.
1 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, June 2008, DCMS, page 3
3 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, June 2008, DCMS
4 ‘Employment and Skills report for 2012 - 2007/08’, LDA, page 29
5 Mayor’s 2009/10 Budget Guidance, Appendix B
6 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, June 2008, DCMS, page 3
7 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, June 2008, DCMS, page 20
8 ‘London Olympic and Paralympic Games – A sporting legacy for people with disabilities’, London Assembly, 2006
9 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, DCMS, page 20
10 GfK NOP research focusing on teenagers in 25 countries, August 2007. On interest in participating in sports, UK teenagers were ranked 13th out of 25, and on ambition they were 16th out of 25 (details)
12 ‘Before, during and after: making the most of the London 2012 Games’, June 2008, DCMS, page 23
13 ‘The London Investment Strategy for Community Sport 2007-2009..’, Sport England, 2007, page 13
14 ‘Mayor joins Tessa Sanderson to launch sports academy’, London Borough of Newham press release, 6 October 2006 (details)
15 ‘Boris in the dark on London Sport’, The Metro, 25 June 2008
16From 2009, local authorities will have access to £80 million of the fund to scrap over-60s' charges for swimming, and the other £60million for refurbishing and maintaining pools. Local authorities are also being encouraged to drop swimming charges for peopled aged 16 years old and under. See ‘Free swimming hailed as vision for the future …’, DCMS press release 050/08, 6 June 2008, (details)
17 ‘The betrayal of our talent and our future’, The Evening Standard 25 July 2008
18 ‘Public sports and recreation services – Making them fit for the future’, June 2006, Audit Commission
19 ‘A strategy to get London Swimming 2008 to 2012+’, London Swimming, page 8
20 ‘A strategy to get London Swimming 2008 to 2012+’, London Swimming, page 8
21 ‘Plea for new swimming pool’, Ilford Recorder, 25 July 2008 (details)
22 ‘A strategy to get London Swimming 2008 to 2012+’, London Swimming, page 32
23 ‘London 2012 Games: the next lap’, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, April 2008, pages 55-65
24 ‘Preparing for sporting success at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond’, Public Accounts Committee, July 2008, pages 1-2