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House of Lords report calls for sport to be used more widely

House of Lords report calls for sport to be used more widely

Sport England welcomes the recently published House of Lords Committee report which states that sport is under exploited, calling for it to be used more widely in policy making.

The report comes on the back of the Lords EU Sub-Committee G inquiry into how the European Union can maximise the potential of sport in its own policy making and delivery.

Following the publication of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, a formal competence in the field of sport was granted to the EU. This report was designed to look at "how the competence could best be used to support grassroots sport, extending the benefits participation can bring to individuals, specific groups of individuals and communities."

Sport England fed directly into this inquiry, with Sport England's Chief Executive Jennie Price and Strategic Lead for Research Nick Rowe, both giving oral evidence to the Committee. Sport England outlined our position as leading experts in Europe when it comes to research. We also looked to provide insight as to why other countries have higher and lower participation levels, and how we might use that knowledge to inform our own work.

Sport England also facilitated a visit for the Committee to Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School to see grassroots sport in action.

Having taken evidence from a variety of witnesses, including a number of sporting bodies, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Members of the European Parliament, as well as individuals with volunteering and sporting backgrounds, the report made two key recommendations;

Sport should be integrated into wider funding streams. The report emphasises the extensive role that sport can play in society, through improving health, improving social exclusion and creating opportunities for disadvantaged groups.
Member States should be encouraged to improve their own performance.
The report outlined that the EU could assist Member States in this process through increasing data collection and research, specifically relating to evidence outlining the societal benefits of sport. It was also recommended that Member States should be encouraged to share best practice.

The committee also looked at the burden of regulation and legislation, proposing that individual States should look to reduce this bureaucracy where possible. The report recommended a review into existing legislation throughout the EU, to look at ways in which the burdens on grassroots sport can be addressed.

Committee Chair, Baroness Young of Hornsey said: "Sport should not be regarded as a peripheral policy area. We think there is much more value to be gained if sport is viewed as a powerful and effective tool in the delivery of objectives across the policy spectrum. The other benefit to mainstreaming sport is a result of the fact that sport is vulnerable to unintended consequences of legislation in other areas.

Sport England's Strategic Lead for Research and Evaluation Nick Rowe said: "This report makes a powerful argument for the EU to provide leadership and support to member States for building the evidence base in sport. It recognises the pervasive impact of sport on a wide range of social and economic agendas - and the benefits that would flow from greater co-ordination of the research effort. Our longstanding commitment to research at Sport England places us in a strong position from which we can both contribute and benefit from increased international collaboration".