All to Play For?

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to be writing this week from Cardiff, where over a 100 delegates have made their way to the LGA/cCLOA Culture, Tourism and Sport Conference.  There is a notably higher representation of Councillors than in previous years, which whilst is encouraging, reflects the current pressures facing cCLOA Members to ‘get out’ to these valuable networking events.  Conscious of this, we have set up an online forum for cCLOA Members that offers a convenient way to share ideas, exchange knowledge, and ask questions.  If you have not already signed up, I urge you to join here as the forum will better unable us to support each other in our work.

An early kick off on Day 1 saw Hugh Robertson MP,  accompanied by Queen at one stage (2012 inspired video rather than HRH!) layout the positive legacy achievement of 2012 to date.  In terms of legacy much has been achieved already from an economic perspective, which will see the 9.3 billion invested delivering some genuine long term benefits across the country. The future has been secured for 6 of the 8 iconic buildings and a series of international sporting fixtures planned to take place in these world class facilities, such as the World Athletics Championship in 2017.

At a more local level, a key success story has been the Inspired Facilities funding programme, which has seen voluntary and community groups, sports clubs, playing field associations, education establishments and local authorities each receive between £20-150K.  The good news is that 2013/14 will bring a further 2 funding rounds - so be sure that you make the most of this opportunity to bring a new lease of life to facilities in your community.

As part of the GREAT campaign, 20.12% will be building on the staycation market by offering fantastic discounts on accommodation and attractions across the country.  It will also act to encourage visitors to stay longer and explore our regions.  This offers the opportunity to showcase the distinctive and unique in our local areas, so be certain to develop plans with your destination management partnerships to make the most of this initiative.

However, we need to do more work to ensure the social benefits are fully realised and the Minister for Sport and the Olympics made a plea to get all schools signed up to Get Set.

Ultimately this social legacy is locally owned; whether the Games is used to grow sporting participation, inspire more community volunteering, instigate health improvement, it will very much be driven by local leadership.  So with the finishing line in sight – now is the time to reflect on whether we have put in place plans to derive the maximum benefits from the 2012 agenda over the coming years.  Of course an important aspect of this work will be evaluating the 2012 impact locally; I’m particularly interested in hearing how you are planning to use this as advocacy for the sector and would welcome your comments through the cCLOA Members Forum or you can take part in our Quick Poll.

One area the Minister didn’t mention today was the dabate around the sports participation measurement.  Yesterday’s Guardian comment referred to APS as ‘utterly daft measurement system’, that needs to be overhauled.  Probably always good to review methodology and efficiency of the system, but I’d urge caution in dismissing the  credibility of the current data – many of us base our forward plans on the Sport England tool and profile.  The gap in measurement maybe around the Under 14′s and we need to challenge this oversight in the evaluation system.

Best regards

Richard Hunt, Chair, Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association.

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