UK Sport set to drive a more sustainable winning culture across high performance system in response to Independent Review

Published 14 June 2017

UK Sport

  • UK Sport accepts the findings and recommendations of the Independent Review
  • UK Sport accepts the need for greater oversight of World Class Programmes, with a particular focus on culture and duty of care
  • The emerging action plans from UK Sport and British Cycling present an invaluable opportunity for positive change to enable the entire high performance system to deliver more sustainable future success

Download Cycling Independent Review

Download Peter King report

Download Moore Stephens Financial Audit

Download UK Sport Action Plan

UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, has today responded to the findings and recommendations of the Independent Review into the Climate and Culture of the World Class Programme in British Cycling with a comprehensive action plan to address the lessons learned from this watershed moment for the British high performance system.

Currently in its 21st year, the UK high performance system has delivered unprecedented success since National Lottery funding for elite sport began in 1997, taking the Olympic team from 36th in the medal table at Atlanta 1996 to second in Rio last year, where the Paralympic team also achieved second place and has also gone from strength to strength over this time.

However, questions have quite rightly been asked over the past year, following reports of some poor standards of behaviour and culture in Olympic and Paralympic sport.

UK Sport acknowledges that the work of the Independent Review panel provides an invaluable opportunity to promote positive change in the British high performance system, which has become the envy of the world, following such rapid transformation.

UK Sport’s action plan sets out how UK Sport and the sports that benefit from its funding can and will learn the lessons that British Cycling has taken on board through this process, with the ambition to ensure the high performance system provides an environment for athletes and staff to perform at their very best to deliver sustained success and inspire the nation.

Some of UK Sport’s key actions include:

  • Conducting a root and branch review of culture across the high performance system
  • Strengthening UK Sport’s case management of World Class Programmes to ensure full and effective accountability
  • Ensuring Funding Agreements include the requirement to provide UK Sport with copies of any reviews conducted that relate to the World Class Programme
  • Establishing a Sport Integrity function at UK Sport to effectively advise on policies and procedures for handling and reviewing cultural or behavioural issues in World Class Programmes
  • Ensuring that funded sports establish appropriate channels for the voice of the athletes to be heard while working with the British Athletes Commission to provide a more effective, independent and respected organisation to support athletes
  • Setting as a condition of grant British Cycling’s full commitment and implementation of all the recommendations as set out in the Independent Review

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “We welcome the rigour and professionalism of the Independent Review panel’s work led so ably by Annamarie Phelps.

“There is no doubt that the recommendations and findings represent an invaluable opportunity for positive change to enable British Cycling and the entire high performance system to deliver more sustainable future success.

“While there are many sports and hundreds of people working across the high performance system that are models of good practice in their commitment to excellence in every respect, there are important lessons to be learnt for UK Sport and for every sport we work with.

“I accept that UK Sport should have been more alert to warning signs of cultural challenges developing in British Cycling. If we had, we would have focused on working with the sport to find the solution to tackle these issues. Our action plan commits to strengthening our case management to ensure greater oversight of World Class Programmes, with a particular focus on culture and duty of care.

“UK Sport’s vision is to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success. We are all privileged to be working in this industry and with that comes a responsibility to ensure that we, and those we work with, conduct ourselves in a manner that is inspirational.

“If we all do this, we will be even more successful, and we will ensure athletes, coaches, practitioners and leaders in our system experience personal and professional growth and development, as well as challenge and support in equal measure.”


The total cost of the Independent Review into the Climate and Culture of the World Class Programme in British Cycling will be up to (once all final costs are accounted for) £90k. The costs were covered by both UK Sport and British Cycling. 

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