The London Olympics and Paralympics offer the opportunity to transform the UK as a sporting nation. With unheralded levels of investment into the high-performance system, a new way of measuring progress and of eliminating potential obstacles to delivering success is critical.
UK Sport has developed Mission 2012 – a project designed to keep eyes firmly focused on every element of the performance system, help sports to identify the issues and challenges they face in hitting their respective performance ambitions and find ways of dealing with them quickly and effectively.
Mission 2012 also represents a cultural move away from the traditional relationship between funding body and sport. It encourages sports to conduct their own assessments of how their system is performing and to bring additional expertise to bear in finding creative solutions to problems. Both good practice and potential problems will be captured three times a year and tracked ahead of the 2012 Games.
Already, Mission 2012 has encouraged greater honesty and focus within the system and improved the ability, not only to identify critical issues, but also possible solutions before they have a significant negative impact. At the same time, it has also instigated a higher level of accountability for the significantly increased level of investment in our high-performance system.
Mission 2012, requires sports to think about their performance plans in three dimensions based around:
- Athletes – their performance, development, health and well-being
- System – the places, structures, processes, people and expertise that deliver the programme
- Climate – the feel, functionality and culture experienced by athletes and staff
Sport’s progress in each of the three performance ‘dimensions’ are captured using a traffic light approach borrowed from the business world – where green demonstrates strong performance and high confidence in future outcomes, amber indicates issues that have been identified but not yet resolved and red highlights serious obstacles to progress that have no identified solution and where help is needed.
UK Sport monitors the progress of all Olympic and Paralympic sports on individual specially constructed ‘tracker boards’ at its Bernard Street offices. Monitoring takes the form of a traffic light for each performance dimension, coupled with an overall setting for the sport’s programme as a whole.
Mission 2012 is not about administration – it exists to produce a very real performance impact. The outputs it requires reflect that world beating performances are unlikely to happen if support systems are not in tune with the needs of the coach and athlete.
Sports’ assessments are reviewed three times a year by a Mission 2012 Panel, which add significant performance knowledge. From 2011, the scope of the 'Mission' process has been extended to include the Winter Games (Sochi 2014) and early thinking around the next summer Olympic cycle ahead of Rio 2016. Therefore, in February 2011 the Panel’s structure was reconfigured to a single body (Olympic and Paralympic combined) with specific expertise drawn from the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic movement. The Panel members are:
- Liz Nicholl OBE, Chief Executive, UK Sport
- Peter Keen OBE, Director of Performance, UK Sport
- Rod Carr CBE, Board Member, UK Sport
- Penny Briscoe, Performance Director, British Paralympic Association
- John Derbyshire OBE, Performance Director and Racing Manager, RYA
- Vicki Hansford, Paralympic Adaptive Rowing Medallist (Beijing)
- Georgina Harland, Olympic Modern Pentathlon Medallist (Athens)
- Craig Hunter, Chef de Mission, Paralympics GB
- Derek Mapp, Chair, British Amateur Boxing Association
- Simon Timson, Head of England Development Programme, England & Wales Cricket Board and former Performance Director, British Skeleton Association