UK Sport has welcomed today’s publication of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)-Strategy Unit report, which looks at delivering the Government’s sport and physical activity objectives.
"The report shows that we are certainly all pulling in the same direction," said Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of UK Sport. "We have already set ourselves the target of becoming one of the world’s top five sporting nations by 2012 - the report does the same.
"The report also asks us to invest in sports that matter – again, recent research we have undertaken shows that where we have a remit to do so, we are matching the public’s desire for success with our investment priorities."
The report suggests that the funding of key sports should be simplified, as the UK’s devolved administrative structure means that sports often have to approach several funding agencies to underwrite their athlete development programmes. Whilst there are no definitive solutions proposed within the report, the call was welcomed by Sir Rodney.
"Ever since the creation of UK Sport – and more recently with the publication of the Cunningham Review of elite sport – we have not been alone in calling for a 'one-stop plan’ approach to the funding of our developing and best sportsmen and women," he said. "We are pleased to see this approach endorsed within the Strategy Unit’s report and look forward to working with the DCMS to explore ways in which we can make it a reality as soon as possible."
The report also touches on the role that the UK Sports Institute’s Central Services Team – part of UK Sport - plays in the support of elite sport. The report calls for a review of this area of operation.
"We regularly review all areas of operation and have recently commenced a review of the UKSI Central Services Team, meeting with almost 100 key stakeholders ranging from Home Country Institute personnel to partner organisations, Performance Directors, athletes and coaches," Sir Rodney explained.
"The feedback reveals that the work of the UKSI Central Services Team is highly valued and also identifies areas where improvements should be made. As part of a pre-planned process, we are already acting on these findings and in doing so will pay particular attention to the need not to disrupt the operations of sports preparing for the 2004 Olympics."
Major events also fell under the report’s spotlight and was another area where Sir Rodney felt UK Sport should continue to play a key role.
"The long-term strategy for sporting events across the UK is already being created by UK Sport and has the support of the Government as acknowledged in the report. We believe we should continue to take the lead in helping bid for and stage such events as has proved successful over the past four years. However, we agree that on mega-events such as the Olympic Games Government must take the lead using the considerable expertise and experience we and other partners have to offer." Sir Rodney also emphasised that the importance of UK Sport’s complementary programme of support for British post-holders on international sports bodies should not be overlooked as a key tool in helping to secure major events in the future.
The Chairman concluded by saying that UK Sport is fully committed to approaching the report’s findings with an open mind and would look forward to working with Alec McGivan – the DCMS’s newly appointed Director of Sport - to look at how its recommendations could be taken forward.