"An organisation suited to the needs of elite sport in a devolved Britain," is how Sue Campbell describes the UK Sport she would like to see at the conclusion of her 18-month term at the helm of the UK’s elite sport agency.
Campbell unveiled her plans to ensure UK Sport continues to be tuned to the needs of high-performance sport at last week’s meeting of the Sports Cabinet.
Her work will place special emphasis on ensuring that UK Sport’s decision-making processes reflect the interests of the UK’s constituent home nations, as well as looking at specific issues such as the future management of the UK’s drug testing programme.
"Having been in post for several weeks now, I have had the opportunity to look at the work of UK Sport and talk to its key partners – particularly the sports councils and institutes in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales," Campbell explains.
"Whilst I have been encouraged by much of what I have seen, as with any organisation, it is always good to take stock of our major areas of work and ensure that what we do is shaped by and remains relevant to our stakeholders. I have set out the programmes that I think could benefit from a review to ensure that they continue to meet that criteria."
Other areas that will fall under the microscope in the coming months include the need to put together an appropriate funding package for the next Olympic cycle leading up to the 2008 Games in Beijing, and the pilot of the 'one stop planning’ process to simplify sport’s relationships with the sports council family.
Campbell adds: "We are currently at important juncture for sport in the UK – less than 10 months away from the Athens Olympics, with the Paralympics to follow, and with some of the most significant developments in the fight to keep sport drug-free that we have witnessed for some time. What better time then to review our work and ensure that we continue to offer value for money and world class support to world class athletes.
"It is also critical that we can give sports an idea of the funding scenario they can expect for the post-Athens period now, so they can get their planning underway immediately, avoiding any delay post-Games.
"I have set these as targets for a concerted period of work in the next 18 months and much of what I intend to do is rightly ambitious. Despite the medal success achieved at world level across the board by our Olympic and Paralympic athletes this year, I expect the Athens Games to present perhaps our toughest performance challenge yet. It is a challenge I expect our top sportsmen and women to relish and I want those of us who support them in the world of sports administration to demonstrate a similar single-minded pursuit of excellence."
UK Sport’s role in the international sporting arena will also be evaluated in the light of London’s 2012 Olympic bid. Whilst the UK has long worked to deliver sports programmes to the world’s developing nations which can result in economic, health and social benefits, potential may exist to join forces with other countries in order increase their impact and build stronger relationships.