DD1447 The Panathlon Challenge 2016

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
10 February 2016
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

This decision requests approval to commit funds from the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme (MSLP) to support the delivery of a sports participation programme (the Panathlon Challenge) that concentrates on delivering opportunities for severely disabled young people across London.



That the Executive Director approves expenditure of up to £54,500 in grant funding to the Panathlon Foundation Ltd as a contribution to its costs of delivering the Panathlon Challenge sports participation programme.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1 - Background

As part of the UK’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK made a commitment to establish a sporting legacy. In order to deliver that commitment in London, the Mayor published ‘A Sporting Future for London’ in 2009 and made £15.5m available (Phase 1) to fund the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme (MSLP), focussing investment on infrastructure development, skills and capacity building, and initiatives designed to increase participation in grassroots sports (MD385). 

Following the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, an additional £7m (Phase 2) was made available for the programme to invest from 2013, and a further £2.25m (Phase 3) from 2015, to ensure gains made in previous phases were sustained (MD1119 and MD1543). 

Investment in the MSLP is focussed on three main categories:

•    ‘Facilities’ – capital funding to support investment in community sports facilities;
•    ‘Skills and Capacity Building’ – revenue funding to build capacity in the sport and active leisure sector, including training for volunteers;
•    ‘Participation’ – revenue funding to support the expansion and growth of projects that provide opportunities for Londoners to take part in sport and stay active (including the ‘FreeSport’ small grants programme, and the ‘Make a Splash’ mobile pools initiative).  

1.2 – The Panathlon Foundation

The Panathlon Foundation is a registered children’s charity that has been delivering sporting opportunities for disabled young Londoners for 16 years. 

The main focus of the charity’s work, the Panathlon Challenge, delivers structured sports coaching and competition opportunities across all 32 London Boroughs throughout the academic year. Secondary school pupils receive training opportunities in a variety of sports that are tailored to their needs and abilities. Borough level intra-school competitions follow, with the winning school going on to represent their borough at regional level competitions. The winners of the regional competitions then compete at the annual Panathlon Final event, held at the CopperBox Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

During Phase 1 of the MSLP, Panathlon were granted £172,000 to expand their model to all 32 London Boroughs. They achieved that objective and successfully delivered against the project’s wider targets:

Key Indicator



London Boroughs Hosting Activities



Unique Participants



Volunteer Training Days Provided



NGB Courses Delivered



Competitions Held




Panathlon were granted a further £25,000 from the MSLP to deliver a pilot primary school programme in 2014/15. The project was a success and Panathlon delivered sporting opportunities to 1,672 unique participants, exceeding their target of 1,080.

1.3 – Proposed Expansion

The Panathlon Foundation has approached the GLA in request of funding to contribute to the rollout of its primary school model to a minimum of 75 new schools across London over three financial years.

It is proposed that the GLA funds the majority of activity in year one of the programme with financial support tapering off in Years two and three. This is done on the basis that support will be sought from other organisations in years two and three to make the rollout of the primary programme more sustainable and not reliant on GLA funding moving forwards.

The total cost of the proposed activity is £97,350, with the GLA contributing £54,500 towards this. Funding will be directed from the Phase 2 MSLP budget, authorised by MD1119.

GLA expenditure will be profiled as follows:

2015/16 – £22,500
2016/17 – £17,500
2017/18 – £14,500 

As the proposed funding stretches into the new Mayoralty, the funding agreement to be entered into will contain an appropriate break clause.


Objectives and expected outcomes

Strategic Objectives

‘A Sporting Future for London’ set out to deliver a grassroots sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by: (i) securing a sustained increase in participation in sport and physical activity amongst Londoners, (ii) using sport to assist in tackling social problems including ill health, crime, academic underachievement and lack of community cohesion. The strategy was underpinned by four goals, two of which are of particular relevance to the Panathlon Challenge:

Goal 1 - Get more people active by tackling inactivity and inequality of access to sport and physical activity; and by offering increased opportunities for disabled Londoners to participate in sporting activities.

Goal 3 - Build capacity and skills by recruiting, retaining and up-skilling volunteers to deliver the project.

Expected Outcomes

This project will enable new participants to be engaged in sport and physical activity, in addition to the existing core work of the Panathlon Challenge secondary school programme.

There will be a minimum of 3,000 unique participants engaged in the programme, who will take part in a combined total of more than 35,000 hours of sport and physical activity.


Equality comments

An equalities impact assessment has previously been undertaken on the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme.

Sport England research shows that rates of inactivity are significantly higher amongst women, older people, disabled people, and groups of BAME people. 

According to the most recent Sport England Active People survey (APS 8 published in January 2015), levels of participation in sport and physical activity are variable across different socio-demographic groups in London. Across all 33 London Boroughs, average figures indicate that 43% of men participate in sport at least once a week compared to 32% of women. 37% of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) people participate weekly compared to 39% of people of white origin. 19% of disabled people participate weekly compared to 40% of non-disabled people. 17% of people over the age of 65 participate weekly compared to 52% of those between the age of 16 and 25. 41% of people from socio-economic groups 1 to 4 participate weekly compared to 25% from those from socio-economic groups 5-8 (based on the National Statistics Socio-economic classification system).

The Panathlon Challenge delivers sporting activities to severely disabled young Londoners who otherwise would not have the opportunity to engage in sporting opportunities. 


Other considerations

Key Risks



Likelihood / Impact


Risk 1

Project may not raise participation in sport and physical activity

Low / High

The 2011/12 and 2014/15 Programme’s Final Project Report highlights the success of the project when previously funded by the Mayor and the programme is deemed worth extending.

3,444 individuals participated in the 2011/12 programme and 1,672 in 2014/15, exceeding the target set at the outset of the programme.

Quarterly monitoring meetings with project managers

Grant instalments only payable upon evidence of milestone completion

Risk 2

Funding is not used for the purpose it is intended (i.e. fraud). Potential result: reputational damage, failure to hit pre-agreed objectives.

Low / High

Across the breadth of projects commissioned to date there have been no known instances of fraud or misuse of the Mayor’s funding.

All projects are subject to performance monitoring and have to provide evidence of delivery and spend before payments can be processed. The internal audit review carried out in Autumn 2011 issued the programme with a ‘Substantial Assurance’ rating.

Risk 3

Project delivery delays. Potential result: benefits realisation and expenditure time lags.

Medium / Low

Accept but monitor closely. Allow slippage tolerance thresholds and ensure timely delivery is a condition of funding agreements. Ensure close monitoring of project progress through quarterly review meetings.


Links to Mayoral Strategies & Priorities

The subject matter of the approval sought will:
•    support delivery of Goals 1 and 3 set out in ‘A Sporting Future for London’, published in April 2009; 
•    support the aims of ‘Inclusive and Active 2’ strategy for increasing participation in sport and physical activity amongst disabled people in London; 
•    assist in meeting the objectives of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy; 
•    promote social development;
•    assist the Mayor in delivering his commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Impact Assessments and Consultations

In writing ‘A Sporting Future for London’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with over 400 individuals from over 100 different groups and organisations including national governing bodies of sport, the Pro-Active Partnerships, senior representatives from local authorities and a wide variety of sports clubs and community organisations. 

The conclusions reached received broad support from all key stakeholders and reaction to the plan itself has been very positive.



Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought to award a grant of £54,500 to Panathlon Foundation Ltd as a contribution to its costs to deliver the Panathlon Challenge 2015 sports participation programme over three financial years from 2015/16 to 2017/18, as detailed in the body of the report. The revenue cost will be funded from the Phase 2 MSLP budget, authorised by MD1119.


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Complete funding agreement negotiations with the project

January 2016

Delivery start date

January 2016

Quarterly project monitoring meetings


Delivery end date

June 2018

Final project report submission and internal evaluation

June 2018


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