DD2002 London Parklife Pilot Programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2002
Date signed: 
25 May 2016
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

This decision requests approval to commit up to £1.5m from the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme (MSLP) capital budget to support the development of multi-sport hub sites and artificial grass pitches in in strategically identified locations across London as part of The Football Association’s national facilities development programme, Parklife. 

The programme will support Goals 1, 2 and 3 of ‘A Sporting Future for London’ and will contribute to the GLA’s commitment to deliver a grassroots programme associated with London’s hosting of the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships.
 

Decision

That the Executive Director approves the award of a grant agreement to the Football Foundation for £1.5 million as a contribution to the costs of developing new multi-sport hub sites and artificial grass pitches in strategically identified locations across London. 

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme

1.1     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). 

1.2     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). 

1.3     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).  

1.4     The London Parklife Pilot Programme that this paper advocates will have benefits covering all three of these categories, although the investment itself will focus on the ‘Facilities’ strand. 

1.5    As part of London’s bid to host the semi-finals and final of the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships, the GLA committed to work with The Football Association (The FA) to deliver a grassroots programme to capitalise on the event. The London Parklife Pilot Programme that this paper advocates will contribute towards delivering that commitment.

1.6    The approach to distributing this latest tranche of capital investment from the MSLP was considered at the 18 August 2015 IPB meeting and subsequently approved by the Mayor under cover of MD1543. The Mayor publicly announced this investment on 11 March 2016.

1.7    This £1.5m investment comprises £1.25m capital funding approved by MD1543, plus £0.25m from previous funding rounds of the Mayor’s Sports Facilities Fund (approved by MD385 and MD1119) where projects have not claimed the full grant amount that they originally bid for.

London Parklife Pilot Programme

1.8    Parklife is a £150m, five-year investment national programme being introduced nationally by The FA, Sport England and the Premier League (the Parklife funding partners) to address the findings of The FA Chairman’s independent commission 2014. Parklife has three key objectives:

•    Build significantly more artificial grass pitches (AGP); and
•    Reduce football’s reliance on local authority subsidies;
•    Build a sustainable model that makes this change happen.

1.9    The focus of the programme is to build sports hub sites (encompassing a variety of sports facilities) in strategically identified locations across England. Several hub sites will be built in each geographic region (geographic regions will, in most cases, be cities. For London, geographic regions are likely to be defined as partnerships of two or more London boroughs). Taken together, the hub sites in each geographic region will: 

•    Cater for the region’s entire demand for AGPs;
•    Create modern facilities for the training and qualification of sports coaches;
•    Be financially sustainable;
•    Use the revenue generated to invest in the region’s grass sports pitch stock, with the aim of eliminating the need for Local Authority subsidies of grass pitches and safeguarding them for future generations.

1.10    Each Parklife hub site will differ depending on local circumstances, but typically each will be floodlit with multiple AGPs, providing changing, classroom and catering facilities. There is also the potential for hub sites to incorporate gyms, sports-halls, and facilities catering specifically for sports other than football. There is a clear commitment from The FA, Sport England and the Premier League that hub sites in London be designed and built in collaboration with other sports; indeed, hub sites in geographic regions seeking investment from the GLA would be required to cater for multi-sport use.

1.11    The GLA has been working with the Parklife funding partners over the past 12 months with the intention of securing early Parklife investment into London. It has now been announced that London, along with four other English cities (Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton), has been identified as a pilot city for the programme. There is an expectation that local funding contributes 40% to the cost of developing hub sites with the remaining 60% funded by the Parklife funding partners. 

1.12    The £1.5m investment that this paper advocates will be invested into a number of pilot sites, aimed at building the programme’s momentum in London ahead of a city-wide rollout, which will be managed in several waves of investment. The funding will contribute towards the overall 40% local investment pot that is required to leverage Parklife funding in any geographic region. Investment into hub sites will be assessed on a case by basis, but it is not expected that GLA investment will comprise the majority of the local funding pot in any geographic region or individual hub site.

Grant Process, Decision-Making and Governance

1.13    The Football Foundation has been appointed by the Parklife funding partners as the programme managing agent, with responsibility for: administering an application process for London boroughs to apply through; assessing applications from boroughs for Parklife investment; and making grant funding recommendations to the Parklife funding partners. It is proposed that the GLA’s investment be included within this wider process and a grant funding agreement executed between the GLA and the Football Foundation. Aligning the GLA investment with the wider grant funding processes will result in zero administrative cost being required of the GLA. 

1.14    As the proposed funding stretches into the new Mayoralty, the funding agreement to be entered into will contain a break clause enabling the GLA to terminate the agreement by serving 30 days’ notice.

1.15    Decisions to contribute GLA funding to a specific hub site or geographic area will be taken on a case by case basis. The GLA Sports Team will work with the Football Foundation and the Parklife funding partners to identify applicant sites and geographic areas of strategic importance to the GLA that require additional local funding contributions. As part of the Football Foundation’s assessment of applications, they will make recommendations to the GLA for funding to be drawn down from the £1.5m investment pot to contribute towards individual hub sites or geographic areas. The Football Foundation’s recommendations will be assessed by the GLA Sports Team and either put forward to the Executive Director for Communities and Intelligence for approval, or rejected. Should the recommendation be approved, timeframes for drawing down funding for each site will be agreed and a purchase order created accordingly. It is anticipated that during this pilot phase that the GLA’s £1.5m will contribute towards the construction of up to four hub sites across a minimum of two geographic areas. 

1.16    A single, independent charitable trust with a relevant trading arm will be established to govern the London Parklife programme. The trust will own the hub sites through long-term leases and will be responsible for contracting out the management and operation of the sites to third- party operators. The charitable trust will be governed by a board of trustees comprising representatives from The FA (representing the Parklife funding partners), and local partners including the County FA, professional clubs’ community foundations, along with external trustees to provide independence, relevance and diversity to the board. Potential GLA membership of the Board of Trustees will be considered in due course. Investment into the London Parklife Pilot Programme will occur prior to the establishment of the charitable trust and interim working arrangements will be agreed between the GLA, the Football Foundation and the Parklife funding partners before any funding is released. The creation and inception of the trust and its board will be captured as a milestone within the funding agreement. Local subsidiary boards will be established to provide guidance within each geographic region and will be required to report to the board of trustees.
 

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

Strategic Objectives
2.1    ‘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, three of which are of relevance to the London Parklife Pilot Programme.

o    Goal 1 - Get more people active by tackling inactivity and inequality of access to sport and physical activity; and supporting local initiatives and innovative approaches to increasing participation.

o    Goal 2 – Transform the sporting infrastructure by building new and refurbishing or expanding existing sports facilities.

o    Goal 3 - Build capacity and skills by recruiting, retaining and up-skilling the workforce; and supporting local sports clubs and volunteering.

2.2    As part of London’s bid to host the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships, the GLA committed to work with The FA to deliver a grassroots programme to capitalise on the event. That commitment will be delivered through the London Parklife Programme. 

Objectives of the National Parklife Programme
2.3    Nationally, Parklife’s three key objectives are to:

•    Reduce football’s reliance on local authority subsidies;
•    Build significantly more artificial grass pitches (AGP); and
•    Build a sustainable model that makes this change happen.

Expected Outcomes

2.4    The national programme’s aim is, by 2020, to achieve:

•    A 130% increase in the number of top quality AGPs in England’s 30 biggest cities (an increase from 218 to 501);
•    A 50% increase in the total number of AGPs in England over four years bringing the total to over 1,000 pitches (from 639 today);
•    Up to 150 new hubs sites to support the delivery of FA, County FA and professional club youth development and coach education programmes; and
•    Over 50% of all mini-soccer and youth football matches being played on the best quality AGPs in Parklife cities and towns.

2.5    Current evidence (from Sport England) suggests that Greater London has a significant shortage of AGPs, with approximately 40% of the national unmet demand for AGP provision being within Greater London. Furthermore, initial supply and demand modelling for London suggests there is a minimum requirement of 75 new full-size 3G pitches to meet current football playing demand.  This equates to approximately £130m of required investment. The GLA will be working with the Parklife funding partners to maximise investment through the programme into London with the ambition of meeting this unmet demand.
 

Equality comments

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

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

3.3    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).
 

Other considerations

Key Risks

Risk

Description

Likelihood / Impact

Response

Risk 1

Investment in grassroots sport from other public agencies may decline as budget cuts take effect. Potential result: the Mayor’s investment does not yield notable increases in participation but instead is only able to preserve the status quo or plug the gaps left behind by the withdrawal of funding from other sources.

Medium / High

Accept. However all organisations funded through the MSLP are required to provide at least 50% match-funding and demonstrate: (i) that they have clear expansion plans, (ii) that they have funding to support the continuation of existing activity, and (iii) that GLA funds and associated match funding is to be invested solely to support the expansion and growth of their initiative.

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 Sports Legacy Programme 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 2014 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, 2, 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 commit up to £1.5m from the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme (MSLP) capital budget to support the development of multi-sport hub sites and artificial grass pitches in in strategically identified locations across London as part of The Football Association’s national facilities development programme, Parklife.

5.2    Parklife is a £150m, five-year investment programme being introduced nationally by The FA, Sport England and the Premier League (the Parklife funding partners). A single, independent charitable trust with a relevant trading arm will be established to govern the London Parklife programme.

5.3    The £1.5m investment will be funded from £1.25m capital funding approved by MD1543, plus £0.25m from previous funding rounds of the Mayor’s Sports Facilities Fund (approved by MD385 and MD1119) where projects have not claimed the full grant amount that they originally bid for.

5.4    As the proposed funding stretches into the new Mayoralty, the funding agreement to be entered into will contain a break clause enabling the GLA to terminate the agreement by serving 30 days’ notice

5.5    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to the Authority’s decision-making process.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Complete funding agreement with Football Foundation

May 2016

London-wide application process opens

May 2016

Initial Pathfinder project confirmed

July 2016

London-wide application process concludes and projects included in first wave of investment confirmed.

October 2016

Project monitoring meetings

Ongoing

London Parklife Charitable Trust Established

December 2017

Construction of Pathfinder project complete

March 2018