MD2244 Community Sport Investment Programme - ‘Sport Unites’

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2244
Date signed: 
02 March 2018
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

This paper seeks approval for the Mayor’s new community sport programme - Sport Unites. Sport Unites will use sport to enhance social integration across London and improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Londoners, focussing on those who are inactive.

Sport Unites will invest £5.8m across three themes: ‘Sport for Social Integration’, ‘Active Londoners’ and ‘Workforce and Capacity Building’. The programme will be delivered over three years and commence in spring 2018.

Decision

That the Mayor:

1) approves expenditure of up to £5.8 million on the Sport Unites programme, including grants of up to:

a) £1.5m to Comic Relief as contribution to its costs of its Major Grants Fund; and
b) £0.5m to Laureus Sport for Good Foundation as contribution to its costs of delivering three placed-based pilot projects.

2) delegates authority to the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence to approve the detailed expenditure proposals and delivery approach of individual themes 2 and 3 of the Sport Unites programme (via a director decision form), within the budget approved by this MD.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Sport Unites is a new, ground-breaking programme which has been developed to enable sport and physical activity initiatives to contribute to the long-term vision of making London the most active and socially integrated city in the world. The programme will see up to £5.8m of GLA funding invested into community sport in London from April 2018 – March 2021 across the three themes: (i) Sport for Social Integration, (ii) Active Londoners, and (iii) Workforce and Capacity Building (which will provide support for the paid and volunteer community sport workforce in London, the development of cutting edge technology and robust monitoring and evaluation).

In this document ‘sport’ refers to activities involving physical exertion including both organised games that may include an element of competition, and any form of physical activity that people undertake for entertainment, enjoyment, or relaxation or active travel such as dance, running, walking, or chair aerobics.

Programme Principles

The development of Sport Unites has been informed by:

• Learning from the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme which ran from 2009 to 2018.

• Research that was commissioned by the GLA Sports Team in 2017 to explore the leading academic theories and frameworks that underpin sport for social integration initiatives across the world; and analysis projects and investment programmes within the UK and internationally that use sport to achieve social integration outcomes.

• Ongoing consultation with GLA policy teams and the community sport sector in London.

Through the development process a set of key principles were identified that lay the foundation for this programme, guide what is included within it, and how it will be delivered – these are set out below:

- Top-down and bottom-up
The programme will include a blend of investment streams incorporating the traditional ‘top-down’ funding rounds that characterised how funding was successfully distributed via the three phases of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme, as well as ‘bottom-up’ approaches that will allow our investment decisions and priorities to be shaped and influenced by local people and communities.

- Small grants and larger longer-term investment
To be successful, the programme will rely on a wide range of people, groups, and organisations, often working in partnership. These will vary in size, type, and maturity – including: individual coaches, youth practitioners, or community development workers; traditional sports clubs; community organisations; specialist deliverers; fledgling organisations as well as those that are well established and have a long-standing track record.

- Diverse portfolio of funded organisations and incentives for collaboration
We will fund and support a wide range of organisations, including, but not limited to, those that have typically or traditionally been the ‘custodians’ of community sport – such as National Governing Bodies (NGBs), traditional sports clubs, or sports charities. We will also invest in community organisations that have well established relationships with and the trust of various demographics of Londoners.

- Diverse ‘risk profile’
Our programme will invest in both tried and tested approaches, organisations and modes of delivery, as well as initiatives that are innovative and experimental. For the latter category, we will embrace an entrepreneurial approach, which in this context means: ‘investing to learn’. Specifically, a key outcome will be understanding what works, what doesn’t, and crucially, why.

- Sufficient investment in monitoring and evaluation
We will evolve and enhance our approach to monitoring and evaluation by investing more into it than we have done in the past and factoring it into our planning from the beginning. This will include undertaking formative as well as summative evaluation on projects that will run for longer periods.

Programme Themes

Theme 1 - Sport for Social Integration

Community sport has a role to play in realising the three facets of the Mayor’s vision for a socially integrated city, Equality, Participation and Relationships. Our investment will support initiatives such as those that use sport to bring Londoners from more than one community or faith group together and/or cater specifically for Londoners who are isolated or lonely. This will contribute to improved social integration, reduced prejudice between communities, and isolated Londoners feeling better connected and supported. Funded themes within Sport for Social Integration will include:

- It is proposed that the GLA provide grant funding as a contribution to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation’s costs of undertaking three “place-based” pilot projects as part of its ‘Model City’ approach. The Laureus projects will work intensively with communities in a defined geographical area using community organising and asset based community development (ABCD) techniques to identify and address issues (using sport) that communities themselves recognise as being of concern in their local area. This pioneering approach has been used to create positive change through sport in the cities of New Orleans and Atlanta. Laureus have committed £250,000 of funding across 2 years and £40,000 of value in kind. A budget of £0.5m of GLA funding has been included within the Sport Unites budget to support this programme.

- Initiatives that create new partnerships between traditional sports providers such as clubs or specialist sports charities and multiple community organisations such as faith groups, disability groups or groups that provide services and support to particular communities.

- Initiatives that target and are tailored to socially isolated people in London, designed to address the very specific barriers faced by these individuals regarding taking part in sport and having an active social life.

- Initiatives that combine sport with other activity. For example, some people’s social life revolves around music, for other people food, cultural activity, or activism might be a primary driver. Combining sport with other activities that people enjoy and already take part in, will provide a catalyst for people with different interests to come together when they might not have done so otherwise.

- Support for talented young Londoners, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, providing opportunities for them to train and compete in appropriate settings to realise their potential. Equality is a key aspect of the GLA’s framework for social integration.

- Initiatives that support relevant Mayoral campaigns and initiatives, such as the Mayor’s 2018 gender equality campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity and the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund.

- Sport for Social Integration initiatives will be funded through a major and micro grants programme as well as by working with key delivery partners to develop pilot initiatives. Comic Relief’s major grants programme has been identified as aligning clearly with the GLA’s objectives in this regard and it is proposed therefore, that the GLA provide grant funding of up to £1.5m as contribution to Comic Relief’s costs of its ‘London Together’ fund, Comic Relief itself providing £1.5m. Comic Relief is in a unique position as the UK’s leading funder of ‘Sport for Change’ initiatives, they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge (from across the UK and internationally) gained from funding hundreds of initiatives that yield the kind of positive outcomes the Mayor’s Sport Unites programme is seeking to achieve. Comic Relief’s current ‘Sport for Change’ strategy is focussed on, but not limited to, the following key areas:
Use of sport / physical activity to:

• increase community cohesion;
• address issues affecting women and girls;
• engage young people and steer them on a positive path away from conflict, violence and gangs;
• promote education and employability skills for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET);
• reduce stigma and discrimination, change attitudes and promote equality;
• support isolated older people and those living with dementia;
• increase opportunities for people with disabilities.

Theme 2 - Active Londoners

Our investment will provide more opportunities for Londoners to take part in sport and physical activity in their local area and fund initiatives that cater specifically for inactive Londoners. This will result in improved physical and mental health and improved wellbeing and quality of life of participants, as well as helping to reduce health inequalities across London. Funded themes within Active Londoners will include:

- Initiatives that provide affordable, local participation opportunities for Londoners in places where demand outstrips supply. Sport Unites will focus on convenience, affordability, and proximity as these are key factors that determine whether or not people exercise regularly.

- Initiatives that specifically target groups of Londoners who aren’t sufficiently active, for example, those with disabilities. Inactivity is more common among people with a disability (43%) than those without (21%). To maximise returns in terms of health benefits, Sport Unites will fund projects that target a majority (51%+) of previously inactive participants and specifically address the barriers they face to being active.

- Initiatives that cater for and support Londoners with mental health difficulties. For the first time, we will designate a portion of our funding to invest in initiatives that use sport to help people deal with, overcome or have a greater understanding of mental health difficulties such as: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, issues caused by addiction or substance abuse and wider mental health issues including PTSD.

Theme 3 - Workforce and Capacity Building

To maximise both engagement with Londoners and the sustainability of outcomes delivered via the initiatives funded through Sport Unites, we will also invest in workstreams of ‘enabling’ activity to provide additional support for the initiatives funded under Themes 1 and 2. Funded themes within Workforce and Capacity Building will include:

- Workforce; we will provide direct support and training for people who deliver sport on the frontline and those who work, in other ways, with the people and communities our programme will serve.

- Technology (or ‘Sport Tech’); we will support London Sport’s ground-breaking work to boost the development of ‘Sport Tech’ in London, which includes plans for a sport tech innovation fund and incubator hub and support for events that bring together entrepreneurs, founders of companies, subject matter experts, investors and tech specialists as well as diverse members of communities.

- Robust monitoring and evaluation; we will invest in both formative and summative evaluation as well as in building the capacity of all organisations we fund to improve their capability and confidence to collect data that provides evidence of their impact.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The high-level objectives of the Sport Unites programme are set out below:

- Use sport to encourage improved social integration across London.
- Improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Londoners by providing opportunities for them to be physically active, focussing in particular on those who are inactive.
- Develop and support the community sport workforce in London (both paid and volunteer).
- Invest in talented young Londoners, in particular those from low income backgrounds, to enable them to fulfil their sporting potential.
- Provide support and leadership to the sector around the use of sport to achieve social integration outcomes and galvanise those in leadership roles to get behind our mission.
- Support the development of technology that contributes to realising the Mayor’s vision for community sport in London.

Anticipated outputs:

- Detailed forecasts of the number of beneficiaries and specific social integration or health and wellbeing outcomes for each theme will be provided once the projects to receive funding have been commissioned. The section below provides the anticipated number projects that will be supported and estimates of how many Londoners are expected to benefit.

Theme 1 – Sport for Social Integration

- It is expected that between 20 – 35 grants will be made over three funding rounds via the ‘London Together’ fund (ranging from £20k to £150k in value), as well as up to 170 additional small grants up to the value of £2000 each. The placed-based pilots will take place in three geographical areas each with an estimated population up to 100,000 Londoners, in each location between 10 – 15 organisations will receive grants – these will vary in value depending on the needs identified by the local community. Each year approximately 75 talented young Londoners will receive grants of up to £1000 each to help them fulfil their sporting potential. The programme will also work with London’s professional football clubs to support and expand their contribution to communities and their role in promoting social integration.

Anticipated number of beneficiaries: up to 80,000

Theme 2 – Active Londoners

- It is expected that up to 15 grants (ranging from £20k to £150k in value) will be made over two funding rounds, as well as up to 170 additional small grants up to the value of £1600 each.
Anticipated number of beneficiaries: up to 30,000

Theme 3 – Workforce and Capacity Building

- It is expected that up to 2000 Londoners who are part of paid or volunteer workforce required to deliver grassroots sport and/or engage and bring together London’s diverse communities will receive training or other direct support from the programme. A Thought Leadership strategy and plan will be developed and rolled out, comprising at least one flagship event each year as well as smaller events focussed on specific subjects and themes – several hundred individual Londoners and organisations are expected to actively participate in and contribute to the Thought Leadership programme. The ‘SportTech’ workstream will support the development of up to 15 projects (such smart phone apps etc) taken together these could reach in excess of several hundred thousand Londoners, although it is not possible to provide precise estimates until the projects have been commissioned. As part of this theme a robust approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) will be designed and delivered by an independent third-party organisation that will be commissioned by the programme – part of their role will be to establish the M&E framework for the programme including defining the outcomes (qualitative and quantitative) that each theme will deliver, identifying appropriate metrics and proxies, and the methods for measuring success and impact.
Anticipated number of beneficiaries: at least 2,500 [not including potential ‘Sport Tech’ beneficiaries]

Total anticipated number beneficiaries across all programme themes: approximately 112,500

The Theory of Change diagram below provides a high-level illustration of the key outcomes the programme will deliver.

Equality comments

Equal opportunities are enshrined with the Sport Unites programme. The Sport Unites programme will provide all Londoners with opportunities to access sport and physical activities which will contribute to improved social integration, reduce prejudice between communities and enable isolated Londoners to feel better connected.

The Sport Unites programme is open to all, regardless of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.

The GLA Sports Team has consulted stakeholders and partners to ensure that as many Londoners as possible, including those with protected characteristics, have been considered in the planning of the Sport Unites programme and that they will have the chance to be involved in some way, be that through participating, training, project delivery or volunteering.

The GLA commissioned a report assessing the impact of the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships. The report has been analysed against this project’s requirements and a relevant lesson learned is the engagement of non-sporting organisations which has been implemented into this programme. This helps to encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in such activities in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low.

Sport Unites embraces London’s diversity by connecting Londoners from a variety of demographic and geographic backgrounds in support of common causes and activities. This will include place-based pilot projects that will work intensively with communities in a defined geographical area using community organising and asset based community development (ABCD) techniques to identify and address issues (using sport) that communities themselves recognise as being of concern in their local area.

Sport Unites will advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a protected characteristic. For example, we have designated a portion of our funding to invest in initiatives that support Londoners with mental health difficulties by using sport to help people deal with, overcome or have a greater understanding of mental health difficulties such as: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or substance abuse.

Sport Unites will encourage those with more difficult financial / employment situations as well as groups that have high levels of inactivity such as disabled people, older people and women to be more active by providing affordable, local participation opportunities.

The Sport Unites grant application processes has been developed to include a statement about the organisation’s approach to equality and/or the submission of the organisation’s equality policies. Recipients of funding for the Sport for Social Integration projects will be required to outline how projects will provide community benefit. This includes information on the intended beneficiaries (including relevant details such as ages, geographic area of residence, ethnicity). They will be required to advertise their volunteering opportunities via Team London where appropriate.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

 

 

Risk

Likelihood / Impact

Response

1

Risk that lack of understanding about what 'social integration' is causes confusion and/or alienates frontline organisations.

Medium / Medium

 

Work with key partners such as London Sport and ThinkBeyond to develop a Thought Leadership strategy and action plan to communicate ideas to the sector, allow us to listen to their views, concerns and ideas. Work collaboratively to share lessons and best practice in a proactive way.

2

Place based Investment may be mis-targeted, i.e. not be invested in the right geographical location, potential reputational damage, and ultimately reduced overall impact.

Low / High

The GLA will ensure all funding decisions are informed by and influenced by research, intelligence and insight. The Sport Team are working with the Intelligence Unit to develop a robust data set to support the identification of optimal locations for our place based investments.

3

Insufficient organisations submit bids of high enough quality to the ‘London Together’ Fund so we are unable to achieve our outcomes, and resulting in reputation damage.

Low / Medium

Communications will be co-ordinated with Comic Relief, London Sport and other GLA teams to help publicise the fund and identify potential applicants. Combining the launch of the fund with the high-profile Sport Relief campaign will enable greater publicity and reach than previous GLA Sport grant programmes.

4

The programme under /overspends.

Low / High

Whilst budget profiling is challenging due to the large number of projects in the programme, all grants will be paid in accordance with GLA protocols, that is, make use of the purchase order system and make payments in arrears. Furthermore, projects are regularly scrutinised and monitored to minimise the likelihood of under/overspend.

5

Delivery partner encounters financial difficulty and is unable to provide all outputs as per funding agreements, causing delay as another partner is found or even abandonment of project, leading to reputational damage.

Low / High

Due Diligence of all delivery partners are assessed by GLA Finance before grant award. We have already completed due diligence on Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which will be the first two delivery partners in the Sport Unites programme.

 

4.2       Link to Mayoral strategies and priorities

 

The Sport Unites programme will contribute towards:

  • Improving social integration, particularly relating to the quality of relationships and active participation of Londoners in their communities.
  • Providing Londoners with opportunities to participate, improve health and reduce inequalities by taking part in sport and physical activity
  • Reducing childhood obesity and the gap between the boroughs with highest and lowest rates of childhood obesity by providing young Londoners with opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity.
  • Ensuring that all Londoners share in a city with the best mental health in the world, supporting the Thrive LDN initiative.
  • Encouraging more Londoners to get involved in volunteering for, and connecting with, others in their community
  • A Safer City for All Londoners by keeping children and young people safe with opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity

 

This decision also supports two of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments:

  • Work with London’s football and other major sports clubs to support and expand their vast capacity for making a positive impact in the community, especially with young people.
  • Rebuild our Olympic Legacy, turning around the failure of the last four years, promoting and supporting sport for more people of all ages.

 

4.3       Impact assessments and consultations

 

The development of the Sport Unites programme has been informed by what we have learned from:

 

4.3.1    The Mayor’s Sport Legacy Programme (MSLP) which ran from 2009 to 2018. This was a key part of London’s commitment to create a sporting legacy for the city from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The primary aims were to secure a sustained increase in participation in sport and reduce inactivity across London. The programme saw £25m of GLA funding invested across three funding streams: The Participation Fund, The Skills and Capacity Building Fund and the Facilities Fund. The most recent independent evaluation of the MSLP completed by Ecorys in 2016 found that:

 

  • The MSLP had made an important contribution to London’s position in 2016 as the most physically active region in England, from being the second-worst region in 2009;
  • Funding from City Hall was crucial in enabling facilities and participation projects to go ahead – i.e. without GLA investment many of these initiatives wouldn’t have taken place at all;
  • The programme played a key role in providing opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise have been available for people to participate regularly, particularly in the specific sports that were the focus of facility developments funded by the programme;
  • Funded projects had a strong influence on levels of regular sports participation amongst those who took part (as measured by changes in levels of participation in physical activity after considering the availability of alternative options and displacements from other facilities);
  • The programme contributed to positive social outcomes. For example, investment in facilities helped to create a stronger sense of community pride and cohesion in local areas and both facilities and participation projects helped to improve the life satisfaction and self-confidence of those who participated regularly and/or used the facilities funded by the programme;
  • The ‘FreeSport’ small grants scheme helped hundreds of small organisations extend the scope of their activity and was often a stepping stone for organisations to access other funding by giving them the confidence and credibility to apply for it;
  • The programme contributed to and influenced wider national strategic priorities for community sport. Specifically, it was influential in changing central Government’s focus to an approach that targeted inactive people rather than just simply focusing on levels of participation.

 

4.3.2    An extensive piece of research carried out by ThinkBeyond was commissioned by the GLA Sports Team in 2017 to explore the leading academic theories and frameworks that underpin sport for social integration initiatives across the world; and analyse projects and investment programmes within the UK and internationally that use sport to achieve social integration outcomes.

 

4.3.3    Ongoing consultation with GLA policy teams and the community sport sector in London. This has included workshops, an advisory group meeting and bilateral meetings with a range of individuals and organisations. Discussions with stakeholders have focussed on the area of work that is new to the GLA and the sport sector in London – our ambition to use sport as a tool to achieve social integration outcomes. To date, input from stakeholders falls under seven broad themes, these are:

 

  • the opportunities and challenges inherent in ambitions for community sport in London;
  • collaboration;
  • the language we use and how we communicate, in particular about social integration;
  • the need to take account of intersectionality;
  • the importance of getting buy-in from sector and community leadership;
  • the importance of long-term commitment given the complexity of what we are working towards;
  • the need to support funded organisations in a more hands on way than we have done in the past.

 

4.3.4    We will continue to work with GLA teams and key stakeholders to ensure a joined-up approach as initiatives within the Sport Unites programme are further developed and implemented,

 

4.3.5    Sport Unites will signal a shift away from focusing primarily on funding participation-centric initiatives, towards using sport to deliver social outcomes. Therefore, we will need to evolve and enhance our approach to monitoring and evaluation by investing more into it and factoring it into our planning from the beginning. This will include undertaking formative as well as summative evaluation on projects that will run for an extended period. Formative evaluation takes place during a project’s implementation with the aim of improving the project’s design and performance – it requires more than monitoring performance, but also analysing and understanding what is happening and why – so that lessons can be learned and improvements made within the lifetime of a project. Summative evaluation takes places after the project’s activities have been completed.

Financial comments

Mayoral approval is sought for expenditure of up to £5.8m on the Sport Unites programme, which is designed to use sport to encourage improved social integration across London and improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Londoners, focusing in particular on those who are inactive. This includes the approval of budget provision for 2.5 FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents) on two-year fixed term contracts.

Costs and budget are expected to be profiled and spent as shown in the table below and will be funded from the Sport Unite budget within the Communities and Intelligence Directorate.

Administering of fund and governance arrangements

• A significant proportion of funds will be administered via grant funding, with a smaller proportion retained by the GLA for the procurement of related goods and services, such as Monitoring & Evaluation, Thought Leadership activities, additional resource costs and programme management costs.
• The individual grant schemes and procurement of services relating to the programme will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process, namely via Director’s approval. It should be noted that approval is being sought to delegate authority to the Executive Director – Communities & Intelligence to approve further recommendations relating to the ongoing development, implementation and the delivery of programmes associated with this initiative.
• The Sports Unit within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing this programme and ensuring all expenditure and monitoring of the proposed programme adheres to the Authorities Funding Regulations, Contracts and Funding Code, Expenses & Benefits Framework and Funding Agreement Toolkit (wherever applicable).

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Announcement – programme Launch

March 2018

Delivery start date for initial projects

Q1 2018/19

Programme team recruited (2.5 new roles)

Q2 2018/19

Independent M&E provider procured

Q3 2018/19

Interim impact report

Q4 2019/20

Delivery end date for projects

Various, depending on project

Programme closure: final evaluation

Q4 2021/22


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