Sport policy in the UK is undergoing its latest shift. The recent  announcement of Sport England’s new three-year strategy heralded a firm commitment to funding sport for sport’s sake. This contrasts with much of what has gone before. For the last decade or so, an emphasis on the instrumental value of sport – its presumed contribution to health, crime, employment and education, for example – has reflected a government agenda of developing communities through sport, rather than developing sport in the community.
In 2003, at CCPR’s annual conference, Richard Caborn, the then Minister for Sport, stated that the Government would ‘not accept simplistic assertions that sport is good as sufficient reason to back sport’. Contrast this with the speech made by James Purnell, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who initiated this latest policy shift in 2007: ‘Sport matters in itself…too often sport is justified on the basis of its spill-over benefits’. While this estatement of sport’s intrinsic benefits has been welcomed by many of the national governing bodies of sport, this does not imply that sport and recreation organisations are reluctant either to recognise their role, or to invest, in helping to achieve wider social and economic objectives. Indeed there are countless examples of organisations seeking to use sport and recreation as a means of positively influencing both individuals and communities. Furthermore, there is a rapidly increasing evidence base which supports the premise that sport and recreation can make contributions across a very wide range of government policy areas. Some of this evidence relates to specific, targeted sport-based programmes, while some refers to the wider benefits of general forms of sport engagement – participating in sport, volunteering in sport, or being a member of a sports club. Nor does this change in emphasis suggest that the Government has abandoned its belief in the wider benefits of sport and recreation. In fact, several current government policies and programmes are based on these convictions. To take just one example, the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (previously the PE, School Sport and Club Links strategy), was founded, in part, on sport’s capacity to improve health and physical fitness and pupil concentration, commitment and self-esteem, leading to higher attendance, better behaviour and attainment.
Nevertheless, despite explicit recognition of sport’s inherent and external benefits in various government speeches and policy statements, in many areas of social and economic policy, the role of sport remains ignored, poorly understood and under-supported.
Editor's comments- [ This is an interesting document; published after the DCMS's and Sport England's positions that turn toward sport for sports sake, we find that the umbrella body for those that have most to gain from this policy shift; the NGB's; are taking a defensive stance in the context of sport's use as a social instrument..... Could it be that the CCPR are returning to that which they were under Phylis Coulson and H. Justin-Evans.?, that being an interest group with ideals based on an integrity, wider than their own interest? Now that would be a problem from the DCMS since the CCPR have not been there for a while; we would be first in the queue to support this! ] Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
In the text: Cryer (year)
Reference : CCPR. (2009). Getting the ball rolling: Sport's contribution to the 2008 - 2011 public service agreements. London: CCPR
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