The aim of this study was to establish whether there is a policy community for disability sport in England. Whilst structured competitive disability sport may traditionally have been organised and run by charitable bodies, segregated from mainstream non-disabled sport, contemporary policies stress a need for disability sport to be the responsibility of mainstream organisations. However, there is a dearth of literature that considers how disability sport policy has developed, which agencies have been powerful in the organisational network, and the significance of the values of key actors in the policy process and outcome.
a) establishes the key characteristics of disability sport policy in England, and
b) establishes the interests, resources, power and relationships between organisations involved in disability sport and determines the ideologies of key actors involved in disability sport policy.
Data is generated in three phases using an analysis of policy documents, a survey of 162 sports organisations and 21 interviews with key personnel. In Phase I semi-structured interviews with key personnel combined with documentary analysis were used to establish how disability sport emerged and developed.
Informed by the data from Phase 1, in Phase 2a survey of governing bodies of sport and disability sport organisations was conducted to establish which national organisations are involved in the policy network, how disability sport policy is formed, the role organisations play and ideologies of key actors.
In Phase 3, informed by the data from Phases I and 2 and using interviews and documentary analysis, two case studies were carried out to examine,
1) the formation and role of the English Federation of Disability Sport, and
2) the mainstreaming of disability sport.
The analysis of data is informed by theories of disability, a history of disability policy and sports policy, and three prominent theories of policy analysis: Marsha and Rhodes' policy network model, Sabatier's advocacy coalition framework and Kingdon's policy streams approach. (Continues...).
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Reference : Thomas, N.B. (2004). An examination of the disability sport policy network in England: a case study of the English Federation of Disability Sport and mainstreaming in seven sports. Loughborough: Loughborough University
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