UK Government Strategy for an Active Nation
A new UK government campaign suggests we are dangerously unaware of how active we need to be in our forties and beyond to live an active life. One You public health campaign, just launched, is the first government drive targeting the middle aged, to drink less, exercise more, eat better and give up smoking. Although overall life expectancy has been steadily rising over the past few decades, the extra years people are living are often not in good health. More than two fifths of those aged 45 to 64 are living with an illness or disability and over 40 percent of deaths in that age bracket are linked to unhealthy lifestyle. The National Health Service (NHS) is spending around £11 billion (1,759,887,184,110 JPY Yen) every year treating lifestyle related illnesses.
The One You campaign comes at the same time as the first cross government strategy around sport and recreation, Sporting Future.
Nine government departments contributed to the report including; Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Education (DfE), the Treasury, Department of Work & Pensions (DWP), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department for Business Innovation and Skills (DBIS), and Government Equalities Office. The Secretary of State or Minister from each Department stated why sport is important to their department and to the country. Our Prime Minister, a keen sportsman and who keeps fit with a personal trainer, wrote the forward.
For the first time, the report confirmed all government departments will work more closely together, a good legacy from 2012. A new Sports Business Council will be established to support growth and improve access to finance. A UK-wide ‘Sports Cabinet’ will be established, comprising the four home nation Sports Ministers to improve coordination across the devolved administration. A formal annual report to Parliament will summarise progress in the strategy’s implementation. The five key outcomes, listed below, will be measured against an identified ‘High Level Outcome’ and new KPIs will assess progress.
The new sports strategy does not focus on increasing the number of people playing sport, or the number of medals but has five new outcomes; physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development. Success will be measured against the delivery of these outcomes and priority will be given to engage those who do sport less than the population as a whole. Making a positive contribution to the five new outcomes is what organisations will receive funding for in the future.
Sport for social good is a clear unequivocal commitment to addressing under-representation in participation. There’s also a clear recognition that the current sport product must be more flexible, adaptable and responsive to the local needs. Sport England’s remit will be broadened so it becomes responsible for sport outside school from the age of five plus, and it will go beyond sport to certain kinds of physical activity. A new system of measurement called ‘Active Lives’ will also be implemented by Sport England, which will measure how active people are overall and will become the primary data source for measuring engagement. Active Lives will capture more of the types of activity that people do and their contribution to the outcomes of the strategy.
This commitment to developing and improving the measurement of the social impact of sport and physical activity, based on the contribution it makes to the five new outcomes means the current, Active People Survey, will closed later this year.
The strategy focus on delivering local sport and physical activity solutions to local challenges provides a clear recognition that the public sector will be central to the planning and creation of these solutions. The government has also agreed with the Premier League that, given the increase in their broadcasting income, the league will at least double their investment in grassroots football over the coming three seasons. That will help improve facilities and grow football across the country. Sport England have over 40 points to address from the strategy and are consulting widely before producing its own strategy, later in the year, that will be required to implement many of the proposals.
Over 3,200 consultation responses were received (300 from organisations rest from individuals) and the strategy is based on three key premises; sport for social good, elite success for non-Olympic/Paralympic sports and Integrity in Sport.
Public Health England are also planning to report annually on progress in implementing ‘Everybody Active Every Day’ an evidence-based approach to physical activity. On behalf of the UK Chief Medical Officers, a single clear infographic, collates together countless pages of recommendations into a single page of advice to the general public, see below. Public Health England created a frame work to embed physical activity into daily life but are reliant on partners at local level, similar to the new sports strategy.
The tone of the sports strategy, the One You campaign and messages from Public Health England, NHS and Chief Medical Officers provide a clear message that sport and physical recreation must deliver on the key demands around inequality of participation and demonstrate real social benefit. This is very different to past efforts because the arguments about ‘sport for sport sake’ have moved on to using sport and physical activity to meet the needs of the customer and more importantly those who are not customers.
From David Minton, Director Leisure Database Company