Darren Millar AM

Chair

Public Accounts Committee

National Assembly for Wales

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff

 

19th October 2015

Dear Chair,

Sport Wales’ response to the National Assembly for Wales Public Accounts Committee

We welcome the opportunity to respond more fully to the matters that were raised during our recent evidence session. We are happy to respond further if there are any additional issues which may require clarification.

About Sport Wales

Sport Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical recreation. We are the main adviser on sporting matters to the Welsh Government, an official supplier of applied research and are responsible for distributing funds from Welsh Government and the National Lottery to sport in Wales.

Investing in and working with a wide range of partners, on a national and local level, we aim to increase the frequency of participation in sport and physical recreation, as well as improving elite performance.  We take a broad view of sport, from traditional sports, such as swimming and hockey to zumba and dance.

Sport Wales’ role in relation to Local Authorities

As a number of questions from committee members related to issues that fall within the remit of Local Authorities we thought it would be useful to clarify our relationship. Sport Wales invests in every Local Authority to deliver sport in the community, this is channelled through their Local Sport Plan. Local Authorities themselves are responsible for direct investment into and management of local facilities and setting the tariffs for the public to use those facilities.

We fully recognise the importance of high quality, accessible facilities in achieving our goals. The pressure on local budgets has placed a number of these facilities at risk, as well as impacting on charges in relation to usage. We are concerned that these will have a longer term impact on the ability of communities to participate regularly in sport and physical activity.

 

To this end we have been proactive and are acting as the lead agency in developing a long term vision for sports facilities in Wales.  This will set out why sports facilities are important to physical activity and the health of the nation. The purpose of this document is to set out the challenges that lie ahead and identify the priorities for action, providing guidance and a framework to help inform future decision making. The future facilities framework is designed to provide a clear rationale for a built leisure infrastructure that is fit for purpose and ‘appropriate’ - reflecting future community needs – designed to satisfy the demands of different customers.

 

Sport Wales’ role in relation to Education

 

We do not directly invest in facilities on school grounds unless there is a wider benefit to the community outside of school hours, but we invest in the Education Consortia and Local Authorities in providing Play to Lean, Dragon Skills and 5/60 officers to develop the sport offer in schools. In addition the Physical Literacy Programme for Schools (PLPS), which is managed by Sport Wales, is a targeted intervention working with 66 Challenge Cymru schools across Wales. The selected schools on this programme are from some of the most deprived areas in Wales, and the interventions with these schools have focused on using physical education to reenergise the disengaged.

 

The programme is demonstrating how a focused child-centred approach can change attitudes and abilities and is working with pupils and parents alike. The investment for this new approach followed the recommendation in the Welsh Government commissioned School and Physical Activity Task Group’s report to raise the profile of Physical Literacy, and make it a key educational outcome for all children and young people in Wales. The investment for this programme ends in March 2016.

 

During this time, a Physical Literacy Framework (PLF) has been developed, building on over five years of research and pilot programmes, and is designed to enable teachers to deliver and track progress on the development of physical literacy for every child in Wales. This has also been developed as the new curriculum is emerging following the review by Professor Donaldson and has a central role to play in developing ‘healthy and confident’ pupils. We believe the PLF can be used to support the “pioneer schools” in implementing and trialling the new curriculum, and enable the up-skilling of practitioners over the long term in providing school to school support in the delivery of the PLF.

 

Delivery and Key Performance Indicators

 

On 15th October we launched the results of our 2015 School Sport Survey. This is an online survey of pupils’ sports participation and school provision of Physical Education (PE) and sport.  It took place in the summer term of 2015 from 14th April until 21st July.  Pupils complete a questionnaire on their participation and attitudes towards Physical Education (PE) and sport.  A member of staff from each school is asked to complete a questionnaire on PE and sports provision at their school.  This is usually completed by the PE coordinator in primary schools or the Head of PE in secondary schools.

 

For the second successive time, the 2015 survey has shown across the board increases in participation levels amongst pupils in Wales in Years 3-11.  Long standing differences in participation levels continue to be observed, with female pupils and older pupils taking part less frequently in PE and sport. The headline findings are as follows:

 

Ø  48% of pupils in Years 3-11 are hooked on sport and take part in extracurricular or community club sport on three or more occasions per week.  In 2013, the figure was 40% and in 2011 was 27%.

Ø  Similar proportions of primary and secondary pupils are hooked on sport – 49% of primary pupils in Years 3-6 and 48% of secondary pupils in Years 7-11.

Ø  There remains a gender difference in participation levels.  52% of boys and 44% of girls are hooked on sport. 

Ø  Participation levels also vary according to pupils’ age, ethnicity, disability and relative level of deprivation.  In 2015 the survey showed that in comparison with Wales as a whole, higher percentages were recorded for:

§  Pupils in Years 5 and 6 (52%)

§  Mixed race and black/black British pupils (52%)

§  Pupils from the least deprived schools[1] (54%)

§  Pupils in secondary schools who were Welsh speakers (55%)

Ø  65% of pupils enjoy PE lessons ‘a lot’ and 53% of pupils who enjoy doing sport in after-school or lunchtime clubs (extracurricular sport) 'a lot'.

Ø  62% of pupils think PE lessons and school sport help them 'a lot' to have a healthy lifestyle.

 

The data from this survey enables Sport Wales and partners to strategically monitor and track trends in sports participation – covering both community and school participation and tracking the provision of PE and school sport and teachers’ and pupils’ attitudes to PE and sport.  This provides a base of evidence from which to shape sports policy and practice.

 

Equalities

 

Sport Wales has long recognised diversity at Board level as being a key to good governance and that we needed to become a beacon for our sector. Putting legislative duties to one side, we have a moral duty as leaders in sport to encourage diversity in whatever way we can. Diversity in public life will not simply happen, it takes positive action from a range of people with a concrete commitment to change. Sport Wales have been proactive in this area, not to meet any target but because we recognise we have a duty to reflect the communities we represent. Our current board is 57% female and 15% BME, so progress has been made, but there is much more to do throughout the sector.

 

Further to this in 2014 we launched our Calls for Action programme, which made £3 million of lottery investment available to organisations in order to boost participation from BME communities, women and girls, those with a disability and those living in poverty. As a result of this programme we have provided three year investment to a broad range of organisations including the Girl Guides, RCT Homes, StreetGames (specifically for their Us Girls programme targeting girls in deprived communities), Street Football Wales and Time to Change Wales. This investment is in recognition that we need to work with partners beyond the sport sector in order to tackle the barriers to participation for these groups.

 

Welsh Language

 

As a Welsh Government Sponsored Body, we have a statutory obligation to the Welsh Language and we are fully committed to the principle of equality. Through this we have developed a positive and proactive relationship with the office of the Welsh Language Commissioner and, as discussed at the Committee, we have arranged two conferences for national governing bodies of sport in order to promote the importance of the Welsh language in sport. Between the two events definite progress was identified with governing bodies presenting research they had undertaken as well as sharing how best to provide coach education through the medium of Welsh.

 

We recently responded to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Standards Inquiry, and as part of our on-going commitment to the Welsh Language our signage, website and public documents are entirely bilingual. Around 14% of our staff have previously indicated that they are Welsh speakers, although we are in the process of recollecting the data on this. The Welsh language is also a criteria of our equality impact assessments.

 

Our new online grant management process is fully bilingual, and we also have a Welsh speaking member in our Grants teams so that any meetings / telephone conversations can be undertaken through Welsh.

 

In terms of our investment into the Welsh language, Sport Wales has an excellent relationship with the Urdd, investing £250,000 last year and £310,000 this year in order to develop opportunities across Wales for young people to take part in sporting opportunities through the medium of Welsh.  Investment is made in the community programme, focussing primarily on children of Primary school age. Target areas include community club development, family opportunities, appropriate competitive opportunities and workforce development.  The Urdd’s vision is:  “To use the power of Welsh language to engage with children and young people 3-25 years old, and get them actively involved in sports; week in week out for life.”

 

We also have a national development programme in place which is supported by a network of highly skilled coaches and volunteers to enable us to reach targets and outcomes. Figures for 2014/15 show that 5205 individuals participated in weekly clubs 1 or 2 times in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 ; 68 new community clubs were established; 2550 individuals were accessing family activities; 68% of girls were accessing the community sport programme; 1500 coaches received training (750 girls) and there 440 active coaches. Since 2011, we have invested over £4.5 million in grants for sport delivered through the Welsh language.

 

Sport Wales are also a key partner of Gemau Cymru, which is a bilingual multi-sport event, launched in 2011 as part of a Wales wide London 2012 Legacy project, and which was established as a partnership between Welsh Government Major Events unit (MEU), NGBs, and Sport Wales, with Urdd Gobaith Cymru being commissioned as the delivery partner. Initially the scope of the event was to engage with NGBs and provide an annual mass participation multi-sport event. Gemau Cymru is a delivered completely bilingually. It provides an opportunity for talented young athletes to compete in a high profile multi-sport event while experiencing an athlete village environment. In 2015, Sport Wales committed £60,000 to support the core costs of running Gemau Cymru.

 

We are also proactive with our governing bodies, including a clear statement on the expectation that appropriate consideration is given to delivery of outcomes in both languages. Progress has been made by our governing bodies including the Welsh Football Trust undertaking research with their coaches and volunteers to look at how they can build the Welsh language into their coaching courses. Whilst we do not make the Welsh Language a condition of grant, we set in the award letter clear expectations that appropriate measures are taken to deliver through both languages.

 

The National Governing Bodies of Sport in Wales have committed to the development of the Welsh language through an agreement with the Welsh Language Commissioner based on the following areas:

Ø  Identify a Welsh Language Lead Officer to represent your Sport (this person could be a staff member. Board member or volunteer). This person would feed into a Welsh Language Task Group/Forum, and lead on the development of the language in your Sport.  

Ø  Agree that Team Wales at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, should be a platform and springboard for raising the profile and increasing the prominence of the Welsh Language in Sport 

Ø  Identify Elite Champions of theSport who are Welsh Speaking to be pro-active with the media and in public life – first focus to be on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Ø  Welsh Language Classes/Worshops to create a new buzz and commitment to the language

Ø  Identify Staff/Coaches/Volunteers who are Welsh Speaking – encourage them to make this information available throught wearing badges/t-shirts which state that they can speak Welsh, thus encouraging more participants to participate through the medium of Welsh

Ø  Commitment from Sports to be visible and involved in Welsh Language Festivals such as the Urdd Eisteddfod, National Eisteddfod, Tafwyl and local Menter events.

 

According to our evidence, Welsh speakers are 11% more likely to be ‘hooked on sport’; almost twice as likely to be a volunteer in sport; over 5% more likely to be a sports club member; and over 10% more likely to have recently participated in sport.

 

Investment Strategy

 

Sport Wales has a set of investment principles that guide our approach. These are clearly aligned to our two aspirations of being “hooked on sport” and “creating a nation of champions” and the requirements of the Welsh Government via our annual remit letter. We base decisions on the potential partners have to meet our key strategic priorities and have in place clear agreed outcomes for our investment with each partner.

 

We are in the process of moving to a new online grants system will enhance the data we can collect and utilise to base future investment decisions on. The new system will also provide for an improved applicant experience via automated workflows that allows instant access to the progress of their application’s progress at every stage. It also offers a standardised approach across all grant types that will allow for a more transparent grant application process, and the system has been future-proofed to enable external partners to be able to apply online, as well as access certain information or reports.

 

We have provided an overview of investment into our different programmes in Appendix A.

 

Format of Accounts

 

Compared to previous years, we produce and print a much smaller number of publications with digital versions now made available for download from our website.

 

This year, our Annual Review and Accounts were produced as two separate documents to ensure maximum flexibility of the documents in terms of usage. The full bilingual accounts and review document would total approximately 250 pages, which is a very large document to share. In producing two documents, we can share and promote the review document on its own, or alternatively the accounts document, dependent on the audience.

 

However, we recognise that our current reporting structure does not clarify the detail of the extent of our investment within the annual report. We will be reviewing the way in which our annual review and accounts are produced to ensure that we have a single, easily accessible document.

 

I hope that this response will go some way to addressing the issues that arose during the evidence session. If you have any further queries or require additional clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sarah Powell

Chief Executive

Sport Wales


 

Appendix A  Budget 2015-16

Funding Source

Funding Area

2015/16

2014/15

 

 

£

£

Welsh Government

Dragon Sport

1,155,000

1,335,000

Welsh Government

5 x 60

4,643,000

4,703,000

Welsh Government

Free Swimming

3,104,000

3,500,000

Lottery

Community Chest

2,100,000

2,100,000

Lottery

Development Grants

3,000,000

4,750,000

Lottery

Calls for Action

1,443,000

750,000

 

 

 

 

Welsh Government

Communities Local

8,902,000

9,538,000

Lottery

Communities Local

6,543,000

7,600,000

 

 

 

 

Welsh Government

URDD

310,000

250,000

Welsh Government

Street Games

150,000

100,000

Welsh Government

GB Development Support

5,010,000

5,140,000

Welsh Government

Coaching

1,150,000

1,180,000

Welsh Government

GB Facility Use

1,019,000

1,019,000

Welsh Government

Skills Active/Sports Leadership

60,000

60,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Cardiff NRC

336,000

319,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Cardiff Renewals

25,000

 6,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Cardiff Capital

130,000

  238,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Plas Menai NRC

351,000

  296,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Plas Menai Renewals

25,000

   45,000

Welsh Government

Sport Wales National Centre – Plas Menai Capital

200,000

   80,000

Lottery

Disability Sport

590,000

   590,000

Lottery

Capital Grants

1,000,000

   1,700,000

Lottery

National Coaching

950,000

   950,000

Lottery

Lottery Growth

350,000

   -

 

 

 

 

Welsh Government

Communities National

8,766,000

  8,733,000

Lottery

Communities National

2,890,000

 3,240,000

 

 

 

 

Lottery

Elite Athlete

900,000

1,100,000

Lottery

Elite Coaching

2,300,000

1,700,000

Lottery

Elite Programme

1,700,000

1,600,000

Lottery

Talent Development

300,000

300,000

Lottery

National Performance

1,200,000

1,200,000

Lottery

Elite Salary Recharges and Services

1,370,000

1,181,000

Lottery

Capital Equipment

70,000

60,000

 

 

 

 

Lottery

Elite and Performance Sport

7,840,000

7,141,000

 

 

 

 

Welsh Government

Corporate Running Costs

1,327,000

1,327,000

Welsh Government

Corporate Delivery Costs

919,000

733,000

Welsh Government

Corporate Communications and Research

1,334,000

1,558,000

Welsh Government

Sports Development Programme and Staffing

2,268,000

2,251,000

Welsh Government

Corporate Capital

15,000

27,000

Lottery

Corporate Running Costs

390,000

391,000

Lottery

Corporate Delivery Costs

452,000

431,000

Lottery

Corporate Communications and Research

349,000

349,000

Lottery

Sports Development Programme and Staffing

565,000

489,000

 

 

 

 

Welsh Government

Corporate and Sports Development

5,863,000

5,896,000

Lottery

Corporate and Sports Development

1,756,000

1,660,000

 

 

 

 

Total

Welsh Government Budget

23,531,000

24,167,000

Total

Lottery Budget

19,029,000

19,641,000

Total

Sport Wales Budget

42,580,000

43,808,000

 



[1]The percentage of pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) is used as a proxy measure of socioeconomic status. Schools in Free School Quartile 1 (FSM 1) have low level of pupils eligible for FSM – and are considered the least deprived. Schools in FSM4 have high levels of pupils eligible for free meals and are most deprived.