Sport in Scotland: report

The purpose of the report is to offer observations and recommendations on the current Scottish sporting landscape with a view to facilitating a more streamlined and coherent voice for Scottish sport.

Section 1: Introduction

15. This report sets out the findings and recommendations from the consultancy to undertake a review of the Scottish Sporting Landscape[5]. The consultancy was commissioned by the Scottish Government and undertaken by Professor Grant Jarvie from University of Edinburgh.

16. The purpose of the report is to offer observations and recommendations on the current Scottish Sporting Landscape with a view to facilitating a more streamlined and coherent voice for Scottish sport.

17. The consultation involved four main stages (i) a briefing and introduction to remit; (ii) consultation through an online survey with key contacts identified by the Scottish Government and sportscotland (iii) a series of follow up correspondence, telephone and/or skype interviews, with 29 respondents; (iv) the analysis of the findings and the production of the final report.

18. Where possible each section of the report will follow the same approach:

  • Brief: How the section addresses the brief and key deliverables.
  • Evidence: What do the primary survey evidence and expert input interviews tell us?
  • Observations/Recommendations: What are the key recommendations and observations?

19. Each section draws upon the guidance provided, survey responses, follow up interviews, secondary materials and reports relating to key themes and issues covered within the report.

20. The report limited itself to a summary of key messages, findings and provisional recommendations arising out of the consultation process. It provides a comprehensive overview of the key deliverables, findings, observations and recommendations.

Structure of the Report

21. The report is structured around a set of sections. The sections are as follows:

  • Section 1: Introduction
  • Section 2: Participant Information
  • Section 3: Issues in Scottish Sport
  • Section 4: The Scottish Sporting Landscape
  • Section 5: An Effective Voice for Scottish Sport
  • Section 6: Key Recommendations and Observations
  • Appendix 1: Scottish Sport Survey
  • Appendix 2: Expert Input
  • Appendix 3: Scottish Advisory Board for Sport
  • Appendix 4: Australia 2030 Sports Diplomacy Strategy
  • Appendix 5: The Academy of Sport
  • Appendix 6: The Active Scotland Outcomes Framework

Defining Sport

22. The term sport as is used in this report is intended to be inclusive of physical activity.

23. The 2015 Commonwealth Analysis which evidenced sports contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted the United Nations (UN) working definition of sport where Sport equates to “all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental wellbeing and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organised or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games”[6].

24. The Australian Government’s (2018) Sport 2030 Strategy includes the notion of physical activity within the concept of sport. It goes on to suggest that when the Australian Government talks about sport it covers a broad range of physical activities including informal, unstructured activity such as walking, riding, swimming and running as well as traditional structured sport and new and evolving sport activities [7].

25. A generic term comprising sport for all, physical play, recreation, dance, organised, casual, competitive, traditional and indigenous sports and games in their diverse forms. (UNESCO, 2017).

The Current Position of Scottish Sport

26. Sport remains a key part of life in Scotland. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Final Evaluation Report provided an insight into Scotland’s capability to stage major sporting events and lever social and economic benefits through sport[8].

27. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to provide adequate facilities for the inhabitants of their area for recreational, sporting, cultural and social activities[9]. Despite statutory guidance, access to sport and recreation at local authority levels is extremely uneven. The connection between publicly funded sports provision at the local level and the national outcome delivery process needs to be advanced further given that the vast majority of publicly funded sport is proved locally[10].

28. In recent years, Scottish Athletes have continued to perform at the highest level on the world stage, from a record medal success at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games to the Women’s Football Team qualifying for FIFA Women’s 2019 World Cup Finals. These achievements and others, should be used to encourage people to take up and try different sports, no matter of social background.

29. 65.2 % (n=30) agreed that Scottish sport was in a good place. 34.8% (n=16) disagreed. However, despite the positive outlook, all of the organisations involved in this review indicated that much had changed since 2014. Concerns were raised about the broader context in which Scottish sport now operates, what it was expected to deliver and what the priorities should be.

30. To ensure that the Scottish sporting system continues to improve, greater clarity is required for sports clubs to equip them to address growing health and social challenges that exist in Scottish society and to be able to capture the impact of the sports input.

31. Sports organisations are being asked to deliver a more diverse set of outcomes so sport will need to come together to share resources.



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