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 4: The Scottish Sporting Landscape

70. The Scottish Sporting Landscape is complex. It operates within a world and country that is changing and sport needs to change too. Many countries promote the need to be more active, highlight the dangers of being inactive. It is paramount that sport is delivered in a safe environment and captures the real value to be gained from harnessing greater diversity.

71. A fair, safe, more equal, more diverse and strong sport sector free from corruption is crucial to the integrity of global sport[16]. The capacity and capability of the sporting organisations that make up the Scottish Sporting Landscape to deliver across a wide range of human resource functions is mixed.

72. The world of sport, both internationally and locally, is currently facing both external and internal threats. Some parts of the Scottish Sporting Landscape are thriving, embracing change and innovation, while other parts are struggling to cope with change both in terms of capacity and/or capability.

73. The Scottish Sporting Landscape is supported at local, regional and national level by different entities. A wide range of organisations are involved in sports planning and delivery. No up to date detailed organisational diagram of Scottish sport exists[17].

Overview of the Scottish Sporting Landscape

Overview of the Scottish Sporting Landscape

74. Currently the system is supported by a range of partners including sportscotland (inclusive of the sportscotland Institute of Sport and three National Centres (Glenmore, Cumbrae, Inverclyde – National Para Sports Centre operated through the sportscotland Trust Company).

It also includes:

  • In excess of 70 Governing Bodies of Sport supporting individual sports
  • The Private sector which includes companies delivering activity, facilities and services to the sports market
  • NGO’s, Voluntary Community, Third Sector not for profit organisations delivering sports activity beyond the traditional sports clubs - local authority ALEO’S deliver a significant amount of the Scottish sporting effort
  • The Further and Higher Education sector which has a role in the delivery, production and consumption of sport beyond college and university clubs since they also operate facilities and deliver activity for their local communities
  • The school estate, both public and private, which remains central to local provision
  • Team Scotland, sportscotland (Institute of Sport), the British Olympic Committee, UK Sport and the British Paralympic Committee which are integral to Scottish high-performance sport
  • 32 local authorities which have a statutory obligation with regards to adequate sport and leisure provision.
  • The UK Anti-Doping Agency, sports integrity units, and sports governing
  • bodies, key to the integrity of Scottish sport
  • EventScotland, Cities and Local Authorities, key to levering sporting events into Scotland and
  • A range of representative bodies and members associations providing for a range of single issue and or multi-issue forums and networks.

87.2 % (n=41) agreed that the governance of sport in Scotland is complex. 12.8% (n=6) disagreed with the proposition that sport in Scotland is complex. 8.5% (n=4) agreed with the proposition that Scottish sport speaks with one voice.

91.1% (n=43) disagreed with the proposition that Scottish sport speaks with one voice. 58.7% (n=27) felt they were not appropriately represented nationally.

41.3%(n=19) felt they were appropriately represented nationally.

75. It was largely felt that sportscotland is able to speak for sport, but they could be better at emphasising key messages and involve Governing Bodies of Sport, local authorities and other sports organisations much more in the shaping of the content of these messages in order to achieve common goals.

76. Sportscotland remains an arm’s length government body but struggles to be seen as independent due to the close relationship with Scottish Government funding.

77. Currently the Scottish Sports Association (SSA) also claims to represent Sporting Governing Bodies. For some this arrangement does not appear to working as effectively as it could. Many of the smaller to medium sized governing bodies of sport require much more support across a range of functions.

78. There exists a strong case for one organisation, SSA for example, to provide a much more comprehensive agreed set of services to sports organisations that allows SGBs’ to focus on core functions. It would seem reasonable that organisations should pay an agreed membership fee in return for an enhanced quality service.

79. There is a requirement for Scottish sport to have a much stronger collective voice and scope and for an organisation/forum to be able to enable this.

Recommendations and Observations:  The Scottish Sporting Landscape

80. Despite its complexity and historical remits, the Scottish Sporting Landscape could be a lot more effective. A mapping exercise of the remits of key organisations would be a worthwhile exercise that would expose remit overlap and inefficiency. The opportunity to create an agreed common purpose around sport including key interventions and perhaps more importantly agreed messaging is getting better but the opportunity has still been missed.

RO5 The sector would benefit from a comprehensive organisational map and shared understanding of Scottish sport, including the remits of different organisations.

RO6 A number of sporting organisations have historical remits, capacity and capability creating overlap and duplication. The strengths of these organisations should be harnessed to improve overall capacity and capability.

RO7 Scotland has given a lot to the world of sport but it also needs to consider further embracing opportunities that are presented.

RO8 A UN sport specific remit around sport for development and the 2030 sustainable development goals provides sport with an international mandate that should be grasped by Scotland.

RO9 The growth and advances in digital technology should be captured.



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