Section 5: An Effective Voice for Scottish Sport
81. There is a significant opportunity to make a more effective and coherent case for Scottish sport. This has been done for other sporting nations in a way that has enabled sport to gain traction, long term funding and profile across Government Ministries. Scotland could look to such cases
82. Sport is a real cultural, social and economic asset to Scotland whose potential has still to be realised. A 2018 measurement of soft power impact amongst ten small nations placed Scotland second overall in soft power terms behind Catalonia and third behind Wales and Catalonia when it comes to sport in soft power terms.
83. If Scottish sport is to thrive it requires a clear common agreed purpose, vision and clever investment that is owned not just across all levels of government but also the Scottish sporting landscape.
84. There remains a significant opportunity for Scottish sport to be more collaborative around an agreed common purpose. The full case for Scottish sport has still to be realised across Ministerial portfolios, other than health, and even this could be advanced further.
85. The capability and capacity of sport in Scotland to be seen to be delivering across a broad range of portfolios is both enabled and constrained by the health portfolio. The lack of time and space given to sport within the Health and Sport Committee is reflective of this.
86. Those working in or with sport recognise the value of sport but those working in other sectors or with other portfolios have still to be convinced. This is not a challenge unique to Scotland but sport both in and beyond Scotland needs to be much better at making the case for sport in a way that is understood by different Ministries or sectors of government.
87. 97.7% (n=43) of respondents, when asked if the Scottish Sporting Landscape could be more effective said yes.
88. 2.3% (n=1) said no.
89. 45 responses were gathered in response to the question who should speak for Scottish sport in order to provide a unified voice to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing. The following observations capture the main options and challenges from the responses given:
- The National Sports Agency, but it cannot be independent (conflict of interest).
- A new representative organisation/advisory board.
- An independent non-political body.
- A national strategic sports forum.
- The opportunity presented by this review is in bringing bodies together to help to unify messaging.
90. There is a strong feeling that there should be a forum for representatives from Sporting Governing Bodies to come together with sportscotland and other representative bodies to discuss common issues and how to drive the sector forward. This independent forum would be able to provide a voice to Ministers and use the platform to deliver messages from the sector. It would report to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing.
91. A number of suggestions (n=38) provided insights into how the Scottish Sporting Landscape could be more effective with the most common responses articulating the need for:
- Lessons to be learned from how other sectors mobilise different communities to speak coherently around key messages.
- Scottish sport to be much clearer on priorities.
- Better connectivity between all levels.
- A vision and plan for Scottish sport that has traction across government departments.
- Understanding outcomes and how to achieve them.
- More open, transparent, honest culture where real issues can be discussed and resolved.
92. 57.4% (n=27) thought that the best way forward was to have a representative advisory board for sport in Scotland.
93. 27.7% (n=13) thought that a reduced number of bodies should be speaking for Scottish sport.
Recommendations and Observations: An Effective Voice for Scottish Sport
94. Sport is a cultural, social and economic asset to Scotland whose potential has still to be fully realised.
95. Other sporting nations have made the case for sport in a way that has enabled sport to gain traction, long term funding and profile across Government Ministries. Scottish sport has to be better at making the case for sport outside of the sports world.
96. Scotland as a country is changing and if Scottish sport is to thrive it requires a clear common and agreed purpose, vision and clever investment that is owned not just across all levels of government but across the Scottish sporting landscape. There remains a significant opportunity for Scottish sport to be more collaborative and effective around a common agreed purpose. The case and the further opportunity for Scottish sport to deliver effectively against national outcomes and new international aspirations has still to be realised.
RO10 The review recommends that steps are taken to establish an independent Advisory Group for Sport or A National Sports Forum with a clear aim and terms of reference.
RO11 The review recognises the desire and aspiration for the sporting sector to attract funding from areas such as charitable foundations and corporate business. It is recommended that this is an area for further exploration.
RO12 The review recommends that Scottish sport is supported to develop its potential as a soft power asset to advance Scotland’s cultural relations.
RO13 The Scottish Government has stated its ambition to embed human rights across all areas of policy in a way that makes a difference in the lives of people in Scotland and demonstrates global leadership in setting standards. Sport and human rights is an area where Scotland could aspire to be a world leader.
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