CSPs need to improve ‘strategic leadership’ capabilities, finds review
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CSPs need to improve ‘strategic leadership’ capabilities, finds review

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A number of County Sports Partnerships (CSP) will have to improve their “strategic leadership” capabilities and work with a wider range of partners to fulfil the government’s strategy for sport, according to Andy Reed.

The review published by the Sports Think Tank director and former Labour MP, revealed while leadership was strong among several CSPs, others “failed to provide strategic leadership in their locality” and need to be more “robustly” held to account by Sport England, with whom they receive the majority of their funding.

Strategic leadership and working with organisations from the health and private sectors will be crucial in achieving the five outcomes (improvements to mental health; physical health; social inclusion; self efficacy; and the economy) of the government’s Sporting Future blueprint.

Reed said there was a “clear role” for CSPs in the delivery of the strategy, although he suggested that Sport England would have to create a “core specification of services” for the CSP to be measured against when it came to accountability and funding decisions.

CSPs, said Reed, should “have the freedom to work beyond their core specification of services” rather than adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach, and also highlighted “inconsistencies” in CSPs’ approach to school sport.

In terms of governance, Reed’s report claimed that some CSPs are “unlikely to meet the Governance Code for UK Sport” which is being put together by Sport England and UK Sport, and those making “insufficient progress” to rectify the situation “should be subject to the same sanctions as other partners in the future”, such as loss of funding.

Reed has delivered his recommendations to sports minister Tracey Crouch and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

In his foreword he said that he had held six open sessions, received more than 180 formal representations and met with 200 people.

“Throughout this appraisal I have been very single-minded in my forward-looking approach, working with the single lens of the new sport strategy and what CSPs can do to help deliver your [government] objective,” he added.

County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) chair Richard Saunders said he “welcomed” the recommendations.

He added: “As a network we have spent the last 12 months working in what the next generation of CSPs should look like. We can now move forward in the context of this report, developing the ongoing role of both CSPs and the CSP Network.”

To read the full report, click here.

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