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Sports participation scrutiny review

The commission chose this topic for review in recognition of the opportunities made available by the Olympics and the contribution that physical activity makes to local priorities. The key questions that councillors sought to answer were:

  • Are opportunities for local residents to participate in sports and physical activity being maximised?
  • Are universal services in the borough (such as parks) being used to their potential to help people into sports activities who may not normally engage? 

The Commission found much to celebrate in the way the council and its partners operate. There were high levels of support for improving physical activity levels in every organisation involved in this review. Many had positive examples of improving the health and wellbeing of targeted communities, but a number of facilities in Hackney remain underused and obesity levels are still high. 

There are areas for improvement however. The way that data is captured about current activity levels is patchy, making it hard to robustly evidence the impact of money spent on projects. Partnership arrangements are not helped by the lack of a community sports network, though this is planned as part of the Sport and Physical Activity strategy. 

The way that external funding is sought appears to be mixed too, and a shared resource to identify grants is needed. There is also a great opportunity for local sports clubs to operate closer with local schools to access their facilities, but this will need careful negotiation at a time where schools and academies gain further independence. 

This is a particularly exciting time for the way that physical activity is promoted to local communities, but there are plenty of challenges. We hope the Commission's review will help to address some of these. 

Final report

The commissions made nine recommendations. These focused on improved partnership working across public sector providers, leisure partners and local sports clubs, charging for sports facilities, opportunities arising from the Health & Wellbeing transition, and programmes to get local communities into the Olympics facilities post-Games.

Response from the Cabinet Member

Cllr Jonathan McShane (Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture) responded to the recommendations, noting that "promoting health and wellbeing across Hackney, which has always been a priority, has never been more important or more timely. At the heart of ensuring healthy lifestyles is the promotion of physical activity and sports participation". They accepted all recommendations.

What has happened as a result of the review?

The Head of Leisure and Green Spaces provided an update in March 2013 on progress made in implementing the recommendations. The commission was pleased to hear that there had been a significant increase in the use of leisure facilities in 2012/13.

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Page updated: 14 Oct 2015 

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Overview and Scrutiny
2nd Floor
Hackney Town Hall
Mare Street
E8 1EA
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