Parliamentary Report on the Health and Sport Committee’s Inquiry into Support for Community Sport
Our members welcome the Committee’s Inquiry and this report which highlights a number of key aspects and opportunities within Scottish sport. Our response has been compiled, as ever, following discussion with our members. Rather than reflecting on each recommendation in turn, our response will focus on the key themes from the recommendations (whist recognising that the areas are interlinked), following some general reflections.
While the Inquiry was broad in scope, it importantly touched on a number of topical agendas. Notably, our members were pleased with the inclusion of the contribution of sport and clubs to the preventative spend agenda in the Inquiry’s scope. While our members appreciate that the majority of Parliamentary preventative spend discussions appear to revolve around fiscal prudence, the unique contribution of sport to this agenda, in enabling people to live longer lives and increasing the quality of life, appears to be absent. Surely people living longer and happier lives should be a key outcome for any agenda. The report states that there is a “good public understanding that a more active lifestyle brings health benefits”. Our members would question as to whether the public know enough about these benefits and would suggest that further communication of these benefits, and how people can become more physically active, is required. While it is clear that the Committee members understand the contribution that sport makes to the preventative spend agenda, this could have been more strongly reflected in the recommendations from the report to encourage other Committees and other partners to consider sport in relation to ongoing preventative spend discussions.
While the report demonstrates progress in many areas, our members remain clear that further collaboration is still required between local authorities, health, education, sport and other partners towards a “more integrated and strategic approach to the support of community sport”.