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Sport Volunteering & the Big Society?. Andy Reed Chair SSPV The Big Society : what is it (going to be …)?. Three core components to BS policy: Empowering communities: localism

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Sport volunteering the big society

Sport Volunteering &the Big Society?

Andy Reed

Chair SSPV

The big society what is it going to be
The Big Society: what is it (going to be …)?

Three core components to BS policy:

  • Empowering communities: localism

  • Opening up public services: more contracting to charities, social enterprises, private companies and employee-owned cooperatives

  • Promoting social action: more volunteering and philanthropy. eg5,000 Community Organisers, NCS, Big Society Bank

Voluntary organisations the core of the big society
Voluntary organisations: the core of the Big Society

'Together with citizens and communities, the voluntary and community sector sits at the heart of the Government's ambitions to create a Big Society'

(Building a Stronger Civil Society, Office for Civil Society, 2010)

On supporting the voluntary and community sector
On supporting the voluntary and community sector

  • Three objectives:

    • Making it easier to run a voluntary or community sector organisation

    • Getting more resources to underpin resilience and independence. NB Big Society Bank

    • Making it easier to do business with the state

  • i.e. increase capacity and resources, reduce bureaucracy

The big society issues for sport
The Big Society: issues for sport

  • The development and sustainability of social enterprises

  • Are voluntary clubs ready and appropriate for the Big Society? NB:

    • responsibility

    • capacity

    • bureaucracy

Are voluntary sports clubs ready 1 responsibility
Are voluntary sports clubs ready?1) Responsibility

  • Clubs lie at or between two extremes:

    • Informal/traditional clubs

    • Formal/contemporary clubs

  • These have different characteristics which make for different prospects in terms of Big Society ambitions

Traditional informal clubs
Traditional / informal clubs

This type of club is not managed. They have no job descriptions, no way of enforcing someone to the job. They don’t want to get involved in any grievance/disciplinary procedures – ‘how can you discipline a volunteer?’ There is a culture of self-help and contribution: all volunteers working towards a common goal, committed to the club and their sport.

Contemporary formal clubs
Contemporary / formal clubs

Volunteers at this type of club are managed formally, by the club’s committee, or a designated co-ordinator. They have less difficulties recruiting and retaining volunteers because they deal with these issues strategically. There is also a more developmental view of the club and its volunteers.


  • Potential high 'wastage rate' in adherence to government ideals? NB:

    • effectiveness in increasing volunteering and participation

    • efficiency in managing change

  • Selective or universal incentives?

    • how would appropriate clubs be selected?

    • Would self-selection be OK?

Are voluntary sports clubs ready 2 capacity
Are voluntary sports clubs ready?2) Capacity

  • Problems mostly relate to human capital

    • Shortages of volunteers

    • Over-reliance on stalwarts

    • Recruitment from within clubs

  • Solutions?

    • Recruitment using generic channels

    • Target those most likely to volunteer and give time

Those most likely to currently
Those most likely to …currently

  • From regression analysis of Active People 1,

  • for both volunteer numbers and volunteering time, the best 'returns' are from:

    • male

    • >1 car in household

    • people dissatisfied with local sports provision

    • people with children in the household and youngest child >5 years old

Those most likely to
Those most likely to …

  • Some groups are more likely to volunteer and are 'neutral' in terms of volunteering time:

    • white British

    • higher levels of education qualifications

    • own their houses

    • higher income

Those least likely to
Those least likely to …

  • Some groups are less likely to volunteer and, when they do, contribute less time:

    • females

    • Asian ethnicity

    • people with children 0-5 years old

Investment in physical capital can help
Investment in physical capital can help

  • e.g. Community Club Development Programme:

    • £100m investment in clubs' facilities

    • 10% increase in memberships (= 11,052)

    • 16% increase in coaches (= 1,354)

    • 13% increase in volunteers (= 2,262)

    • 38% increase in participants (= 55,992)

    • better links with education organisations

Are voluntary sports clubs ready 3 bureaucracy
Are voluntary sports clubs ready?3) Bureaucracy

  • According to the Sport and Recreation Alliance regulatory burden review, the three most burdensome issues are:

    • Coaching qualifications (59% clubs negative)

      • NB cost, time, facilities, APL, requirements vs role

    • Funding processes (56% clubs negative)

      • NB paperwork, language, legal requirements, accountability, information

    • Health and Safety (53% clubs negative)

      • NB impracticality, small organisation relevance, paperwork,

More bureaucracy to tackle
More bureaucracy to tackle

  • According to CCPR of sports clubs 2009, the biggest bureaucratic challenges are:

    • Accreditation

    • Working with local authorities

    • NGB requirements

    • Child Protection

Sport volunteering the big society

Volunteers in the future

  • Understanding Big Society & fitting agenda

  • Expectations of evidence from government

  • Open data - accountability

  • Time & efficiency deficit

  • Focus on ‘well-being’

  • Trends in volunteering

  • localism

Conclusions and implications
Conclusions and implications

Sport is already contributing to The Big Society

Accept wastage - not all sports clubs are ready or willing to fulfil The Big Society ambitions

Attack volunteering capacity constraints by focussing on big numbers

Reduce bureaucratic constraints within sport

Sport volunteering the big society

Interactive Session

Groups to answer 2 questions & then Feedback session:

  • What are the major political, social and economic changes taking place in your sport/sector over the next period – agree them & their impact

  • Having identified the major themes & challenges what changes can we make in our work to meet the challenges of change