case studies
Developing Sporting Talent in England
Developing Sporting Talent in England
Client: Sport England
Location: England
The Challenge

Sport England has allocated considerable resources, accessed through Lottery funding, to the development of sporting talent in key sports between 2006 and 2009. 

They determined that this investment must deliver significant improvement in the ability of the sporting community, and particularly the National Governing Bodies
of Sport (NGB’s), to identify and nurture talented athletes, within an effective sports system. 

They therefore commissioned us to work with the 35 NGB’s that cover the 47 Olympic and Paralympic disciplines, to provide Sport England with a clear picture of their current talent frameworks, their appropriateness and the extent of their application, so that gaps could be identified and remedial action recommended.

This was a complex challenge, requiring collaborative working with personnel from a wide spectrum of sporting bodies, with a timescale of just 16 weeks from commissioning to presentation of the final report.

Our Approach

We designed a two-stage approach, to comply with Sport England’s requirements.

Stage 1: Initial Research and Findings

Our researchers completed NGB profile forms from available material already submitted to Sport England and publicly available material such as websites and publications. The profiles contained information on such topics as talent development pathways, performance environments, coaching, competition, clubs, regional activity and priorities, staffing structures and workforce capacity, required investment and outcomes to be delivered.

The NGB’s reviewed, amended and filled gaps in these profile forms, which were then analysed and an interim report presented to Sport England.

Stage 2: Engagement and Reporting

Meetings were then arranged between relevant personnel from all the NGB’s and the consultants to discuss the findings in greater detail, to understand and challenge the plans for investment and to agree appropriate allocation of resources for each sport or discipline. These were summarised in an individual report for each sport, which was again discussed and agreed.

In addition, reports were compiled, outlining the regional activities and priorities of each of the sports and disciplines, to help Sport England’s Regional Directors determine their investment and priority sports.

Finally, the draft report was discussed with Sport England, including debates around key issues, after which a final report was completed and delivered, along with all the supporting material that had been gathered in the
course of the project.

The Outcome

For the first time, Sport England held in one document an overview of all their main sports’ plans for identifying and nurturing their talented athletes in the early stages of their development – in clubs and regional centres, through appropriate competition, supported and coordinated by relevant staff, both paid and unpaid. 

The client managers in their newly formed National Sport Team had been supplied with an invaluable bank of resources and information that would enable them to forge new and more positive relationships with their NGB’s and to support the development of England’s talented athletes in sports as diverse as swimming to wheelchair basketball, boccia to football, hockey to modern pentathlon.
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