The Sports Action Plan announced this month week is a blueprint for Government investment, Sport Ireland enabling, and stakeholder delivery in sport over the next two years.

We are looking at the seven key focus areas one by one and in this instalment, we are looking at the recommendations made around research and evaluation.

The use and purpose of all public money have to be held up to scrutiny and the effectiveness of where it is spent is important to justify with results rather than just what you think is going to work. It should be an iterative process with an amount set aside for the ‘what if’ projects that might or might not deliver breakthroughs.

There are four action points under the heading.

7.1 Develop a research strategy for sport, including an online sports research and data repository.

It is always nice to have a number of actions that have already been achieved in a plan and the launch last week of the Sport Ireland Research Strategy goes a long way to having secured this already.

7.2 In line with the National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy and in order to better understand the barriers for LGBTI+ people in sport, expand the reach of national research tools such as the Irish Sports Monitor and other sources to refine our understanding of the issues around participation / non-participation in sport among marginalised groups such as persons with a disability, ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTI+ community, etc.

The appeal of sport for all sections of society is one where Government intervention is always needed.  Mainstream sport and activities will reach their audience through a commercial imperative but that is not often the case when it comes to making sport accessible and welcoming for everyone.  This is a good way of always bearing that in mind.

7.3 Undertake a Value for Money Review of the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme and ensure that any recommendations arising are incorporated into future annual rounds of the programme.

This injection of funding has transformed the sporting landscape over the past decade.  Telling that story and backing it up with evidence of impact is important so that it continues to be a part of capital expenditure and does not get left to one side as having been ‘taken care of’ when future spending squeezes arrive.

7.4 Reflecting the importance of international work in measuring the contribution of sport, physical education and physical activity to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and keeping the human rights dimension of sport to the forefront, map the NSP with the SDGs.

Much work is already ongoing in this area through the work of organisations like SARI and programmes such as Trust Ireland.  Making it part of the Action Plan and giving lead responsibility to the Department ensures it remains on the agenda.

 

Take a look back at the other areas of analysis we have undertaken on the Sports Action Plan.

 

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Seven – Research and Evaluation

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Six – Plans and Strategies

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Five – Programmes and Events

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Four – Training and Resources

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Three – Funding

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part Two – Communication and Promotion

Analysis of the Sports Action Plan – Part One – Covid Recovery

 

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