All organisations have a structure or set up that staff should follow to help deliver their programmes.
These are most common in the voluntary sector. For a small club offering sports development, committees would be made up of three people, a chairperson or captain having overall leadership, a treasurer looking after financial affairs, and a secretary doing the administration and communications work.
Working groups are a looser arrangement than a committee and often found where many organisations work in partnership. They function by each partner sending a representative to work with the others in the group. This ensures every interested party is kept informed and able to achieve the aims they have set out for the scheme.
These are sets of people who tend to be experts on the issues involved with sports development. Forums meet to discuss issues or problems and to put forward ideas for sports development. They are not the organisation that will implement the changes, but more like the think tank that gives ideas for others to follow.
These can be large groups as they tend to be used for consulting a range of people who might be involved in a scheme for sports development. This allows a really well informed set of decisions to be made, but it may act slowly.
The sorts of participation that might be consulted include local politicians, Sport England, community representatives, club reps, social services, the police, sports governing bodies, experts in planning events or disability sports, sports scientists, sport centre managers, health authority reps and professional bodies in sport.
Sports development has many partners, aims, dimensions, individuals and organisations, each playing a role. This leads to a range of different schemes and approaches.
Enabling and Facilitating
The first style of delivery is called enabling. This means the provider responds to the needs of participants by providing facilities or resources to give people the opportunities for them need to take part. Another type of delivery is known as facilitating. This might involve motivating and helping people, so that by the end of the facilitation period they are able to look after themselves and keep the scheme going without the help of others.
Both enabling and facilitating focus on the participants running the club or team by themselves in the long run.
This means sports development schemes that are carried out directly by professional sports development people, such as those done by local authority officers or coaches employed by large clubs.
Strategic delivery links into other large scale plans and is sometimes called an integrated approach. E.g. of this would be Sports England’s Active Communities strategy, which links to healthy living and lifelong learning aims of the government. Local authorities might also use this style to meet objectives in their local plans.
Operational level programmes deal with the people concerned directly, such as disaffected youngsters or Asian women. Such scheme could be tailored and delivered locally, but it might be put into action in several areas at once. Operational schemes tend to be delivered b professionals.
Sports development people can be asked to act an advisory role. E.g. a sports centre might wish to run a disability basketball tea, but has no one on the staff that could do this. They might need guidance on safety factors and requirements for disabled athletes.
Sports development organisations may fulfil a role that focuses on the participation level of the continuum by helping to increase the number of people who actually take part. These can be across age ranges, ability levels, gender and sports. Participation programmes can have several aims, such as to keep people playing, attracting old players back or lifting the level of participation from novice to intermediate level. Motivations are also varied and include enjoyment, fitness, new skills and social contact, so schemes have to match these in their content.
For organisations dealing more with the performance end of sports development continuum, a more targeted or sports specific approach is followed. These sometimes known as methods aimed at excellence the highest level of the continuum, and something that will receive a lot of focus in the period running up to the London Olympics.
Sports Development officers
A sports development officer is someone who is employed by a local authority or large club. There are three main types’ of sports development officers:
* Sports-specific – development officers are employed to cover the development of one sport such as rugby, football or tennis
* Non – sports specific – development officers are employed to cover a range of different sporting activities.
* Community – development officers are employed to cover all types of sports in the local community
Volunteers are the backbone of British sports organisations. The role of volunteers is vital across many sports for their development. They give their time, effort, expertise and resources free of charge to help people to play their sports. Volunteers are often parents of young players, ex players or sports enthusiasts who want to give something back to their game or community. They take on the role of coaches, administrators, secretaries and general helpers for their local clubs.
A range of measures is available for sports development providers to assess themselves or be assessed by independent inspectors. This allows them to get measured of the quality and effectiveness of their provision. It is important that whatever method is applied, it is objective as possible and gives a true picture of the organisations position an delivery. Some quality systems are local and perhaps offered in-house. Other systems are national and well accepted.
A quality system encourages organisations to benchmark themselves. This means making comparisons with other similar organisations in order to compare standards and processes of delivery.
This is a national quality system that can be used for assessing the management of sports development schemes. Quest is an industry standard developed by Sport England and measures specific elements of sports development work including research, management, customer service and partnership working.
Quest is aimed at sports development units in local authorities, governing bodies and voluntary organisations. Sports development organisations can use either a self-assessment/improvement programme or submit themselves for an independent external assessment in their pursuit of an award.
The administration of the scheme is overseen by an independent consultancy to ensure it is fair. There are currently 38 sports development units registered for awards.
Quest operates a grading system based on :
* Be registered, a score of above 60% is needed
* To achieve highly recommended, the score needs to be between 75% and 84%
* An excellent score is 85% and above
The assessment criteria are based on:
* Objectives and the actions targeted at achieving these
* Timekeeping, workmanship and coaching
* Quality of equipment
* Problem-solving techniques
* Organisational culture – elements of pride, professionalism and standards
Charter Mark is an award that can be attained by any public sector organisation or department, such as a museum, art gallery or even refuse collection. It is an easy to use quality system designed to help everyone in the organisation focus on and improve customer service. Achievement of the standard is recognised by awarding the right to display the prestiougous Charter Mark logo, which is much sought after by sports development units in the public sector.
The publicity material about the award says that Charter Mark is more about achieving a change of culture (to help target groups) than winning a trophy, but change and improvement must be ongoing. Those seeking a Charter Mark have to demonstrate that:
* They offer choice to their customers so that a wide range of needs are catered for
* Participants and staff are consulted on where choices can be made, and communities have a say in the design and delivery of local sports development programmes
* Continuous improvement is sought, which means new targets are set every year at slightly higher level or lower cost
To achieve the award, sports development units have to show that staff are involved in planning services and are encourages and given the power to put things right wherever possible.