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The Alliance of Sport launches ‘Theory of Change’ to harness the power of sport

The Alliance of Sport has launched its new Theory of Change – a vision for how sport can work together with the development and criminal justice sectors to achieve maximum impact.

The document, drawn up by industry experts, establishes guidelines for building a solid national base of evidence to prove sport’s effectiveness at preventing criminal behaviour and rehabilitating offenders.

It also sets out guidelines for how the impact of sport projects should be measured across five key performance indicators – in line with Government’s ‘Strategy for Sport’: engagement, physical and mental wellbeing, individual development, education and training, and community and social development.

These indicators also support the findings in Charlie Taylor’s review of the Youth Justice System.

The Theory of Change aims to establish a sector-wide methodology to improve the quality and consistency of delivery across all relevant projects in England and Wales. With the framework now in place, the Alliance of Sport will provide free training and a quality assessment benchmark to help increase the understanding of the Theory of Change across the sector. Working with key stakeholders we will build a national evidence base to highlight the power of sport and physical activity in reducing crime, which will support the case for increased investment in this area.

The Alliance of Sport’s Ambassador, the Rt Hon the Lord McNally said: “As tight budgets and cost cutting take hold across the public sector we are increasingly operating in a world driven by evidence-based policy making. Whilst the principle is sound, it can have an unwanted consequence of stifling innovation and creative thinking. It has already been used to question investment in sports for the desistance of crime. The Alliance of Sport’s ‘Theory of Change’ aims to turn that on its head, and clearly demonstrate not just how sport positively impacts on a young person’s life, but also the multiple benefits it produces in saving future victims from the trauma of crime, saving the taxpayer the cost of incarceration and rehabilitation, and giving young people the life-skills they need to make a positive contribution to society. It will provide powerful ammunition for those arguing for a sports strategy being an integral part of our forward thinking about youth justice”.

The Theory of Change was produced by New Philanthropy Capital [link], the Alliance of Sport’s Justin Coleman and members of the Steering Group.

To download and read the Theory of Change, click here