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Alliance of Sport welcomes Committee report on Sport and Recreation

The Alliance of Sport was delighted to contribute to today’s report from the House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation.

Our Chief Operating Officer, Justin Coleman, provided expertise to the Committee in the use of sport in criminal justice settings, emphasising the importance of connecting up sport-based provision in custody with ongoing support in the community post-release.

He also observed that measuring impact across the criminal justice estate is difficult due to the lack of an agreed framework through which programmes can be evaluated. Additionally, he emphasised the need to encourage robust academic research when measuring the impact of programmes.

Levelling the Playing Field, the project Alliance of Sport manages in partnership with the Youth Justice Board, was namechecked in the report for “building an impact framework with the University of Birmingham which spans sport in the community and the youth justice system”.

The Alliance of Sport was particularly pleased to note the report’s emphasis on sport, health and wellbeing. This aligns directly with the aims of our new Taskforce (chaired by Baroness Sater, who was also a member of the National Plan for Sport and Recreation Committee) which is focusing on the health and wellbeing for people in, and on the fringes of, the Criminal Justice System.

The Taskforce (sponsored by the NHS England and NHS Improvement) is developing a national plan for sport and physical activity and a model for better collaboration both nationally and locally. Its aim is to provide leadership, coordination and evidence; to establish a joined-up, cross-sector approach; build a stronger evidence base; support the frontline workforce and to increase ambition among all stakeholders. The Taskforce will be a major force in addressing many of the areas highlighted in today’s Committee report.

Violence, crime and reoffending is a ‘whole-society issue’. Only by bringing multiple agencies together to improve the health wellbeing of our beneficiaries can we tackle key issues like drug and alcohol misuse, build resilience and prevent illness and long-term health conditions that lead downstream to individuals falling into the Criminal Justice System. We are pleased to see this outlook reflected in the National Plan and look forward to strengthening this approach going forward.

As today’s report stated among its recommendations: “Sport for development can turn people‚Äôs lives around. In formulating the national plan, the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing must work with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to review the role of sport for development in communities and criminal justice settings.

“It should consider how sport and physical activity opportunities can best be resourced and deployed to improve outcomes for those who stand to benefit most from sport for development programmes in our communities and those serving custodial sentences, and how these outcomes can best be measured.”

Justin said: “It was a pleasure and honour for the Alliance of Sport to be asked to contribute to this important report which adds further weight to our ambition of embedding sport and physical activity at the heart of the Criminal Justice System.”

Alliance of Sport CEO James Mapstone added: “We are pleased to see strong synergies between many of the recommendations in today’s report and the plans we have for our new Taskforce. Working with our partners across government , we are committed to improving health and life outcomes for those within, or at risk of entering, the Criminal Justice System and creating a safer society for all.”

Download the full Sport and Recreation Committee report below

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