Does the UK sport delivery system's approach to sport provision influence individuals’ sport participation and their outcomes differently? A case study of a County Sport Partnership in England

2018-11-02T12:07:58Z (GMT) by Harish Kumar
There is a lack of knowledge on how alternative forms of sports facility provision influences end user's sports and physical activity behaviour, and the consequent impact this has on their health, well-being and social capital. To address this knowledge gap, this thesis has undertaken a multi-level analysis of the sport delivery system. It examines if strategic priorities and objectives pursued by different types of sport and fitness facilities, that are being influenced by macro level forces, along with their characteristics and ownership, influences individuals sport participation behaviour with a potential consequent impact on the policy outcomes of health, well-being and social capital. In the UK recently, sport policy objectives have focussed on increasing the population s participation in sport and physical activity to enhance a range of outcomes including health, well-being and social capital. Over the last three decades, there has also been significant changes in sport provision with the growth of private sector facilities, and public sector facilities being outsourced to private management. However, there is no evidence of the effectiveness of these alternative arrangements in delivering the policy objectives. There is limited knowledge on how different agents and actors in the sport delivery system function collectively to achieve these objectives or not, and a multi-level analysis of the sport delivery system i.e., from policy, through facilities, to end users does not exist. This gap in knowledge is addressed in this thesis through the adoption of a mixed methods case study of Leicestershire and Rutland Sport-County Sport Partnership (LRS-CSP) region in the midlands of England. The sport participation of individuals who use differently owned and managed sport and fitness facilities in the LRS-CSP region is examined, and the impact this has on their health, well-being and social capital, from macro level (policy), meso level (facilities), and micro level (end users) perspectives. Data collected at these levels involves, semi-structured interviews with the regional managers (macro level) who are responsible for the development and provision of sport in the region, a quantitative survey involving the facility managers (meso level) who are responsible for the day-to-day activities of the facilities, and quantitative survey and focus groups of end users in the region (micro level). Surveys done at the meso and the micro level are matched to the facilities of a variety of different ownership and characteristics to explore the influence this might have on individuals participation frequency and the impact this has on their health, well-being and social capital. The results show that government and public sport agencies priorities towards the sports sector which operate at the macro level of the sport delivery system influence the strategic objectives pursued by different types of sport and fitness facilities that are responsible for sport provision at the meso level of the sport delivery system. Public sport agencies and government bodies through their policies seem to have a significant influence over public sector including LMC facilities strategic decision making. However, this is not the case for the private sector facilities. Neither the strategic objectives of facilities nor their ownership and characteristics are shown to have a significant difference on the users sport participation behaviour, nor on the sport policy outcomes of their health, well-being and social capital. The largest influence on sport participation seems to be when individuals engage in sport with those they meet at the facility, indicating that facilitation of the co-creation of social capital among individuals could play a bigger role in increasing participation levels. Along with this, results also show that sport participation has a direct positive influence on individuals health which then enhances their well-being and social capital. This thesis contributes towards the long-standing debate about the relative value of different ownership types that span the public, private, and LMCs and their relationship with performance . The findings of the thesis suggest that, providing general availability of space for sport and fitness activities and by facilitating a network of opportunities with others and across activities is important in achieving the policy outcomes of improved participation and the consequent positive impact this has on health, well-being and social capital, and should be given priority in sport provision.