Means as well as ends: some critical insights for UK sport policy on the impact of facility ownership and configuration on sports participation
journal contributionposted on 10.09.2018, 13:22 by Harish Kumar
The effectiveness of sports facility provision in increasing participation is debated internationally. The impact will be mediated by the sport delivery system, the welfare system within which sports policy might operate and the culture of sport. Change in the political persuasion of recent UK governments has followed a broadly consistent neoliberal policy direction of moving from big government and public ownership, to outsourcing and governance through networks. The intended aim: to more effectively achieve policy objectives, such as subjective well-being (SWB), health and social capital. A case study of participation in sport and fitness activities in a County Sports Partnership (CSP) in England is presented to examine if different ownership types and configuration of facilities that have emerged as a result of the policy direction, has influenced participation and policy targets. Regression results reveal that the ownership and configuration of facilities has no effect on the duration of activity and consequently no impact on policy outcomes. The largest influence on participation occurs in using facilities with others that were previously met there. The results also suggest that participation in facilities combined with other sport and physical activity can have an impact on health and social capital, and indirectly SWB. These insights are strongly indicative of the co-creation and interconnectedness of participation and suggest that policy should focus on network development more than specific forms of ownership and provision in seeking to achieve policy objectives. The research casts new critical light on the role of neoliberalism in sports policy.
- Business and Economics
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences