Physical activity & wellbeing

Team GB won 5 medals at the Winter in Olympics  in Pyeongchang in 2018, securing a British record and reaching the target set by funding partners UK Sport.

But will the result inspire more people to do sport?

In February 2017, Pro Bono Economics hosted a public lecture with Simon Kuper from The Financial Times entitled “Has Britain got sport upside down?”. Simon argued:

“Why spend billions on an Olympics when few kids in the country have the facilities to play judo, fencing or equestrianism anywhere near their homes? In many neighbourhoods it's hard even to find a decent football field. The sell-off of school playing fields in the Thatcher/Major years did terrible damage to British sport.”

You can watch the lecture here:

Lecture 2017

Pro Bono Economics has since been having conversations and gathering evidence to drive a policy campaign that will target a number of deficiencies in the current provision of physical activity in the UK.

Our campaign

Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of leading figures in the physical activity sector (Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Darcey Bussell, Chris Grant from Sported, Emma Boggis from Sport and Recreation Alliance amongst others), Pro Bono Economics has chosen to focus its policy work on three “C’s” – commissioning, community and curriculum.

  • Commissioning: we see this as an area where PBE can add significant value – by providing recommendations on impact analysis and improved commissioning practice.
  • Community: grassroots physical activity is a high priority and it is clear that there are impending plans that could impact local authority support and detract from these programmes.
  • Curriculum: we want to review the evidence as to the appropriate “dosage” of physical activity to make a case for increased PE in schools.

There is also a need to secure buildings and spaces for sport, which means recognising the budget needed to secure these assets. Related to this - our report for Power to Change helps to make the case for transferring public assets, such as community centres and playing fields, into the hands of local communities by evaluating the social benefits to these communities, compared with if assets being sold at market value to the private sector.

What next?

We will continue to gather evidence around our three “C’s” and design an advocacy and lobbying strategy that will help us to drive forward our work. Working with other groups in this area we will formulate recommendations for an impact analysis framework to support more effective “Commissioning” that ensures the best use of funding, human resource and assets.