Following the publication of the government’s sports strategy, Sporting Future, Baroness Grey-Thompson was asked by the Minister of Sport to lead this independent review and the Sport and Recreation Alliance, along with a range of industry stakeholders, fed into the review in a number of different ways.
The review considered the ‘duty of care’ owed by sport to participants at both elite and grassroots level. The report proposes a series of recommendations for Government, sports governing bodies and other stakeholders to consider taking forward. The priority recommendations include:
Creation of an independent Sports Ombudsman (or Sport Duty of Care Quality Commission) which would hold NGBs to account for the Duty of Care provided to athletes, coaches and support staff.
Measuring Duty of Care via an independent benchmark survey which would be used to inform future policies and investment decisions.
Having a named Duty of Care Guardian on NGB boards to take responsibility for engaging with participants in talent pathways and community sport.
Establishing a comprehensive induction process for all participants entering elite levels of sports.
Ensuring participants leaving formal elite sport programmes have an independent exit interview.
Establishing a Duty of Care Charter setting out how athletes coaches and support staff can expect to be treated and where they can go for advice, support and guidance.
Government funding for the British Athletes Commission (BAC).
The Sport and Recreation Alliance is also specifically mentioned twice in the report with recommendations that:
Government should promote and resource the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation so that it can support NGBs in addressing mental health issues. This Charter is part of a partnership with the Alliance, Mind and the Professional Players Federation.
Government should support the circulation to schools of guidelines produced by the Forum on Concussion in Sport and Physical Education, led by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
In addition, there are several further recommendations aimed at national governing bodies including supporting Dual Career options for young athletes, collecting data on safeguarding issues and introducing mental health awareness training for staff, athletes and coaches.
Commenting on the report, Emma Boggis, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said:
“The Alliance very much welcomes the Duty of Care report and in particular we welcome the recommendations to promote and resource the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation and to ensure the concussion guidelines are circulated widely amongst schools.
“We will continue to engage with Baroness Grey-Thompson to identify how we can assist in progressing a number of the recommendations contained within the report and will also be discussing the report further with our members to understand what the proposals will mean for them.”