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Sports Parliamentary Bulletin

January 24, 2012

By Sport England 24 Jan 2012

Public Health Outcomes Framework
The Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, yesterday published details of the Government's public health framework. This has been published following a widespread consultation on the Government's public health white paper. The paper 'Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Improving outcomes and supporting transparency' outlines 66 different indicators that local authorities will be judged on in terms of influencing public health. 

There are three indicators of relevance to sport:

1.  Physical Activity Indicator (measured by Active People Survey)

Proportion of adults achieving at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week in accordance with UK Chief Medical Officer recommended guidelines on physical activity - number of adults doing at least 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more.

Proportion of adults classified as inactive - number of adults who do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more 

2.  Utilisation of Greenspace for exercise/health reasons (measured by Natural England Monitoring Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey)

Inclusion of this indicator is recognition of the significance of accessible green space as a wider determinant of public health. There is strong evidence to suggest that green spaces have a beneficial impact on physical and mental wellbeing and cognitive function through both physical access and usage.

This will be measured by the number of people reporting that they have taken a visit to greenspace for health or exercise over the previous seven days over the total number of respondents to the survey.

3.  Excess weight in Adults (measured nationally by Health Survey for England, soon to be self reported height and weight via APS)

Number of adults classified as overweight or obese.

As was announced in 2010, the Government plans to introduce ring fenced funding of approximately £4bn per annum for local authorities to improve public health levels. By having an indicator on physical activity, it will allow local authorities to invest in projects that are designed to get people more active. Other indicators within the framework include measures on breast feeding, sexual health and preventative treatments such as screening.  Each year the most successful local authorities will be eligible for extra funding through a 'Health Premium', thereby incentivising local authorities to invest in projects that have tangible outcomes. The indicators which are prioritised in each local authority will be determined by their Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and subsequent Health and Wellbeing strategies.

Following this announcement Sport England will be working with officials at the DH and with representatives at a local authority level to ensure that stakeholders are informed of the value that sport and physical activity can deliver in improving public health.

It should also be noted that these changes will only be fully approved when the Health Bill, currently going through parliament, is enacted.

The full document can be found here

Westminster Hall Debate on the Future Funding of Tennis
The Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Meg Munn last week introduced a debate on the future funding of tennis. The Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson MP, responded on behalf of the Government.

Meg Munn MP used the debate to call on the Government to ensure that Sport England funding from 2013 should be channelled to organisations dedicated to grassroots development and allocated on the principles of transparency, accountability and value for money. She also said that there was a strong appetite across the country to get more people playing tennis.

In response, Hugh Robertson MP said that the Government would encourage sports governing bodies to concentrate much more effectively and in a more focused way on the 14 to 25 age group. He said that voluntary groups and sports clubs would have the chance to access a £50 million pot to help ensure that the widest range of sporting opportunities were available to that age group. He also noted that the 2012 legacy scheme Places People Play, would provide £135 million in funding, the majority of which would be targeted at small facility improvement.

The full transcript of the debate can be found here

Health Lottery
Last week, as part of their inquiry into gambling, the CMS Select Committee questioned the Gambling Commission, John Penrose Minister for Tourism and Heritage (responsible for gambling) and Chloe Smith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury. One of the topics raised was the Health Lottery, which is of interest to Sport England as the Gambling Commission is reviewing the impact of the Health Lottery on 'good cause' revenues following an intervention by Culture Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt in October 2011. We do not know yet when the Gambling Commission are likely to announce their findings.

At the Select Committee hearing, John Penrose was asked what the DCMS involvement was in the Health Lottery decision made by the Gambling Commission. The Committee suggested that the commission had to grant the license because of the 2005 Gambling Act and asked if the Minister would introduce primary legislation to amend. The Minister responded saying that he can't interfere too closely in these issues and he would not be introducing primary legislation as this could affect other society lotteries that act in a similar way (e.g. shared back office functions for cost effectiveness of many local lotteries).

He was also asked if he thought it strange that caps had been set to protect the National Lottery, yet the Health Lottery still came into existence. The Committee asked if the Government accepted that the Health Lottery is competition for the National Lottery.  John said he is keeping an eye on the situation. He stated that he thought that the Health Lotteries approach may have shown other society lotteries an innovative approach that he does not want to shut the door on. It is still early days and there is no evidence to suggest that the Health Lottery has cannibalised the market for either the National Lottery or society lotteries. He also said he thinks the Health Lottery funds different things and can't compete with the National Lottery.

John Penrose concluded the session by suggesting the department cannot prejudge the Health Lottery without evidence - however if there is shown to be an impact, the department would have to assess it.

Daylight Saving Time Bill
 A private member's bill to review a move to daylight saving time was 'talked out of time' in the House of Commons on Friday.  In addition, the government has made it clear that it would find no extra time in the current parliament for the daylight saving bill, despite ministers having backed Rebecca Harris, the Conservative MP for Castle Point in Essex, in her call for a review of the pros and cons of a change. Supporters claimed the time change would cut road deaths, energy use, and would boost sporting participation, jobs and tourism.

The bill would have commissioned a detailed study into the costs and benefits of moving the clocks forward to Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour in the winter (GMT +1) and GMT +2 in the summer, with a possible three-year trial. Ten MPs talked the bill out after complaining that, while the Northern Ireland administration had the power to veto any UK change, neither the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly nor the leaders of the Scottish and Welsh governments would have comparable rights.

Westminster Hall Debate on Football Governance Postponed
 The debate on Football Governance, which was meant to take place this week, has now been postponed until later in the year. We will update the sports parliamentary bulletin with details of the new debate once this has been confirmed.

Labour Party Press Release on Boxing

The Labour Party this week put out a press release calling on the Boxing Association to allow women Olympic competitors to choose whether to wear shorts or skirts at the Games.

Tessa Jowell, Labour's Shadow Olympics Minister said: "I was one of many who led the campaign to include women's boxing as an Olympic sport because the athleticism and skill in boxing is something in which women and men can both excel. There should be no prescription of the kit that women wear, other than that it should enable them to perform at their athletic best."

Clive Efford MP, Labour's Shadow Sports Minister, added: "The international Amateur Boxing Association should leave it up to individual choice whether women wear shorts or skirts. Women athletes should be identified by their ability within their chosen sport not what they wear."